Please send your
questions regarding feeders and feed to
We'll answer as many as we can and post selected
What is the best seed to feed?
depends on the species. Finches are especially fond
of Nyjer® and cardinals are partial to
safflower. Black-oil sunflower, however, is
probably the best all-around single
Which is better, a hopper feeder or a tube
A. One is
not necessarily better than the other. Hopper
feeders, because of their ease of access to the
seed, tend to attract a larger variety of birds, at
least in my backyard. This sometimes include
grackles, which can wipe out a supply of seed in a
hurry. Tube feeders tend to discourage larger
species. If grackles are a problem try using a tube
feeder, maybe even shortening the perch. This will
often leave the tube feeder available for finches,
nuthatches and other smaller species.
Davis, better known as the "The Wild Bird
Lady", is a member of the board of
directors of the National Bird-Feeding
Society. The National
is dedicated to providing information on
the care and feeding of wild birds as well
as information on creating bird-friendly
Carla and her expert friends for providing
answers to the many questions
How do I control the squirrels? They are eating me
out of house and home.
A. This can
be one of the biggest challenges those that feed
birds will face. Squirrels are clever, strong and
aggressive at trying to reach a nice supply of
feeder 8 feet from the nearest tree or launch point
will stop the attacks from the side and
If your feeder is
pole mounted you can install a commercial barrier
that will prevent the squirrels from reaching the
There are also
barriers that can be installed above feeders that
have been hung from a tree limb.
Some tube feeders
are available with a wire screen to protect the
feeder ports. The mesh size is large enough for the
birds to pass through but too small for the
Other feeders have
a system that uses the weight of the squirrel to
close down the feeding station when a squirrel
lands on the feeder.
squirrels seem to be able to defeat almost any
system. You might have your best luck by taking the
tact that if you can't beat them, enjoy them.
Offering corn at a feeding station away from the
bird feeders will often keep them well feed and
away from the bird feeders.
How do I keep house sparrows and starlings from
eating all of the sunflower seed?
offering other food sources. Suet is very popular
with woodpeckers, nuthatches, wrens and many other
species. House sparrows are not as attracted to
suet as many other species.
sometimes try to take over a suet feeder. If this
happens there are several brands of upside down
suet feeders. The starlings will struggle to use
the upside down feeder but nuthatches, chickadees
and others will not find this a problem at
in a seed sock does a good job of attracting
goldfinches but pretty well eliminates starlings
and house sparrows.