Many golf course superintendents are deeply connected to the outdoors and look for opportunities to share their love of nature with golfers. During the 2016 U.S. Junior Amateur at The Honors Course in Ooltewah, Tennessee, Superintendent David Stone showcased a creative method of attracting birds. Much to the delight of golfers and guests, Stone installed bird-feeding stations throughout the golf course that attract birds many have enjoyed watching.
According to Stone, it is easy to attract birds throughout the year by setting up well-planned bird-feeding stations. Here are a few tips that can help you set up a successful bird-feeding station:
- Equipment - Select several feeders and find something secure from which to hang them. Connecting two posts with a wire or wooden crossbeam is an effective, low-cost method for hanging bird feeders.
- Bird Seed - Black oil sunflower and Nyjer are two of the most popular and highly recommended bird seeds. Bird seed can be purchased at most hardware and farm supply stores.
- Bird Feeders - There are a variety of bird feeders – the right choice for your location depends on the type of seeds you are using, which birds you want to attract and whether squirrels or other unwanted feeders are present.
- Location - Locating bird feeders adjacent to dining facilities or outdoor patios helps maximize bird-viewing opportunities. Having low-cost binoculars available also helps visitors clearly view birds while they are feeding.
- Birdbaths - Supplying a shallow source of water – e.g., a birdbath – allows birds to bathe and drink. Nearby birdbaths will increase the number and variety of birds that visit bird-feeding stations.
- Squirrels and Raccoons - Critters such as squirrels and raccoons may attempt to steal food from bird-feeding stations. There are a variety of methods for protecting bird feeders from unwanted guests including specially designed feeders and hanging systems. Some experimentation may be required to find the best way to protect bird feeders at your site.
- Hummingbird Feeders - Hummingbirds are popular visitors, so include a hummingbird feeder filled with a mixture of 4-parts water and 1-part sugar to help attract hummingbirds. Boil the water to help dissolve the sugar and allow the sugary solution to cool before filling the feeder. Planting blue salvia nearby also will help attract hummingbirds to the feeder.
A bird-feeding station is easy to set up and will help attract birds to any golf course. Keep bird-feeding stations filled with plenty of bird seed and positive results will follow.
Southeast Region Agronomists:
Chris Hartwiger, director, USGA Course Consulting Service - email@example.com
Steve Kammerer, regional director – firstname.lastname@example.org
Patrick M. O’Brien, agronomist – email@example.com
Todd Lowe, agronomist – firstname.lastname@example.org