How to Choose the Right Bird Feeder
Season after season, all year ’round, wild birds don’t disappoint. They bring color, movement, and song to our property and ask for very little in return. All we need to do is provide food, water, and concealment and they are virtually guaranteed to show up! These helpful hints will help to make your feeders ones that wild birds will visit for years to come.
In this blog post, we will discuss:
- Appropriate feeder styles to attract different species of birds
- Feeder locations on your property
- Feeder cleaning
FEEDER STYLE AND BIRD SPECIES
With so many styles of bird feeders to choose from, which should you use? Looking at feeders from a bird’s perspective can help to make the choices easier.
Instinctive ground feeding birds include the Dark Eyed Junco, Cardinal, Blue Jay, Mourning Dove and Chickadee (among others). If you put feed on the ground, you are likely to attract some, if not all of these species – very exciting!
However, birds feeding on the ground will probably not be visible from inside your home. If the goal is simply to feed the birds and you are not concerned with seeing them, this is a simple answer: no feeder required.
But a lot of the joy of birding is watching, so you may want to consider a feeder that simulates ground feeding; such as a platform feeder or one with an attachable disc on the bottom. These help to give these birds the sensation of standing on flat ground. The Droll Yankee bird feeders that Koopman Lumber carries offer these features and can be hung in a location where you can comfortably see the birds.
Other types of birds instinctively perch to feed, such as the Eastern Blue Bird, Evening Gross Beaks, Sparrows, Nuthatches and Finches. For these birds, there are many feeder options to choose from. Any feeder with a perch, including the popular tube style feeder, is appropriate and will attract many birds. Birds that perch to feed will be most likely to visit a feeder which allows their beak to easily fit into the feed opening and has its perch positioned so they can comfortably feed. Even the White Breasted Nuthatch, which instinctively feeds upside down, adapts very well to perch feeding.
Keep in mind the size of the seed that birds you wish to attract prefer when choosing which style of feeder to purchase. Smaller birds such as Finches enjoy a smaller seed like Black Nyjer. A feeder with much smaller feed openings will be sufficient. Larger birds like Blue Jays enjoy peanuts, which will require a feeder with large open mesh or feed openings.
Feed Selection: Do you live in a condo community or an apartment where shell waste may be problematic, or just don’t care for the pile of shells? All seeds have shells and some, such as sunflower seeds, have a lot of shells that will pile up under your feeding station. Blue Seal Neat Feast blend from Koopman Lumber is for you! A blend of nuts and seed that have no shells which eliminates waste and maximizes the value of the feed to birds because they don’t have to expend any energy to shell their feed. Neat Feast is a win – win situation for you and your wild birds! Neat Feast is just one of a wide variety of bird feed available for every budget and desired bird focus.
Choose a location for your feeder that will place the birds somewhere you can comfortably and enjoyably observe. After all, you are investing in the feeder and the seed for your viewing pleasure. However, squirrels also see bird feeders as a great source of nourishment. To prevent furry creatures from feeding on food intended for your feather friends, don’t locate your feeders within 8-10 feet of any object that is 4 feet tall. The feeder itself must be more than 4 feet off of the ground or any deck surface.
Birds prefer to feed in an area with a tree break to block the wind. Many birds prefer some nearby cover in case a bird of prey shows up. Hanging a feeder off a raised deck seems to work for most birds since they see the underside of the deck as cover. Locating a feeder near thorny bushes such as Barberry or Holly is also an option. Small birds can easily hide within the branches while larger birds cannot. Other birds, like the Eastern Blue Bird, prefer wide open spaces that enable them to see all around them. For them, a pole feeder in an open space will work best.
Feeders should be cleaned using soapy water every time they are refilled or once every 2 weeks, whichever comes first. Make sure to remove and clean up after any clumps of seed, shells and bird waste. Once a month, take your feeder down for a more thorough cleaning. Wash it with soapy water and then soak it in a 1:9 bleach and water solution. Consider how easily the bottom of a feeder can be removed for cleaning before buying. Also look at how durable the material is (metal is stronger than plastic) because this process will be repeated many times through the life of the feeder.
We trust you will enjoy feeding the birds this winter, and enjoy witnessing the beauty and interesting behavior that can be witnessed around your feeders. With the amount of snow on the ground today, feeding wild birds will mean more to them this winter than ever.