I received a nice bird feeder as a gift. I have never used one before. Do you have any advice on where I should put my new feeder?
Justine of Whitesburg
There are a few people out there thinking, “What’s so hard about putting up a bird feeder?” But I am glad you asked. Feeder placement is more important than most people realize. Lots of things should be considered; some are for our benefit, others are more important for the birds.
If you are like me you think of your needs first, so place your feeder where you can see it. If you spend most of your time at the kitchen table, at your desk, or stretched out on the sofa listening to New Age music, then place your feeder where you can view it from those spots. Remember, we feed birds for our own pleasure. It is pretty silly to have a feeder that you never get to see. That would be like buying a home entertainment system without speakers or eating white chocolate – both are pointless.
Also, keep in mind that you will need to clean and fill this feeder regularly and often. Don’t put your feeder in some hard-to-reach place like the top of a tall tree. You should be able to pick up your feeder, dump out any old seeds, and refill it without using a ladder.
Another thing to consider when you put out your feeder is unwanted visitors – so find a place where squirrels, chipmunks, raccoons and possums can’t get to it. You are on your own on this one. There are a few things, and this is one of them, that we must learn for ourselves. Plus, there is not nearly enough space here to get into the topics of squirrel, chipmunk, raccoon and possum proofing a bird feeder.
Now I will move on to locations that are best for birds. Try to find a spot that meets all of the foregoing criteria and also provides cover and habitat. Birds need places to get out of the wind and to hide from hawks and avoid cats. Many people complain that they have fewer birds in the winter. Part of this loss is because their feeders are too exposed.
Next is a hard one: place your feeder in front of a window where you can see it but not where your rock-hard window can injure frightened or confused birds. Birds are often fooled by reflections they see in windows. If bird-window collisions become a problem – and even one collision is a problem – move your feeder a bit. Maybe that will give the birds a less hazardous view of your window.
If you make the right choices, bird feeding can be easy for you and safe for the birds. Feeding birds should be a fun pastime and not leave a bad taste in your mouth. Leave that job for the white chocolate.
Tate is a Carrollton resident and bird enthusiast.