Squirrels often get the most attention when it comes to the major seed stealing offenders. However, letís not forget about the larger, more aggressive birds that can drive away the smaller songbirds and eat large amounts of seed in a very short amount of time. Many people find that traditional birdfeeders offer no protection for the smaller birds, and are not really designed for the larger birds. Birds such as pigeons, grackles, blackbirds, etc. may attempt to balance on small perches or trays, only to end up spilling large amounts of seed on the ground. One solution to the problem is to use a feeder designed to feed only the smaller songbirds.
There are many feeders available that can exclude doves, pigeons, grackles, etc. Many of the most effective feeders are squirrel resistant and squirrel proof feeders. Some of the most popular songbird selective feeders are cage feeders. Cage feeders are usually comprised of a tube feeder surrounded by a metal cage. The openings in the grid of the cage are large enough to let smaller songbirds fly in, but too small for larger birds to enter. Openings in the cage usually average 1.5 inches square. Birds that typically use this type of feeder include finches, woodpeckers, titmice, chickadees, nuthatches, redpolls, pine siskins, and grosbeaks.
Cage feeders come in many sizes and can use many different types of seed. Some models have multiple seed tubes that will allow the use of several different types of seed at one time. Also, built-in seed trays in some models can help reduce waste and attract an even greater variety of birds. Nearly all of these feeders may be hung, however, some may be pole-mounted for those who like their feeders more out in the open. Styles of cage feeders can vary from a basic plastic tube feeder surrounded by a metal cage to elaborate feeders reminiscent of antique bird houses from the Victorian era. Good examples of cage feeders are the Droll Yankees Sunflower Domed Cage (DY-SDC) and the Duncraft Royal Cage Masterpiece Feeder (DUN-19624).
Many people ask about feeding cardinals while excluding other larger birds at the same time. Cardinals prefer feeding from a more open area, such as a platform feeder or large seed tray. This preference makes it very difficult to feed both the smaller birds and cardinals and exclude the larger birds. A cage feeder would not be a good choice for someone wanting to accomplish this. A better choice would be a weight sensitive feeder.
Weight sensitive feeders also come in many styles, many of which are designed with squirrel exclusion in mind. In most designs, access to the seed is cut off when a certain amount of weight is placed on the perch or feeding tray. When choosing a weight sensitive feeder, you may want to choose one with a way to adjust the weight sensitivity of the perch. This will make the exclusion process much easier, and allow you to be as specific as desired on the types of birds that you would like to feed. Other considerations may include the type of perches incorporated into the feeder. Some birds, including cardinals, prefer to feed facing the seed. Many traditional style perches do not allow them to do this, and can unintentionally exclude these birds from the feeder. Some feeders integrate features such as a cardinal ring or have a hopper type perch that will eliminate this problem. Nearly all types of birds are able to use weight sensitive feeders, depending on whether or not the weight sensitivity can be adjusted. Good examples of weight sensitive feeders are Squirrel Buster II Feeder w/ Cardinal Ring (BRM-1008) and the Heritage Farms Double Sided ABSOLUTE II (HF-7536).
Keep in mind that putting up a songbird selective feeder may not fully deter larger birds from attempting to use your feeder. One option may be to offer something for the larger birds in order to draw their attention away from your feeder. A small tray of inexpensive cracked corn placed in a different location may be a good alternative to more expensive sunflower, safflower, and mixed seed. Some larger birds are often as interesting and entertaining to watch as the smaller birds, so it is important to keep in mind you may be missing out on something special by completely excluding larger birds from your backyard.
For a large selection of songbird selective feeders, please visit us at http://www.bestnest.com
or call us at 877-369-5446 for help selecting the right feeder for your needs.