Backyard bird feeders will experience some problems sooner or later since bird feeding is not exactly a precise or exact activity where every move is calculated and every result come out as expected. Problems such as having the “wrong birds” at the bird feeder, no birds at the feeder, sick and injured birds, predators, pests and the seemingly uncontrollable mess produced by maintaining bird feeders will certainly test the mettle of bird enthusiasts.
Probably the easiest way of feeding birds is tossing a mix of seeds on the ground. Just about every seed eating bird in one’s area will certainly stop by, but so will squirrels, chipmunks, mice and rats. It is a fact that any bird can feed on the ground but a very few find their food there.
It is much healthier for birds to feed at a bird feeder instead of on the ground. The ground below feeders and bird roosts is not exactly a very good place for birds to dine. It is very difficult to keep this area clean most of the time and it may not even be possible to sterilize the ground below the feeders without posing a threat to the birds themselves. Bird food is best placed in a bird feeder where it is dry and protected from contamination.
All birds will use an elevated feeder. Larger birds would require large perches due to the size of their feet and bodies. However, the presence of large birds does present a problem when it prevents smaller birds from feeding.
Bird feeder owners should remember that large birds come to the feeders and raid them because they are hungry. They require more food simply because they are larger. However, such a fact is not a reason to let all the other birds go hungry and let them search for other possible feeding stations. Welcoming large birds need not result to being deprived of the presence of others.
Large birds will eat dry dog food, a food that is good for them and less expensive than bird seeds. A small amount can be placed in a platform feeder that they will see. This feeder will be slowly moved further and further away from the other feeders until it is at least on the other side of the property.
The smaller birds can also be fed in cylindrical feeders since the larger birds will not be able to stay on the small perches, although they would still try. There are also bird feeders that have a wire mesh around them, like a cage or any other similar enclosure. The mesh wire should have holes large enough for the smaller birds to get in but will keep the larger ones out. Bird feeders that will automatically close if an animal above a certain weight gets on it will discourage larger birds as well as squirrels and raccoons.
Some poorly designed bird feeders can actually lure the birds inside when they’re nearly empty. It is very easy for the birds to become confused once inside and die in a panic. A bird feeder should never be left unattended especially if its owner intends to go on a vacation. It is much better to take it down than take the chance that a bird will get trapped.
Clear plastic feeders with feeding ports which are an inch in diameter or larger should be avoided. Birds such as the Chickadees will squeeze inside to get the last seed and try to fly upward and out, quickly forgetting that the entrance is at the bottom. This can also happen in a wood hopper feeder with plastic walls tight to the roof.