A birdfeeder or bird feeder is a device placed out-of-doors, to supply seeds such as millet, sunflower seeds, safflowerseed, rapeseed, or canola seed to birds.
Hummingbird feeders, rather than dispensing seed, supply liquid nourishment to hummingbirds, in the form of a sweet mixture often coloured red to attract the birds. Oriole feeders also supply such artificial nectar, but are coloured orange instead, and designed to serve orioles which have a differently_shaped beak and tongue. Suet feeders are yet another type, typically a metal cagelike construction, with a plastic coating to keep birds' eyes and feet from freezing to it, and containing a cake or thin block of suet to feed woodpeckers, flickers, and sometimes nuthatches.
Bird feeders are a must for home birdwatching, and many people have webcams trained on their feeders, where birds often congregate.
Squirrels also help themselves to the contents of bird feeders, often not merely feeding, but carrying away the food to their hoard. This behavior can have the effect of creating a constant cat-and-mouse game as the squirrels thwart attempts to protect against the squirrels' 'raids'.
The 21st century has brought with it some clever advances in the defense of bird feeders against squirrels. The "squirrel-proof" claim can now be backed up by successful technology. Several manufacturers produce feeders with perches that collapse under the weight of anything heavier than a bird, or utilize battery power to either lightly shock an intruder or spin the perching area to fling him off.
Squirrel feeders have also been created, typically using a whole dried cob of corn, and often at the top of a rotating stick to add a bit of 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, it seemed as if the squirrels were able to quickly figure out how to get around it, and happily feast on the seed Ms. O'Donnell (also known as the "Queen of Nice") provided for the birds, to her great -- and public -- consternation.
While bird feeders are thought of 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 urban/suburban areas.
Bird Bath, Bird Feeding, Bird Watching, Conservation, Drought, Garden, Pesticide
- WBU birdfeeder cam (http://www.wbu.com/feedercam_home.htm)