September 12th, 2014
Attracting Birds With Bird Feeders
Bird feeders are very easy for some birds to discover and will become common visitors to your backyard, particularly in winter. Offering a variety of different bird food will increase your chances of attracting a wide range of birds. Pet stores offer a pre-mix of bird seed formulas and these formulas will vary. Try mixing your own recipe of suet, peanuts, sunflower seeds and maybe a few kitchen scraps and bread crumbs. With the right mix, you will see these birds regularly. Birds will be hard to get rid of when they memorize the location of a reliable source of food. Bird feeders can be used with seeds, nuts, fruit, suet, worms and scraps.
Types of Feeders
There are three main classifications of bird feeders. These classifications include platform feeders, hopper feeders and tube feeders.
Tube Feeders - Tube feeders have small perches and seed ports which make it difficult for larger birds to perch or access the bird seed. Basic tube feeders are long and narrow and have seed ports large enough to accommodate certain seeds. Other types of tube feeders are specifically designed for goldfinches as the perches are above the feeding ports and require goldfinches to feed upside down. Some models attach two or three tubes together, allowing more birds to feed and providing several types of seed simultaneously. Tube feeders are great for smaller, perching birds like finches and chickadees. They allow the birds to eat without being chased away by bigger birds.
Hopper Feeders - Regular hopper feeders resemble wooden bird houses. You can hang them from a branch or mount them on a pole. The roof of the hopper feeder keeps bird seed dry and usually lifts up for refilling seed. The compartment that holds the seeds are made from clear plastic so you will know when refilling is needed.
Platform Feeders - Platform feeders offer seeds contained in a tray and are most likely to attract larger birds. Platform feeders typically have a ledge that prevents seeds from falling off and some have roofs to minimize the effects of bad weather. Some may have sunken trays in the middle of an open platform with no roof. Platform feeders are typically constructed from wood or plastic. Table style platform feeders have raised edges with legs that sit about a foot off the ground. They are the easiest kind of feeder to build and maintain. Table feeders are good for ground-feeding birds, like cardinals, doves and blackbirds, and you may also find other birds like jays eating there as well.
Window feeders are great for birdwatchers and bird photographers. Viewing birds from within your home is no problem with this type of feeder sitting directly on the sill or suctioned directly to your kitchen glass. They include a one-way mirror so that you can see the birds, but they won't be frightened away. See more on window feeders
Suet Feeders provide a wholesome, protein-filled snack for your avian friends. Suet ensures that birds, especially smaller birds, get the protein and fat that they need in order stay energized, especially in winter. If you want to keep the large birds away, you can try a satellite bird feeder - they're too small for big birds to land because the landing area is too small, making it impossible for them to make a safe landing and perch themselves.
Nectar Feeders are designed to attract birds such as hummingbirds, orioles and woodpeckers. Nectar feeders for orioles have larger ports, and must have a perch. Nectar feeders vary primarily by the amount of nectar they can hold and number of ports available. You can buy a special nectar mix, or you can make it yourself by combining one part table sugar to five parts water. Store the unused mixture in the fridge.
Bird feeders sometimes offer an assortment of items that are designed to help with maintenance. Specially designed brushes will clean the tiny ports of hummingbird feeders, as well as hard-to-reach bottoms of tube feeders. Poles, hangers and hooks help you find the perfect place to position your bird feeder and adjust it as needed.