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Choose The Best Feeder For Your Feathered Friends

Aug 17, 2007
Few additions to a backyard will bring more hours of visual enjoyment than the inclusion of a bird feeder. But, the type of feeder chosen can oftentimes be as important as making the decision to encourage winged visitors.

Here are some things to look for in a backyard bird feeder. Keep in mind there are many different kinds of feeders and many different kinds of birds to attract. Choose the one that works best for your unique situation.

Regardless of feeder style, it's a good idea to look for these things:

* Any feeders made out of wood should be weather-resistant. If they're not, they should be painted or stained. Cedar is one of the best wood types to choose. Choosing correctly will help ensure your feeder lasts.

* A feeder should be relatively easy to clean and easy to reload with seeds or other feed.

* Any feeders made out of plastic should have some device for discouraging squirrels. This means the feeding ports should be reinforced with metal. Also, perches should not be made of plastic. They should be metal or wood.

* Inspect quality of construction. A good feeder will last for years. If it looks flimsy and feels flimsy, it probably is.

Now that you know what to look for in a feeder, it's time to start deciding what type of feeder you want. Feeders generally come in three different styles, but more are always available. The basic forms they take on are hopper, tube and platform. All offer their own advantages, but remember to look for the basic requirements in any feeder you buy.

Hoppers are a great choice for people who don't have the time to reload feed on a daily basis. They can hold a lot of birdseed and they generally are very easy to refill. Typically, hoppers look like tiny barns or similar and they have Plexiglas sides so it's easy to see when they need more seed. Depending on the size, they can be used to attract an array of birds both large and small. The choices for mounting include poles, trees or even a simple hook.

Tube feeders are just that. They're long tubes with perches at the feeding sites. These are great for discouraging squirrels and are wonderful for attracting small birds. They can create a problem with seed rot, so it's important to inspect them on a regular basis. But, these have a number of hanging options, including poles, hooks and tree limbs.

Platform feeders are generally open platforms that can be hung or placed on the ground. These are fantastic for attracting birds that tend to feed closer to the ground such as sparrows and doves.

No matter the feeder you choose, make sure to inspect it from time to time and do replace and refill the seed. A welcoming feeder is often all it takes to attract an array of birds to a backyard setting. To ensure the bird feeder does its job year in and year out, be certain to buy one that meets the minimum requirements and take care to keep it stocked.
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