Watching birds in their natural environment is a fun and exciting adventure for people of all ages. Installing a bird feeder in your backyard is a great way to attract birds to an area where they can be easily seen and observed. Bird feeders are easy to setup, and with just a little knowledge and planning they can be used to draw in all your favorite types of birds. With the right feeder, seed mixture and correct placement, you can enjoy hours of bird watching right in your own yard. Before you make your selection, consider these important questions:
• What types and sizes of birds do you wish to attract?
• Is there a specific area of your yard where you wish to place the feeder?
• Do you have a preference for the type of material your feeder is made from?
• What feed do you plan on using? Does that feed require a special type of feeder?
• How much time do you have to devote to cleaning and maintenance?
Feeder Types, Common Features and Feeding Tips
With such a wide range of feeders to choose from, including tray feeders, hoppers, tube feeders and more, making an informed decision can be tricky. The type you select is largely determined by what kind of birds you wish to attract. For example, tray feeders tend to appeal to juncos, doves, jays, blackbirds and sparrows while hopper feeders draw in cardinals, chickadees, finches and titmice. Though bird feeders are used primarily to attract birds, they can also be used to discourage unwanted attention from other types of birds.
Types: Tray feeders work well for attracting a wide range of birds. With tray feeders, regular maintenance is important to keep the tray full and to keep the feeder and surrounding area clean and clear of droppings. Since they are out in the open, they are more susceptible to the elements and are difficult to protect from squirrels and other rodents. Hopper feeders typically have a larger capacity and are better at keeping out moisture from rain and snow. Tube feeders keep food clean and dry and provide perches for birds to stand on while they access seeds. Nectar feeders hold a sugar solution that attracts hummingbirds and orioles.
• Tray feeders allow seed to be spread flat on a large surface for easy access
• Hopper feeders hold large quantities of seed for less frequent filling
• Tube feeders are usually plastic or glass with feeding ports and perches in varying sizes
• Suet feeders consist of a metal wire cage in which suet or suet mixture is placed
• Nectar feeders require regular cleaning to prevent fermentation of sugar solution
Common Features: Bird feeders are constructed from a variety of materials, including plastic, wood, ceramic, glass or metal. Some have removable perches in varying sizes designed to attract different types and sizes of birds. Many feeders offer feeding stations that accommodate several birds at one time and can be either hung or mounted on a pole. Most bird feeders require little maintenance with easy filling and simple cleanup that won't take up too much of your time.
Tips: To make your backyard bird watching ventures more successful, follow these useful bird feeding tips to create an ideal feeding atmosphere for your favorite feathered friends:
• Place feeders near shrubbery to create a safe haven for birds
• Clean feeders regularly to reduce the spread of disease among the bird population
• Change old seed with fresh seed frequently to keep it from becoming moldy or stale
• Discourage squirrels by placing your feeder at least five feet high and eight feet away from
potential springboards such as tree trunks and limbs
• Leave birds with plenty of clean water for drinking and bathing
There are also a number of ways to increase the effectiveness of your bird feeder so you can enjoy countless hours of bird watching fun. Follow these few simple suggestions and get the most out of your bird feeder.
|• Hopper feeder||• Fill with sunflower seeds to attract chickadees, titmice, nuthatches,
cardinals, American goldfinches, purple and house finches, pine
siskins, grosbeaks and sparrows
|• Nectar feeder||• Fill with artificial nectar or sugar solution to attract hummingbirds and
|• Suet feeder||• Fill with suet or suet mixture to attract woodpeckers, chickadees, titmice,
nuthatches, mockingbirds and jays
|• Tray feeder||• Fill with mixed seeds and cracked corn to attract cardinals, juncos,
sparrows, mourning doves, pigeons, jays, crows, blackbirds and
|• Tube feeder
||• Fill with sunflower seeds to attract small birds like finches, chickadees,
titmice and woodpeckers, or fill with thistle to attract finches
Suction Cups: Window feeders often include suction cups that allow the feeder to be attached to just about any window in your home, bringing birds in close for a better view.
Feeding Ports: Ports allow you to accommodate specific seeds and offer protection against squirrels and other rodents.
Perches: Perches come in varying lengths from short to long and help attract or discourage certain birds. They can be placed above or below feeding ports depending on the type of bird and feeding preference
Bee-guards: Bee-guards are small plastic screens placed on the feeding ports of nectar feeders that keep bothersome insects away from the sugar solution.