A suspenseful percussion announces the peak of dawn as a Red-Headed Woodpecker drums rapidly on hollow pinewood. “Tchur-tchur!” he cries as he dives like a wave onto a double suet feeder mounted on a fence. Like a sword, his bill sinks into the gooey, peanut-butter flavored suet cake that emits a tantalizing aroma. “Cheer, cheer, cheer – birdie, birdie!” sings a scarlet red Northern Cardinal as she spots her reflection on a mirror/window bird feeder storing black oil sunflower seeds. “Tee-yee, ti chi chi!” whistles an American Goldfinch perching on a screen-enclosed hanging tube feeder as three Black-capped Chickadees rocking on a clear eight-port tube feeder chime in “Fee-bee!” Amidst an array of bird feeders, a backyard symphony comes alive.
Bird Feeder Types
• Description: a metal cage with one or two tail slots and suet cake slots. It is designed to be vertically mounted six feet from the ground. An example is Redwood Double Suet Feeder for Woodpeckers by Heath Outdoor Products that features a double cage in front and back, a redwood frame, and a shingle roof.
• Food: suet cake of various flavors (peanut butter, fruit, sunflower, hot pepper, pure suet). It is very oily and serves as a high energy food source. The average size of a suet cake is 5 ¼ inches x 7 inches x 5 ¼ inches.
• Visitors: Woodpeckers, cardinals, chickadees, bluebirds.
• Description: a rectangular or dome-shape feeder with a window-like frame, roof, and tray that reflects a bird’s image. An example is Duncraft Cardinal Mirror.
• Food: mixed, sunflower, and safflower seeds.
• Visitors: cardinals.
Tube Feeder: Clear Plastic or Screen
• Description: a hanging, clear plastic tube feeder ranging in size from 12 inches to 23 inches. A 23-inch tube feeder often has eight feeding ports with one-inch diameters. A hanging, screen-enclosed feeder is for thistle seeds. An example is Woodlink Coppertop Thistle Screen Feeder that has a metal hook for hanging, a steel roof, and a tray with drainage holes.
• Food: mixed seeds for clear plastic tubes; Nyjer/thistle seeds (narrow black seeds) for screen-enclosed feeders.
• Visitors: chickadees, sparrows (clear plastic); finches (screen-enclosed).
• Description: wooden roof and tray that frame a clear plastic body. A gazebo with a narrow, clear container provides adequate room for larger birds to perch; a gazebo with a wide, clear container is designed for smaller birds. It holds between 10-15 lbs of food.
• Food: mixed seeds.
• Visitors: sparrows, cardinals…
Platform Feeder with Pole/Mounted Hopper
• Description: sturdy, wooden-framed feeder that is pole-mounted liked a mailbox. It resembles an open shed; some are hung.
• Food: Mixed seed, millet, acorns, and peanuts.
• Visitors: small to large birds (chickadees, doves, cardinals, blue jays…).
• Description: shaped like tubes, hour glasses, wishing wells, covered pans, or jewels. An example is Perky Pet The Grand Master Hummingbird Feeder that is a 16”x 12”x24” tubular feeder of 48-oz nectar capacity. It is designed with six flower-shaped feeder ports at the base. It must be cleaned at least once a week and should be hung in shaded areas.
• Food: nectar.
• Visitors: hummingbirds.
A basic concept to remember is that songbirds such as sparrows and cardinals utter chip notes – short, shrill chirps – to announce the presence of food. A wide selection of handcrafted, manufactured, and recycled bird feeders are available to suit one’s preference. These various feeders will make backyards beautiful sounding and looking.