How Many Birds
If too many birds at your feeder become a
problem, you can control their numbers by putting out smaller amounts
of seed, or by using specialty seeds or restrictive feeders that will
attract only certain species. If you fill your feeder only when it's
empty, the birds will look for food elsewhere.
You can encourage small birds and discourage
large birds with feeders that restrict access. Wood feeders with
vertical bars and feeders covered with wire mesh frustrate larger
The most non-selective feeders are the tray,
platform or house feeders because they allow easy access by all birds.
Tube feeders without trays also restrict access
to only small birds. Remove the perches, and you've further restricted
the feeder to only those birds that can easily cling - finches,
chickadees, titmice and woodpeckers.
If starlings are a problem at your suet feeder,
discourage them by using a suet feeder with access only from the
bottom. Starlings are reluctant to perch upside down. Chickadees and
woodpeckers don't find that a problem.
You can virtually eliminate visits by birds you
would rather not see by offering seeds they won't eat. If you use more
than one type of seed, put them in separate feeders. This will reduce
wasted seeds, as birds will toss unwanted seeds out of a feeder to get
to their favorites.
Watch a feeder filled with a seed mix and you'll
see the birds methodically drop or kick out most of the seeds to get
to their favorite-sunflower.
Many birds prefer sunflower. Some prefer millet.
A few prefer peanuts. Sparrows, blackbirds, doves and juncos will eat
the other grains used in pre-made mixes: corn, milo, red millet, oats,
wheat and canary seed. Birds will also kick out artificial "berry"
pellets, processed seed flavored and colored to look like real fruit.
Black oil sunflower is the hands-down favorite
of all the birds that visit tube and house feeders. Birds who visit
platform feeders (doves and sparrows) favor white proso millet. Ducks,
geese and quail will eat corn. Many cereal grains (corn, milo, oats,
canary, wheat, rape, flax and buckwheat) in mixed bird seeds are NOT
favorites of birds that visit tube feeders.
The most effective way to attract the largest
variety of birds to your yard is to put out separate feeders for each
- a starling-resistant suet feeder
- a house feeder for sunflower
- a bluebird feeder a wire mesh cage feeder for
- a nectar feeder
- a tube feeder for thistle
- a stationary or tray fruit feeder
- a house or platform feeder for millet