If you’ve spent time looking at all the bird feeders at the Wildlife Garden, it probably doesn’t surprise you that we use the phrase, “Over 300 styles of bird feeders or bird houses” to describe our bird feeder department, and, hopefully, you have concluded that if you ever need to buy someone a bird feeder as a gift, that the Wildlife Garden is the place to go! Our bird feeder selection
Our suggestion? Be selective! Selective bird feeding is a concept that recognizes that there is a natural pecking order — bigger birds rule the roost and the bird feeder! If you are buying a feeder for someone who has no other feeders, you should consider a feeder with a wide landing area. Feeders with wide perches and platforms allow access by all the birds, including everyone’s favorite–the cardinal. “Hopper feeders” with a central hopper that is filled with seed that flows out of the bottom onto a platform surrounded by wide landing areas are the most popular for cardinals, but tube feeders with a seed tray attached to the bottom will also provide enough landing area for the cardinals. Next, consider mounting options–is this feeder going to be hung from a tree, or on a shepherd’s crook, or mounted on a metal pole or a wooden post? Now is the part where your individualism takes over. Color, size, budget, wood or recycled? Pick the one that’s right for you and for the gift recipient.
If the person you are buying for already has a hopper type feeder, that’s when selective bird feeding becomes even more important. Specialized finch feeders are always a good choice for a second bird feeder. As smaller birds, finches are at the bottom of the pecking order and are most likely to be crowded out at the platform feeder. Finch feeders are designed so that only finches can access the fine seeds that are used in them.
Upside down finch feeders exclude even the bigger House Finches, so they are available for Goldfinches only.
Because the seed in these feeders is fine, we always recommend a tube topper to help protect these feeders from moisture–especially in winter.
Suet feeders are another popular addition to the bird feeder collection. These feeders are particularly attractive to insect and nut loving birds such as chickadees, titmice, nuthatches, and especially woodpeckers. Once considered for winter only, commercially prepared suets are rendered so that they are now suitable for year around feeding and often have peanut, seeds, and other “goodies” mixed into the suet. Peanut feeders that feature a mesh tube that is designed to hold peanut pieces are another way to attract this same group of birds. Nuthatches are known for grabbing a peanut at a platform feeder and immediately flying off. At a peanut feeder, the nuts are held in place so that they stay at the feeder much longer.
Now that you are an expert in selective bird feeding, you know exactly what to do when someone on your list wants a bird feeder for Christmas. Go to the Wildlife Garden and ask us for help! We’ll even wrap it.