Master gardeners attract birds to their backyards

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The Bluebonnet Master Gardeners Association’s September meeting was held at the American Legion Hall in Sealy. President Pete Berckenhoff introduced Paul Fagala, owner of a Wild Birds Unlimited franchise in Houston, to educate the BMGA members on attracting birds to their backyards. An estimated 55 million Americans feed and water birds.

The four basic needs of birds are water, food, nesting and shelter. Water is the single most efficient way to attract the most variety of birds. Not all birds eat seeds but all need water.

Birds use feeders as supplemental food sources. Elevated feeders attract chickadees while ground feeders attract doves, sparrows, indigo and painted buntings and blackbirds.  Blue jays and cardinals feed from either.

Look at the list of ingredients on bagged bird seed and avoid milo, flax, oats and wheat. Larger birds like black oil sunflower and striped sunflower seeds. Ground feeders like millet.

Suet feeders are loved by insect eating birds such as woodpeckers and Carolina wrens and are best used where large trees are present. American goldfinches will come in December so set up a finch feeder with tiny black seed or thistle.

If you have been feeding hummingbirds, feed until you haven’t seen a hummer for two weeks.

Winter is not the only time to enjoy feeding birds. You’ll see interesting courtship displays in the spring, juvenile birds feeding in the summer, and the arrival of northern birds in the fall.

The Bluebonnet Master Gardeners Association will be selling citrus and fruit trees in conjunction with the Horticulture Committee of Austin County Fall Citrus Seminar with guest speaker Monte Nesbit, extension program specialist, on Oct. 20 at the Hill Center in Sealy.

The Bluebonnet Master Gardener Association’s October meeting will be held at the Washington County Fairgrounds in Brenham. The topic will be on CoCoRaHS - Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network - the largest provider of daily precipitation observations in the U.S.

More information can be found at http://bluebonnetmastergardener.org

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