3 Things to Know Before Buying A Bird Feeder

If you go for a walk in your neighborhood, you probably pass dozens of bird feeders without even realizing it. If you are interested in joining your neighbors in their quest to care for mother nature's beloved birds, then you need to learn a thing or two about bird feeders. You might be thinking, "is there really that much to know?" and the answer is yes! The size and style of your bird feeder can have a big impact on these beautiful creatures, and some common mistakes can even endanger or drive birds away. We've put together this easy-to-follow guide to help you learn everything you need to know about buying a bird feeder.

1. More is Better

When you are shopping for a bird feeder, remember that birds typically eat half their weight in seeds per day. Purchasing a feeder that holds 2 lbs of seed or more is not only convenient for the birds, but also for you. The less you have to refill a feeder and the more variety you have to offer, the better. To ensure a healthy and nutritious buffet for a wide range of birds, you will need more than one feeder. Birds have different diet preferences, and if you want to attract a variety of birds, you need to be equipped with a selection of food (but avoid any heavily processed bread products). Learn all about the different diet preferences of birds here.

2. Style is Important

Bird feeders can be small or big, simple or colorful, wood or plastic... you get the point. Not only do birds have different diet preferences, but they also have different feeder preferences. If you want to maximize your bird feeding, then you need learn about the different styles:

- Open feeders with trays or perches will attract the greatest variety of seed-eating feeder birds, such as pigeons, House Sparrows, and starlings.

- House Feeders, also known as hopper feeders, also attract a great variety of birds, including finches, jaws, and cardinals.

- Tube feeders are great for keeping seed fairly clean and dry, and the are a good option for attracting smaller birds like sparrows, chickadees, and finches. Tube feeders with perches above the feeding port are designed for birds who feed while hanging upside down.

- Nyjer Feeders are especially popular amongst Pine Siskins and Common Redpolls. There are two style options for Nyjers: tube feeders and "thistle socks." The latter is a fine-mesh bag that allows birds to cling on while they eat.

- Suet Feeders are constructed of wire or plastic-coated wire mesh; they can be tied to a tree trunk or affixed to a hopper feeder.

3. Keep 'Em Clean

When you have a wooden bird feeder, it is important to inspect and clean it often so you do not sicken or harm any birds. Feeders that have larger openings, like the open or house feeders, are not well protected against the elements. Rain and snow can easily get inside and cause the seeds to mold. This is also an issue with feeders that have smaller openings. Even the seed-containing tube on most tube feeders can become a breeding ground for mold and bacteria. This is because the internal tube often extends an inch or more below the bottom-most feed ports.
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