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Learn birdfeeder basics


Bring on backyard birds with the right feeders

When you dine, do you prefer clean and attractive tableware? Does ambiance enhance your enjoyment of your food? Birds feel the same way about their dining habits — the type and by: SUBMITTED - The right bird feeder can bring more birds to your yard.cleanliness of your bird feeder directly affects the number and species of birds that will visit your backyard this season.

To attract birds, you need to understand not only what they prefer to eat, but how they like to eat it. For example, while many species prefer seed, some birds like to eat their seed from elevated platforms, others prefer hanging feeders and still others are content to forage on 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.

Bird experts offer some guidance for choosing the right feeder styles to attract the maximum number of feathered friends to your yard:

Keep it clean. Clean your feeders regularly to prevent disease. Look for feeders that make the cleaning process easy.

Tube feeders are terrific. For versatility and wide appeal, it’s hard to beat a tube-style feeder. They can handle seeds both large and small — from sunflowers to petite mixes. 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 the seed 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.

See 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.

As much as you enjoy watching squirrels’ antics, you probably don’t want them on your bird feeder. These persistent bandits can wipe out a seed supply in minutes and damage even the best-made birdfeeders. One way to keep squirrels away from all your feeders is to install a guard on your existing feeder poles.

The device uses a static pulse to train squirrels not to climb on feeder poles.

Use your favorite feeders on your own shepherd staff or pipe-style poles and add the guard to keep squirrels away. Only the tube portion of the guard is charged, so the pole and birdfeeder are safe to touch for humans and birds alike.