A – Z of Bird Feeders
Bird- table or bird feeder is a platform on which food for birds is placed, usually in a garden. Bird feeders offer the best way to turn your own backyard into a mini oasis for the wild birds in your area. They are usually filled with a variety of grains to suit the different species of our feathered friends. The most popular varieties of seeds include millet, safflower, sunflower and thistle. Apart from satisfying the hunger of birds, bird feeders also provide an excellent ornithological treat. To everyone’s surprise the conglomeration of the rarest species of birds are often witnessed in our very own backyards rather than go miles in search of a bird sanctuary. To capture the essence of bird behavior, modern bird feeders are fitted with web cams. Bird feeders come in different varieties and design depending upon the species of bird they cater to. The most common types are ground feeder, seed tube feeder, humming bird feeder, suet feeder, oriole feeder etc.
Seed feeders are very much popular; they come either with tubes or hoppers. Mainly these feeders are laden with sunflower seeds to attract birds like chickadees, nuthatches, siskins and finches. They usually have a partition to segregate the different types of seeds. A suet feeder comprises of a cage like structure made of metal, coated with plastic. It is this plastic that contains a cake or suet. Suet is basically a bird feed containing animal fat, which prevent the feed from turning rancid and protect it from the adverse effects of moisture. Also they could be hung from windows or any tree tops thus giving us a clear view of the birds in action. These bird feeders attract birds like woodpeckers and flickers. Unlike the seed feeders Humming bird feeders offer the feed in a liquid form. This usually consists of sugary syrup solution that is particularly preferred by humming birds. To attract the bird, the solution is painted in bright color. But care should be taken while choosing the coloring material, for often birds fall ill to harmful coloring agents. Oriole feeders are orange in color. They too supply a liquid form of nourishment. They specially cater to new world orioles, a species of birds having a uniquely pointed beak and tongue. Apart from the quality of the feed provided in a feeder, the success of a feeder largely depends on the strategic location on which it is placed, its remote proximity from intruders like squirrels and cats. Squirrels pose a persistent problem for the birds as they tend to carry away the feed to their home, distorting our entire objective of feeding the birds. The best way to deal with them is to build feeders that can withstand the weight of a bird and collapse under any further weight.
In spite of the various advantages it offers to the birds, feeders still do have their own negative impacts on the bird community. The water and feed if not maintained clean would lead to spread of diseases among birds as they come in contact with one another. It also leads to the growth of certain dominant species leading to an ecological imbalance. So go get yourself a bird feeder and experience the vicarious thrill experienced by our avian fellow mates.