NGA Articles: Feeder Frenzy

Feeder Frenzy (cont)

By: Dan Hickey

Feeding Basics

Start with a single platform, hopper, or large tube feeder. Each accommodates large and small birds and can be hung from a tree or hoisted on a pole. Fill any of these feeders with black oil sunflower seeds and you're certain to get visitors, usually within days. Remember to position the feeders where you can see them clearly.

Provide a birdbath filled with fresh water and make sure it doesn't freeze. Keep your feeders filled with dry seeds.

Squirrel-proof and discriminating feeders. If you have too many squirrels, buy a feeder without a seed tray, or, best of all, install a squirrel baffle. There are several squirrel-proof and squirrel-resistant feeders on the market. They range from metal vaults with spring-loaded feeder doors to caged tube feeders, upside-down feeders, covered bowl feeders, and even battery-power feeders that shock trespassing squirrels. Each has benefits and drawbacks. If unwanted squirrels visit your yard and you have the space or budget for only one feeding station, these feeders make sense.

If jays, grackles, and other large birds are crowding out smaller birds, switch to a feeder that discriminates, or blocks, them, but not the smaller, more desirable birds. Or locate an additional feeding station away from where larger birds feed. In my yard, jays and grosbeaks entertain me on one side of the house (large tube feeders with seed trays) and goldfinches, chickadees, and nuthatches feed in peace on the other (small tubes with no seed tray).

Attracting Exotic Birds. If you live where winters are mild and you want to lure woodpeckers, hummingbirds, or orioles to your yard, invest in specialized feeders. Woodpeckers will visit suet feeders hung from trees. Hummingbirds and orioles are attracted to feeders filled with sweet nectar. Keep hummingbird feeders clean and hang them away from your seed feeders.


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