MONTVILLE TWP. — Bird watchers flocked to Boyert’s Greenhouse and Farm to learn about everything from attracting different birds to keeping pesky mammals at bay.
About 30 people attended the free hourlong presentation Monday by Boyert’s employee Karisa Zinsmayer.
Zinsmayer said with spring approaching, it is time to start getting things ready for the birds to return from the South.
“You notice in the last week, they started singing more, so that’s a really good indication,” she said.
Zinsmayer began her presentation discussing how to properly clean bird houses and feeders, one of the most important things anyone who has a bird feeder or bird house can do, she said.
“If you don’t clean them, they can lead to disease,” Zinsmayer said. “It is just good for the birds (to clean feeders) at least once a month if you can.”
She said hummingbird feeders should be cleaned once a week and refilled because of how quickly mold can grow in them, particularly during warmer months.
Zinsmayer suggested using a 50/50 solution of white vinegar and water or one part bleach to nine parts of water and soaking for up to one hour before scrubbing any debris.
In addition to cleaning instructions, Zinsmayer covered how to prevent larger birds such as European starlings and grackles from bothering smaller songbirds trying to use a bird feeder.
She said starlings prefer suet to feed, and simply putting out suet is one way to keep them away from a feeder.
Zinsmayer suggested using a bird seed or suet with hot pepper oil to prevent squirrels or other mammals from eating the birdseed.
She said birds will not be able to taste the hot pepper, but the squirrels will. “They are mammals; they have taste buds.”
Another way to take care of problem animals is to provide them with a secondary food source away from birdfeeders, she said.
Those having trouble attracting birds to their yards can provide them with a water source, or grow plants that birds will be attracted to like crabapple trees and winterberry holly.
“The (water) will bring a lot of birds that may not want to eat the seed but they will come for that water source,” Zinsmayer said.
Carole Feron, of Medina Township, said she came to the event because she loves watching birds and would like to attract more to her yard.
“I just want to find out some different information, making sure I’m taking care of the birds the right way and feeding them the right way,” Feron said.
She said one species she has been trying to attract to her yard is the bluebird, and she recently noticed one in her yard.
“I love watching birds and I want to attract more to my yard.”
Zinsmayer said the discussion on backyard birding is one in a series of events at Boyert’s, 7171 Wooster Pike, that are designed to get the community involved and asking questions.
Other upcoming events include a Succulent Garden Workshop on March 10 and Kid’s Egg Carton Gardening on March 24. For a complete list, visit boyerts.com.
“We just really want to educate the community and help people out as much as we can,” Zinsmayer said.
Contact reporter Nathan Havenner at (330) 721-4050 or firstname.lastname@example.org.