Friday, June 5, 2015

Platform Feeders

Feeding Birds Off the Ground
Baltimore Orioles Feeding on Raised Feeder
 There are many benefits to feeding birds on raised platforms.  Shown above are a male and a female Baltimore Oriole with a female Red-winged Blackbird in the background.  The orioles are attracted to the oranges and the Red-wing is waiting to  feed on the black-oil sunflower seeds on the tray.  

Raised platform feeders keep the birds off the ground where they are vulnerable to  predators.  Cats can easily prey on them and they are more likely to be taken by hawks while on the ground.  Platform feeders keep the seed confined and reduce wastage if they are built with a lip around them.  One must, however, clean the trays periodically to prevent exposure to spoiled feed.

Crow Feeder with a Visitor
Shown above is our crow feeder.  It is about 1.5 metres off the ground with a heavy base so it will not tip over.  It has a 5 cm. lip around the edge so seed and other feed stuffs do not blow off in the wind.  This feeder was designed to feed table scraps to the crows.  I put out left-over meat scraps, stale bread, cakes, etc. as well as regular mixed bird seed.  It is very successful for feeding crows.  They wait daily for their breakfast!  Other visitors to this feeder include ravens, ring-billed gulls, grackles, red-winged blackbirds, cowbirds, mourning doves, blue jays and, of course, we get the occasional surprise, like this red fox which made a few visits.  

It took the crows quite awhile to learn to use the feeder, but once they realized they could trust us and this new 'apparatus', it has been a great success.  The reason I designed it in the beginning was because I wanted to give left-overs to the crows without putting them on the ground for dogs to get into.  Dogs have never raided this feeder.  They cannot get up to it and it was a surprise that the fox could jump up on it.

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