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Bird Feeders: Look Who's Coming to Dinner
Birds, birds, birds. They come in all shapes and sizes. They range in type from carnivores to herbivores. Birds have been the stars of their own movies. Birds have taught children the importance of personality over looks. Some are even the leaders of nations. Is it any wonder that bird watching is one of the world's most practiced hobbies.
People from all walks of life enjoy bird watching. Anyone can do it. All it requires is patience, a pair of binoculars and most importantly, a bird feeder. And there are many types. Depending what birds you want to attract will determine what kind of feeder to get.
Hummingbird feeders are the most popular and come in two styles; inverted and basin style. The feeder usually has a small receptacle in which a sugar solution is placed. It has an opening just big enough for the hummingbird to put its long beak. But the solution is really just an energy boost for the hummingbird. A hummingbird's main diet is gnats and other small bugs. Here's a hint when choosing a hummingbird feeder. Choose one that can be taken apart easily. Your feeder needs to be cleaned every three-to-four days due to the unfortunate clotting habit of the sugar and water solution.
If you are a Woody fan, you might consider a peanut feeder. Woodpeckers, starlings and titmice are big fans of peanuts. But be sure you purchase the peanuts from a dealer that supplies aflatoxin-free peanuts. Aflatoxin fungus can cause disease and death for some birds. Also, make sure the peanut feeder is built to keep out squirrels. Squirrels are the biggest enemy to the peanut feeder.
Hopper feeders are the type of feeder most people picture in their mind when they think of a bird feeder. Most look like a small house and have a tray at the bottom. Tray feeders attract chickadees, sparrows and blue jays. Sunflower seeds are the most popular feed for tray feeders. The bigger the feeder, the easier they are to clean.
Next on the agenda, tube feeders. Most tube feeders are made of a clear plastic and have holes drilled in the side with a small perch beside each hole to make the seed accessible to the bird. Tube feeders attract a large variety of smaller birds like finches, titmice and grosbeaks. When buying a tube feeder, look for ones with a large storage capacity. Also look for feeders with metal reinforcing to help keep out squirrels and larger birds. A tube feeder with a tray at the bottom will help catch the seeds that fall when the messy birds come to dinner.
Tray feeders are the simplest and least expensive types of feeders. They can be as simple as a plate from your kitchen cupboard. Because they hold less seed than other types of feeders, the ones made close to the ground are usually best. Tray feeders attract sparrows, doves, cardinals and other birds that prefer eating close to mother earth. When purchasing a tray feeder, look for ones that allow for drainage in case it rains.
But the number one thing you should look for when purchasing a feeder of any kind is convenience. Make sure they are easy to clean, easy to refill and durable. From personal experience, I have learned that once the birds get used to being fed in the same place at the same time every day, you can't get rid of the little buggers.
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