Monday, July 30, 2007

-About My Feeders And Birdbath -

I've had a number of different bird feeders over the past several years. These are the feeders I now have in my backyard, and why I have them. The above feeder, is a counter-balance bird feeder filled with Black Oil Sunflower Seed. I originally had a platform feeder. The problem with a platform feeder is that they attract big messy birds like pigeons. There's something wrong with a feeder that allows birds to eat and poop in the same place. This counter-balance feeder attracts a variety of birds (Like this male Cardinal) but closes up when squirrels try to get at the seed.
This feeder takes a little bit of explaining. This is a tube feeder surrounded by a squirrel proof cage. It is filled with shelled sunflower seeds. It has a plastic dome that protects the seed from rain. I duct-taped twine to the dome. The twine is attached about every 4 inches. The reason I did this, is that House Sparrows were taking over the feeder. The hanging twine does not stop House Sparrows from using this feeder completely. It does however, discourage them from using this feeder. The House Sparrows seem very uncomfortable trying to penetrate this string barrier. Now that the House Sparrows have lost their dominance over this feeder, the number of Tufted Titmice, Downy Woodpeckers, White-breasted Nuthatches, Black-Capped Chickadees, and American goldfinches have increased significantly. These birds don't seem to be bothered by the hanging twine. The idea for hanging strings, came from a product called the Magic Halo. I've only tried this with tube feeders. You may have to experiment, in order to get the best results. The feeder on the left, is a metal Nyjer feeder. It has a metal screen type design. I used to have a plastic feeder. The seed ended up wet, clumped up, and moldy. I don't have those problems with this particular feeder. Below the two feeders is a squirrel baffle. If you use these according to directions, you will not have a squirrel problem. I had painted it with silver paint in order to camouflage the bird poop that ends up on it. Looks like it's time for a new paint job.
This is a shelled peanut feeder with a Northern Flicker attached to it. These feeders attract some of the same birds that suet feeders do. The advantage is, that peanuts do not melt like suet does, and the screen design slows the rate at which birds can eat the peanuts. A dome over the top is a must for this feeder. Otherwise, the peanuts will spoil in no time. Let's take a break to sing the National Anthem. Put your right hand over your heart.

A birdbath with dripping water is a good solution if you don't have the time or money to set up a backyard pond. I hung a watering can from a tree by a bungee cord. I removed the spout, and replaced it with a plastic spout from a dish washing detergent bottle. If I set it to a slow drip, it will last 24 hours off of one fill. Birds go crazy over the sound of dripping water!
So those are my four feeders and birdbath. I bought my feeders from Birds Unlimited. They charge good money for their feeders, but I think they are worth it in the long run. I used home made solutions for the dripper and the House Sparrow problem.
That's about all I have for tonight. I'll look forward to doing some birding, and posting my results this weekend!

17 comments:

ABQ-B-Fly Guy said...

Wow...thanks for the tour of your feeders and water! I can only dream of getting those birds to MY feeders here in NM! Great pictures too. What seed is in the feeder next to the nyger feeder? And I a guessing the counter balance feeder has black oil sunflower?

Thanks for sharing!!

Ron

RuthieJ said...

Hi Larry,
Looks like you've got a great set-up there and the birds are certainly rewarding you with their continued attendance. I'm glad you have a Wild Birds Unlimited near you and I hope they reminded you when you purchased your feeders that there's a lifetime guarantee against squirrel damage on the Aspects and Droll Yankee feeders! When I worked at WBU I always told customers about that guarantee--especially when they complained about how expensive the feeders were (I have some Droll Yankee and Aspects tube feeders that are still going strong after 10 years of use).

Love the dripper...inexpensive, easy to maintain and the birds love it too!

mon@rch said...

I have a squirrel poof feeder that I got at home depot that I just love! Reminds me some like the first picture you have with the cardinal! BTW: Love all your photos!

KGMom said...

String deters house sparrows? Hmmm--most interesting.
I do love that squirrel photo--as annoying as they are, they sure do pose well for photos!
And I see I COMPLETELY missed the last song lyrics challenge.

Larry said...

Ron-thanks-yes on BOS-I edited in the missing seed.
ruthiej-I know about the guarantee-I haven't needed it so far.
Monarch-We have a Home Depot near us that has a lot of birds(mostly house sparrows) flying around the store.-They know where to go to get the seed.
kgmom-Yes-string does slow the house sparrows down if you set it up right. You have to hang the strings around the outside of the feeder about 4 inches apart and they may need to be weighted at the bottom.-see magic halo.

Body Soul Spirit said...

I only have finch seed out now, but am attracting more birds with the water I have out in a small dish on the deck and on in my garden. It is so dry here that even a small amount of fresh water is appreciated by the birds, squirrels and chipmunks. I have not had success with and "squirrel-proof" feeder.
ruth

Jayne said...

Great feeder set up Larry! I love the idea of the string. Thankfully, I have only had one set of house sparrows and they left after I thwarted their nest building efforts over and over again. Love the dripping water can too!

Larry said...

Ruth-It took me a while to squirrel proof my feeders.-The feeders have to be 10 feet away from a tree and then use a baffle like the one iseen in the Goldfinch photo.-It must be five feet above the ground because suirrels can jump that high.-I have 6 or so squirrels in my yard, and they have not reached the seed in six years.
Jayne-I wouldn't worry about a couple of House Sparrows-I had groups of 20 or more.-They would wipe out the tube feeder in one day.-

Cathy said...

Lary, I love the suspended water can idea. Excellent. You've got some happily spoiled birds in your yard. And I love the patriotic squirrel:o)

Jennifer said...

Love the birdbath/shower idea!

Carole DeJarnatt said...

Thanks for sharing. Being a birder myself, I enjoy reading and seeing the photos.

dguzman said...

Thanks for the dripping-water idea! I'll have to set that up; my birds LOVE it when I get the hose dripping, but that's using a lot of water.

Larry said...

Cathy, Jennifer, and Dguzman-Glad you like the water idea-I'm certainly not the first one to think of it, but I did sort of put my own twist on it.
Carol-thanks for stopping by-I'll take a look at your blog as well.

JC said...

Larry, thanks for sharing your ideas and experience with birdwatching equipment. I have recently been making my own versions of 'magic halo'. For more info on this and other birdwatching 'gadgets', see my picasa photo gallery or the birdwatching section of my web site. For example, my 'Automatic Birdbath' not only has a dripper, but also an automatic cleaning mechanism. The homemade 'magic halo' was also discussed on the GardenWeb Birdwatching Forum.

Larry said...

I took a look at some of your devices, and they are very clever.I guess that's the engineer in you!

battery said...
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Ginny K said...

This is a great post...thanks. I am trying desperately to control the sparrows that have invaded my feeders. I have a question about you solution using string. I've read that the Magic Halo, a product that uses monofilament, not string, can sometimes cause birds to become entangled by their wings or head. Have you seen any of this using string? Thanks in advance for any information you may be able to share.

Ginny K.