Garden birds can really bring your garden to life, and watching them can bring you a lot of enjoyment. But did you know that different birds also have different preferences when it comes to feeding. Some birds prefer to feed in numbers (it makes them feel safer) or under the cover of trees or shrubs (or take their food back to cover to eat it).
Bird feeders are suitable for different wild bird food, and different feed attract different species of birds to your garden. Let have a look at the different types available:
Wild Bird seed port feeder
- Seed feeders are usually tubular feeders, with ports along the feeder allowing the birds to feed. The more ports you have, the more birds that can feed at the same time – multi port feeders also give the garden birds a sense of security, as there is safety in numbers.
- Feeders can come with metal, plastic or sometimes ceramic fittings. Plastic fittings are generally cheaper, but they are vulnerable to squirrel damage, so the extra investment may be worthwhile – especially as the metal fittings tend to last longer.
- If squirrels are a problem, you can buy specially designed squirrel proof bird feeders that have an outer guard that prevents squirrels and larger birds from getting to the food. There are also squirrel proof attachments you can put on the bird feeder that deter the squirrels – with varying success.
- Depending on the wild bird food you use, you can attract attract a variety of birds to your garden such as the tit family, sparrows and finches. A special seed blend such as the Robin and Blackbird bird is tailored to attract Robins and Blackbirds.
- Keep an eye out on the seed that collects on the ground under the feeder. You may need a seed tray which sits on the bottom of the feeder and collects the dropped seed and also doubles as a perch. Caution though, seed trays don’t fit every feeder.
- Niger seed is a light and tiny seed that will spill or get blown out of normal seed feeders. There are specially designed niger seed feeders that have very small holes to prevent the seed from being wasted.
- It is important that the birds can’t access large pieces or the whole nut as this can be a choking hazard for baby birds. So the peanut feeders have a steel mesh around them that controls the size of the peanuts that the birds can get to.
- These feeders can also be use with peanut, sunflower hearts chips / nibbles as well as suet nibbles.
- The tit family as well as woodpeckers and finches are only some of the garden birds that are attracted by peanuts.
- Peanuts can be sold in plastic mesh bags. You must remove the peanuts out of the bags and put them in a peanut feeder, as the bags can cause injury to birds.
- Suet feeders or fat feeders cover a whole range of feeders – from fat ball feeders to suet cakes.
- Always remove the plastic netting that surrounds the fat balls and place in a fat ball feeder to prevent the birds from getting trapped or choking on the netting.
- Due to its high energy, fat and suet is a wild bird food that is loved by tits and starlings.
- Some species of garden birds prefer feeding from the ground, such as blackbirds, dunnocks, robins, song thrushes and wrens.
- Where you position the ground feeder is important, and you need to think about their predators such as cats. Position it away from cover will help – have a clear area around the feeder.
- Alternatively you can use a ground feeder guardian that protects from predators and prevents larger birds from competing for the food.
- When using a ground feeder, it’s important to keep an eye on the food that is being left at the end of day (nightfall). You don’t want to put out more food than is being eaten in a day, as it can attract vermin such as rats. If you notice the food is being left over at the end of the day, reduce the food you’re putting out and also bring the feeder in for the night.
- Almost all types of wild bird food is suitable for feeding on ground feeders.
What else to consider?
Some other things to consider when choosing your feeder:
Easy to clean
- No matter the feeder you use, it’s important to keep it clean (as well as bird baths). Is the feeder easy to keep clean?
Easy to fill
- How do you fill the feeder? Is it easy?
- If you have problems with squirrels invest in a squirrel proof bird feeder or a baffle to fix to the feeder that can deter the squirrels.
- Keep the feeders away from cover where predators can hide in.
- A clear area around your feeders – poles are good for this.
How to display feeders
- Most feeders are designed to be hung, either from a special pole or bird station or from a tree or bracket.