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Feeding Wild Birds... Bird Seed
Always consider native plants when providing food for the wild birds visiting your garden. Even when this isn't possible, providing bird feeders will still attract birds into your back yard.
Interestingly, even from an ecological perspective, wild birds can use feeders safely.
Studies have shown that their first choice is a natural food source. They visit feeders to supplement their natural diet.
Studies have also shown that birds do not prefer feeders over natural food supplies. Another myth is that bird migrations are delayed because of feeders.
The goal is to provide bird feeders that closely match the ways bird feed in the wild... You will discover that regardless of the species you want to attract to your bird garden, the feeders needed will be among these...
Tube Feeders. This is by far the most popular bird feeder. It's readily available and fairly inexpensive. Made of plastic (usually clear), the tube has many openings encouraging several birds to feed at once. Because these tubes hold different types of seeds, they easily accommodate a variety of bird diets.
Platform Feeders. Birds that naturally feed on the ground prefer these feeders over hanging feeders. In fact, many of them will not even visit a hanging feeder because it doesn't allow them to feed as they do in the wild.
Hopper Feeders. These feeders hold a large volume of seeds and have sides, a roof, and a small ledge on all sides that the seeds spill onto. The main difference between hopper feeders and tube or platform feeders is their huge storage capacity. Birds that visit both tube and platform feeders will also visit hopper feeders.
Sock Feeders. Fine mesh socks hold the tiniest of seeds, while larger mesh socks hold peanuts.
Non-Seed Feeders. You can also find feeders for those bird species that will not normally eat seeds. These feeders are usually platforms or nail spikes that hold these birds' preferred pieces of fruit and mealworms, grubs, or other insects.
The bottom line is that if you decide to add feeders to your bird garden, always consider the bird species you wish to attract, and then just match their natural feeding requirements as closely as possible.
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