Guests at the Birdfeeder
Once you get your bird feeding station up and
running, you may run into problems with two kinds of uninvited guests
- those interested in the seeds (squirrels and chipmunks, rats and
mice, and starlings and house sparrows), and those interested in
eating a bird for dinner (cats and hawks).
When a squirrel is at the feeder, you're not
likely to see birds. Squirrels will scare off the birds while they eat
the seed and sometimes they will eat the feeder too. The simplest
solution is a squirrel-proof feeder or pole.
Starlings and house sparrows are not native to
North America and are aggressive towards other species. Choose your
feeder and seed to exclude these species if possible.
Chipmunks, rats and mice can also become a
problem where there is seed spillage under the feeder. Don't use mixed
bird seed, and if you don't have a squirrel problem, add a feeder
Feral cats and your neighbor's tabby are a
serious threat to many birds. Keep feeders away from brushpiles and
shrubbery, as this offers cats the necessary cover to surprise birds.
If there are no cats in your neighborhood and
you find a pile of feathers near your feeder, look for a full-bellied
hawk perching on a tree nearby. Don't put out poisons or try to trap
hawks though, as this is against state and federal law.