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Attracting Clinging Birds

Posted by Linda Pittman on

  Birds like woodpeckers, chickadees, nuthatches and titmice feed by clinging to tree trunks, so can be called clingers. Feeding suet or birdseed with peanuts and treenuts are key to attracting clingers. Feeders should start out near the trunks of trees so birds can find them, since this is where they hang out. Once they have found the feeder, it can be moved closer to where you can watch them. In order to thwart competitive birds like starlings, you can get suet feeders that are only accessible upside down - perfect for a clinger, but impossible for a starling. Feeders that are caged also keep out grackles etc. Other feeders allow clingers to grab hold, grab a seed and fly away. A larger feeder filled with seeds gives a larger bird like a woodpecker a place to rest his tail against and balance. He is also big enough to reach way into the feeder for food that is out of reach of the smaller birds, thus reserving this food for woodpeckers, nuthatchers and other clingers. Another nice feeder option is a cedar log with holes drilled in for suet.
Woodpeckers have stiff tails that prop them while climbing. The original "Woody Woodpecker" was a Pileated Woodpecker.
Chickadees are likely to be the first bird to try a new feeder. They will grab one seed and fly away to eat it, then come right back. Chickadees can remember where they found food eight months earlier. They can gain 7-11% of their body weight each day and then loose it on a frigid winter night. Chickadees readily use a nest box or a natural cavity, then all pile together to conserve body heat. The nest box must have an opening only 1 1/8 inch big, 6 inches above the floor. They like to find a house filled about a third full of sawdust or wood chips.
Nuthatchers are small sturdy birds, habitually going down trees headfirst. They will use bird houses.
Titmice have a distinctive "Peter-Peter-Peter" call. Actually Chickadees are a member of the titmouse family. The tufted titmouse is the most common. Many say that it looks like a little cardinal. These last 3 birds are often called 'polite' feeders because of their habit of grabbing one seed and flying away to eat or store it, before coming back for another, making them very entertaining birds. Clingers will readily use nest boxes, especially if there is a short supply of dead timber around. Clingers love sunflower seeds, and high energy suet. This suet can be bought straight from the butcher, or commercially made. The best suet has only suet, peanuts and peanut butter. Look thru our Bird Feeders to suit your needs.

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