Birdfeeder basics: Bring on backyard birds with the right feeders

June 27, 2013 

When you dine, do you prefer clean and attractive tableware? Does ambiance enhance your enjoyment of your food? Birds have similar preferences — the type and cleanliness of your bird feeders directly affects the number and species of birds that will visit your backyard this season, according to birdseed producer Cole’s Wild Bird Products.

To attract birds, you need to understand not only what they prefer to eat, but how they like to eat it, the company said in a recent news release. For example, many species prefer seed, but others like to eat from elevated platforms. Others prefer hanging feeders, and still others are content to forage the ground. All birds appreciate a clean feeder to prevent the spread of disease, and none of them like those pesky, seed-stealing squirrels any more than you do.

Some tips to help you attract the maximum number of feathered friends to your yard:

• Keep it clean: Everyone knows you should clean your feeders regularly to prevent disease, but many feeders are a pain to disassemble, clean and reassemble. Many people keep feeders less than pristine because of the hassle of cleaning. Look for feeders that make the process easy.

• Tube feeders are terrific: For versatility and wide appeal, it’s hard to beat a tube style feeder. These workhorses of the feeder world can handle seeds both large and small — from sunflowers to petite mixes. Tube feeders make great all-purpose feeders or excellent starter feeders for people just beginning backyard birding. Most songbirds will happily dine at a tube feeder.

• Some seeds are special: Niger is a favorite seed type for finches, siskins and several other appealing species, but not all tube feeders can handle this oily seed. If you’ll be serving niger, consider a specialty feeder that dispenses through special, tiny holes to limit the amount of waste.

• Cater to the clingy: Some birds, such as chickadees, titmice, woodpeckers and bluebirds, like to cling to the feeder. For these birds, a mesh feeder can be just what the diner ordered. Mesh feeders satisfy a bird’s desire to cling while also keeping larger birds from hogging the feeder.

• Appreciate the beauty of bowl feeders: Bowl feeders are another versatile style, and are great for serving not only seeds and seed blends, but also dried mealworms, fruit and suet in either kibble or pearl forms.

• Hummingbird feeders are something to sing about: Hummingbirds are endlessly fascinating to watch, but you have to be quick to catch a look at them. Your best opportunity is when they’re eating, and a hummingbird feeder can help extend your viewing time.

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