Summer bird feeding provides its own set of challenges and rewards. Depending on your location and your backyard habitat the traffic to your feeders may (or may not) slow down. This is a good time to try different kinds of seed including safflower (a cardinal favorite) and Nyjer (finches). Fruit, including raisins and grapefruit halves may prove popular and suet served as simply as imbedding it in tree bark can attract finches, native sparrows and woodpeckers. Offering different choices in different parts of your yard is often the key to success to summer feeding, and don't forget the water. When the weather gets really hot a shallow birdbath with a slow dripper can become an oasis.

Spend some time observing the birds in your yard more carefully and away from your feeders. You may see the males feeding the females, and later, both feeding the young. See what you can learn about the birds nesting in or near your yard. Bluebirds continue to feed their young for four weeks or so after they have left the nest and some young may even help feed the babies from a second brood.

Hummingbirds are always popular in the summer months. They are best attracted by planting flowers and vines that attract hummers naturally. And did you know that hummingbirds are one of only three categories of birds that are capable of learning to repeat new sounds or songs and to improvise on those sounds?

While you are starting your gardening think about planting flowers or shrubs that provide seed in the fall, when insect populations and other food sources start to diminish in supply. They can prove to be a great attractant to fall migrants and will help your permanent residents prepare for winter.