John Galea's Blog

My blog on Gadgets and the like

Bird feeders

Ya ya, a little off topic, I know … I’ve never really had bird feeders going, just never bothered. This year, working from home due to COVID I set my office up next to a window to my backyard so this seemed like a great time to play with bird feeders. I learned a LOT, nature schooled me. I thought I’d share my experiences. Some of this should have been obvious, but heh … So first off, know there are bylaws on feeding nature that you can run a foul of (pun intended). So you need to keep these in mind. Feeding birds is Ok, but you have to be mindful to not intentionally feed things like squirrels, or attracting mice. More on this in a bit.

Ok, let’s start out with squirrels are VERY smart, mischievous, and bottomless pits. I stupidly thought it would be fun to leave peanuts out for the squirrels, and the word got out. At one point I had 4 squirrels fighting over my teeny tiny backyard, ya so that ended. I’ve had two bird feeders that the squirrels had a hayday with. First off, a simple suet feeder.

In short order the squirrels pulled it off the clothes line, pried it open and gorged themselves on the suet in one day, a $9 lesson.

So to fix this I used copper wire to attach the feeder to the clothes line and copper wire to keep the lid shut. Problem solved. I’ve had the suet feeder up and running most of the winter. The woodpeckers, nuthatches and sometimes even the sparrows eat from it. That said, it’s not as easy for them so they tend, in my backyard anyway, to not prefer the suet feeder.

The second issue I had was with a nut cage feeder. Well again, the squirrels pulled it down, lifted the lid and gorged. Take one I screwed the feeder to a pole and used copper wire to keep it shut. This helped but did not entirely stop the squirrels. They even tag teamed trying to pull it down.

Take two, I moved the feeder out to the clothes line, and used a carbiner to attach it to the line. The squirrels never even bothered to try. The squirrels would come up the pole where the feeder was for a week to try and figure out, wait, what happened to the feeder? Stupid humans … Then they would sit atop the fence looking over at the feeder knowing there were nuts in it, all very amusing to watch. Eventually they gave up.

And lastly I bought a Brome Squirrel buster feeder on amazon. This thing is brilliantly designed. The weight of the squirrel closes the feeding port, it actually works, perfectly!

Ok, now onto feed … well this too was a learning experience. I bought a couple Armstrong blends thinking they ought to be quality, well, don’t assume that. What was happening is the birds were being very selective and tossing out the “low quality” feed to get to the good stuff. This in turn attracted mice, and of course the squirrels. In doing research I found that, in spite of the fact that some birds like it, millet seed is not preferred and was largely what was being discarded by the birds and what was attracting the mice. To fix this I discovered the millet is the smallest of the seeds, and got lucky that my pizza pan had holes in it that were perfect in reducing the millet in the blend. By reducing the millet the waste, mess and mice issue was solved. Not that white millet is bad, it’s just when they have a choice of other things like sunflower seeds, well that’s where they are going. At some point I may try and JUST use millet and see what they do, now that I have it sorted. Heh, I had a BIG bag of feed and didn’t feel like wasting it.

You can also buy no mess feed that is shelled. This worked fairly well also at reducing mess, but the birds were not entirely sure at first what it was, they were use to sunflowers having a shell on it?

Now if you wanna have some fun, checkout the Squirrel obstacle course this guy created. Hilarious, time well wasted.

So here’s what all I’ve seen, black capped chickadees, cardinals, nuthatches, woodpeckers, sparrows etc.

March 12, 2021 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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