Jun 5, 2019 | Featured in: Watching Backyard Birds, June 2019

Plant a Bird Feeder

From mid-May to early June is a great time to plant these fast-growing beauties that will mature into nature’s own bird feeder. Photo by Shutterstock.
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The word "sunflower" applies to about 70 species of Helianthus, and nearly all of them are native to various locations in North America. All varieties produce a central cluster of seeds. Sunflowers require a lot of space to grow, and some varieties can exceed 10 feet in height. You can even plant the black-oil sunflower seed you purchased to feed the birds. Plant the seeds a few inches apart, but expect to thin them to about a foot apart as the plants grow. They'll need lots of water and sunshine, and perhaps the support of a stake and tie-back as they mature. Read the description of the plant and flower head size on seed packets before you buy. From mid-May to early June is a great time to plant these fast-growing beauties that will mature into nature's own bird feeder.





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  • I am excited to have my daughter’s tree this year, since my landlord has removed the lovely yew next to my patio, which was the only shelter for birds at my feeder.
    by pmalcpoet, Mon, 20 Dec 2021
  • Goldfinches will continue as long as Swiss chard is available. I'm watching one eating chard right now (mid-November in Vermont).
    by Brian Tremback, Sun, 14 Nov 2021
  • Birds are on the decline though sunflowers are rarely touched and for weeks hardly .eaten. I'll try a few sparing nuts on the table and a fat ball broken for jackdaws and tits but mealworms were a summer favourite being my go to choice
    by Paul Harabaras, Thu, 04 Nov 2021
  • I’ve been enjoying goldfinches eating coneflower/ echinacea seeds in my new pollinator garden! I will leave the plants out all winter for them if the seeds keep that long? Or should I deadhead and put them in a dry area? Im in CT and thought they migrated, but didn’t know they put in winter coats! What do they eat in winter without bird feeders?
    by Anne Sheffield, Sat, 04 Sep 2021
  • Hi Gary, I will pass your question along to Birdsquatch next time I see him. He knows infinitely more about nocturnal wildlife than I do. Where do you live? That's pretty important in figuring out the answer. But the thief could be raccoons, deer, or flying squirrels. Do you live in the woods? Are there trees near your feeder, or must the culprit climb a shepherd's hook or pole? Dawn Hewitt, Watching Backyard Birds
    by Dawn Hewitt, Mon, 30 Aug 2021