A male and female cardinal sitting at a bird feeder

Use These Books to Celebrate National Bird Feeding Month

In 1994, Illinois Congressman John Porter designated February as National Bird Feeding Month in order to stress the importance of helping birds survive by supplementing their natural diet.

Your backyard birds use a lot of energy to stay warm during the winter. They struggle to find enough food. Filling a bird feeder and watching them is an easy way to enjoy. It is also a great chance to teach children about nature.

Types of feeders

Before you choose a bird feeder, remember that different species prefer different kinds of feeders. The platform and hopper-style bird feeders are popular because they attract a large variety of species.

Platform feeders

A platform feeder is basically a flat tray. Make certain the one you select provides adequate drainage.

Hopper feeders

A hopper feeder, on the other hand, is shaped like a house and has see-through slat walls with a small trough along the bottom.  The birdseed in a hopper is enclosed which helps protect it from the elements.

Maximize the birds you attract

If you want to maximize the number of birds you attract, you could add several types of feeders and several types of food.

  • Suet feeders attract woodpeckers
  • Nectar feeders attract hummingbirds
  • Ground feeders attract mourning doves and robins
  • Tube feeders attract smaller birds like finches
Food for the birds

When it comes to the birdseed, a seed mix may be a good place to start because it provides for a large variety of birds. Good sources of energy:

  • Sunflower seeds
  • Peanuts
  • Suet

Birdseed in any style of feeder should be changed if it is exposed to the elements, bird droppings, or mold. If possible, space your bird feeders away from each other as some species are loners and others are bullies.

Book cover for Feeder Birds of Eastern North America

Feeder Birds of North America by Sandy Allison

Bird-watchers know there is a list of species that regularly and dependably come to dine at backyard bird feeders.

The Backyard Bird Feeder’s Bible by Sally Roth

Become the best bird host in your neighborhood. This is your guide to the foods and feeders, plants and projects that will guarantee you a yard that’s absolutely brimming with birds.

Book cover Bird Food Recipes

Bird Food Recipes

Since 1973, Storey’s Country Wisdom Bulletins have offered practical, hands-on instructions designed to help readers master dozens of country living skills quickly and easily. There are now more than 170 titles in this series, and their remarkable popularity reflects the common desire of country and city dwellers alike to cultivate personal independence in everyday life.

DIY feeders

Make DIY feeders with organic, dye free twine and items around your house including peanut butter, bagels, and birdseed.

Pinecone feeder

First is the iconic pinecone feeder. You’ll need:

  • Pinecones
  • Peanut butter
  • Birdseed
  • Twine


  1. Use pinecones from your yard if you can, otherwise make sure they’re untreated.
  2. Next spread peanut butter all over the pinecones.
  3. Then roll them in birdseed.
  4. Tie twine to the pinecone, and then hang it outside.


Another simple feeder is the traditional one using a stale bagel. You’ll need:

  • Bagel
  • Twine
  • Peanut butter
  • Birdseed


  1. Stick twine through the bagel’s hole and then tie the ends together to create a loop.
  2. Spread peanut butter on the bagel.
  3. Next sprinkle the bird seed all over the areas with peanut butter.  If you want, you can do both sides, although that gets messy.
  4. Then hang it outside.

Dispose of the bagel if it becomes moldy.

Book cover for Easy to Build Bird Feeders

Easy to Build Bird Feeders

 Since 1973, Storey’s Country Wisdom Bulletins have offered practical, hands-on instructions.

Book cover for Attracting Birds to Your Backyard

Attracting Birds to Your Backyard

Practical and easy to follow advice for how to attract local birds to your backyard.

In closing

Enjoy National Bird Feeding Month and remember that you can continue bird feeding or bird watching year-round!

If you’re looking for other book suggestions, explore our online resource, NoveList Plus. Or sign up for Recommends, our personalized reading suggestions via email service. Or ask Library staff for suggestions during your next visit.