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MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department is advising people not to put up bird feeders until Dec. 1 to avoid attracting bears.

It also recommends several tips for bird-friendly feeding, such as keeping cats inside and placing feeders closer than 4 feet or farther than 10 feet from a window to reduce bird collisions.

“This may be a particularly good winter for attracting winter birds arriving from Canada, including evening grosbeaks and purple finches," Doug Morin, Vermont Fish and Wildlife’s bird project leader, said in a statement.

Black oil sunflower will attract a variety of birds but people may want to try other seeds or suet to attract certain species, he said. “Thistle, for example, attracts many of the finches. Gardeners will find leaving late-blooming flowers uncut provides seeds which can also attract birds,” he said.

Bird feeders should be washed every few weeks with a 10% bleach solution and then rinsed to eliminate harmful bacteria and viruses, the department said.

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