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Bird feeder

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Bird feeder

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A pole hung bird feeder with a American Goldfinch.
A pole hung bird feeder with a American Goldfinch.
A hummingbird feeder.
A hummingbird feeder.
Bushtits on a suet feeder
Bushtits on a suet feeder

A birdfeeder, bird feeder, or bird table is a device placed out-of-doors to supply bird food to birds. The success of a birdfeeder in attracting birds depends on its placement and the kinds of seeds offered, as different species have different preferences.

The most familiar feeders supply seeds such as millet, sunflower, safflower, thistle (niger or nyjer), and rapeseed or canola seed, to seed-eating birds.

Hummingbird feeders, rather than dispensing seed, supply liquid nourishment to hummingbirds, in the form of a solution of 1 part sugar to 4 parts water. This mixture is often coloured red to attract the birds, but this is unnecessary and the food coloring may actually be detrimental to the birds' health [1].

Oriole feeders, which are traditionally colored orange, also supply such artificial nectar and are designed to serve New World orioles, which have a differently shaped beak and tongue. These orioles and some other birds will also come to fruit foods, such as grape jelly or half an orange on a peg.

A suet feeder is typically a metal cage-like construction with a plastic coating which contains a cake or block of suet to feed woodpeckers, flickers, nuthatches and many other species of insect eaters.

Bird feeders are a must for home birdwatching, and many people keep webcams trained on feeders where birds often congregate.

Squirrels may also help themselves to the contents of bird feeders, often not merely feeding, but carrying away the food to their hoard. There are various anti-squirrel devices available to thwart squirrels' attempts to raid bird feeders. Several manufacturers produce feeders with perches that collapse under the weight of anything heavier than a bird, or that use battery power to lightly shock an intruder or spin the perching area to fling it off.

Sometimes the placement of a squirrel feeder is the best way to keep squirrels away from bird feeders. Squirrel feeders typically offer a whole dried cob of corn, often at the top of a rotating stick to add a bit of amusement to the antics. The American talk-show host, Rosie O'Donnell had a well-known and longstanding 'feud' with what was apparently a band of "genius squirrels". No matter what she tried, the squirrels seemed to quickly figure out how to get around it.

While bird feeders are thought of by some as winter projects, urban and suburban areas can benefit from bird feeders year-round. The absence of plentiful food sources, as well as the increasingly toxic environment created by the use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers, can make the process of finding safe and plentiful food difficult for birds which find themselves in these areas.

See also

External links

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