All creatures deserve high quality food to develop optimally. Even birds that fly freely in the skies above us deserve more than mere scraps, wild fruits, and seeds that may be laced with pesticides and a whole lot of chemicals. Besides, one cannot deny that the tunes that birds sing are definitely more melodic, more relaxing than the metallic noise created by certain rock bands. No offense. As such, bird feeders are created to allow us to feed free-flying avian species with high quality food without necessarily impeding their sense of freedom. Bird feeders come in different types, shapes, and sizes and have become the centerpiece of any garden whose goal is to serve as a temporary haven for local and migratory birds for the whole family to enjoy. And if you’re thinking of adding a bird feeder in your garden, backyard, lawn, patio, or even in your window, then you’ve come to the right place. We’re your online resource for the best bird feeders to buy in 2021.
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If you have already decided to add a bird feeder to your garden or even attach one on your window, you’ll find that you have plenty of options to choose from. While picking the right bird feeder system is crucial, equally important is your understanding of the different foods that these Mother Nature’s creatures feed on. This will help you better decide on the best avian feeding system to have in your home.
There really is no other reason for buying a bird feeder than to contribute to the welfare and the long-term health of birds in the wild. Being in the wild may equate to being free. But this also means being exposed to a lot of danger from other birds and animals that are higher in the food chain. Most of the time, man’s activities have made wild birds’ source of food even more dangerous as chemicals are typically used in many of the foods that wild birds consume. There is stiff competition in the great outdoors. Squirrels, bears, deer, and other animals will also forage for the same food that birds subsist on.
Providing these wild feathered creatures high quality food that only they can have access to underscores the importance of providing bird feeders in certain areas of our gardened homes.
If you look at the market today you’d be greeted to a dizzying array of different types of bird feeders. The thing is that each one of these types is specifically intended to provide feed to birds that display a particular feeding behavior. For instance, if you’re looking to attract ground-feeding avian species, then a bird feeder that can be set on the ground or one with a low tray would be appropriate. Let us take a closer look at the different types of bird feeders.
These are perfect for pigeons, grosbeaks, sparrows, starlings, jays, doves, blackbirds, and juncos. These don’t provide protection against snow, rain, and even bird droppings. The best platforms are those with ample drainage at the bottom. The issue with these types of feeders is that the seed is an open invitation to almost any other creature that loves seeds.
Also known as hoppers, these are attractive to finches, cardinals, grosbeaks, chickadees, jays, buntings, sparrows, titmice, and other feeder birds. Sadly, these are also magnets for squirrels. You will need a squirrel baffle to keep these out. The seeds contained in these types of feeding devices can last a few days so you don’t have to replace it every now and then.
These are excellent for viewing birds feeding up close and personal. These can be easily mounted on almost any nonporous surface but are ideally installed against glass windows to allow for unobstructed viewing of the birds while they’re feeding. These are easily accessible and are easy to clean, too, and have become the favorite of chickadees, finches, and titmice.
As the name implies, these are hollow cylindrical tubes that can help protect and secure the seeds inside from the weather as well as from foraging creatures like squirrels. These have feeding ports that come with weight activated closing mechanisms to keep out any bird species or other animals that is heavier than the designed weight of the tension spring. These are magnets for sparrows, titmice, finches, chickadees, and grosbeaks. Heavier bird species like jays and grackles typically won’t feed on such systems. The only downside of this type of avian feeding system is that seeds tend to collect at the bottom just below the line of the feeding port. This can become the perfect breeding ground for microorganisms. As such, emptying the tube feeder is important prior to replacing the feed.
These are designed primarily for American goldfinches, common redpolls, and pine skiskins as they are known to be especially fond with thistles or Nyjer seeds. These are available in two forms – thistle socks and tube feeders.
This type of avian feeding system is very simple, as simple as a platform or tray feeder. These are mostly made of wire mesh. In some cases, mesh onion bag will do. These are nailed to a trunk, suspended, or even mounted to a hopper feeder. These are magnets for woodpeckers, starlings, chickadees, nuthatches, jays, and titmice.
✔️ Black-oil sunflower seed: high in fat so it provides good energy; seeds are small and thin-shelled enough for small birds to crack open.
✔️ White Proso Millet: high in protein content.
✔️ Peanuts: offer in tube-shaped metal mesh feeders designed for peanuts; use a feeder with smaller openings for peanut hearts.
✔️ Suet cakes: commercially made suet cakes fit the standard-size suet feeder (you can even find vegetarian options).
✔️ Nyjer seed: use a tube feeder with tiny holes to keep the seeds from spilling out.
✔️ Cracked corn: choose medium-sized cracked corn, as fine will quickly turn to mush and coarse is too large for small-beaked birds.
*Suggestions for other seasons
✔️ Spring feeding: offer fruit, baked and crushed eggshells, and nesting materials, such as human hair, pet fur, bits of string or yarn, and small strips of cloth to help nesting birds
✔️ Summer feeding: limit to nectar for hummingbirds and nyjer seed for goldfinches
✔️ Autumn feeding: offer millet, peanuts, peanut butter, and suet cakes
Should I feed birds year-round?
It’s not necessary. Bird feeding is most helpful at times of when birds need the most energy, such as during temperature extremes, migration, and in late winter or early spring, when natural seed sources are depleted.
Most birds don’t need your help in the summer. When they are nesting and rearing their young, many birds focus on eating insects, so feeding is less necessary at those times. It is also important for young birds to learn how to find naturally occurring foods, so take a break from filling feeders in summer.
Two exceptions to this rule are hummingbirds and goldfinches. Offer your summer hummers nectar in feeders to help fuel their high metabolism, and provide nyjer seed to your goldfinches—who nest later than other birds—until thistles go to seed.
Where should I put birdfeeders?
Birds are most likely to eat where they feel safe from predators, including free-roaming cats. Place feeders twelve feet from a brush pile, evergreen tree, or bush. Birds can quickly fly twelve feet to reach the safe cover, yet predators cannot use it to hide within striking range of the feeder. As further protection, place chicken wire or thorny branches around ground-level feeders.
Which bird feeder attracts most birds?
A bird feeder that you can fill with a variety of seeds will attract the most birds. So a tube or hopper feeder that can be filled with a bird seed mix would be best as opposed to a specialized feeder, such as thistle or sunflower seeds only or cardinal feeders.
What kind of bird feeder do cardinals like?
Cardinal prefer feeders with a large perching area, such as a hopper or tray feeder. Cardinals prefer sunflower and safflower seeds, cracked corn, peanut pieces, and white proso millet.
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