Bird feeders come in all shapes and sizes. Some are basic and efficient, others
are for show. There seem to be countless interpretations of the four
basic feeder styles we’ll examine: Cornell style, finch, lantern,
choosing a feeder, you may have an esthetic preference, but also
consider the design for its capacity as well as ease of cleaning and
refilling. Just as you may have a feeder preference, birds also seem
to have preferences. Establishing stations with different feeder
designs at several locations in your garden will expand feeding
options to more species of birds. Birds will come to a feeder much
more readily if there is plant cover nearby. Without the safety of a
nearby tree or shrub, birds often take food from a feeder and carry
it to a remote protected spot.
are numerous interpretations of the tube feeder, which is also
referred to as a finch feeder. Tubular in shape, the feeder has
multiple perches to accommodate birds with small beaks, such as
titmice, chickadees, and finches. However, many songbirds with
larger beaks like cardinals will dine happily at a tube or finch
feeder. Even woodpeckers will perch, though rather awkwardly,
on a finch feeder. Squirrels also dine readily at tube feeders
unless defensive measures are taken.
The lantern feeder is another popular design, which can be interpreted
in various ways. It has a pleasing shape and makes a nice addition
to the garden. Large birds can access a lantern feeder with relative
ease. Of course, that means squirrels, raccoons, and other critters
without wings can readily mount a lantern feeder unless deterrents
are in place.
feeder design developed at Cornell University is "supposedly"
squirrel proof. When a heavy bird or animal lands on the ledge or
rail, its weight closes the opening to the food supply. The
counterbalance is adjustable to accommodate only the birds you want
to allow at the feeder. There are many squirrel proof feeders
available for purchase.
Bird feeders do not have to be complicated or expensive. Even a simple tray or
box will serve perfectly well. When using an open feeder, be sure to
drill holes in the bottom so the food will not stand in water when
it rains. Even with a roof, the fly-through feeder is another
version of the open or tray feeder. It offers some protection from
the rain but not from squirrels.
are a major concern for many people who feed birds. There are
bafflesand other deterrents, which seem to discourage squirrels,
but they are clever critters and very difficult to outsmart.
However, there are those who are happy to have squirrels dining
along with the birds. It is a personal preference.