Selective Bird Feeding

Bird enthusiasts everywhere enjoy the rewards of bird feeding. Many of us, though, have struggled with the difficult task of choosing which birds we feed. Whether you're concerned about the cost of feeding too many birds or you simply like to watch some more than others, you've undoubtedly considered ways to reduce the number or type of birds that you feed. The birding industry has solutions to help with this tricky, often frustrating task.

One of the easiest and simplest methods of "weeding out" the birds that visit our feeders is through exclusion, or physically preventing certain birds from feeding. Caged bird feeders work to provide a safe haven for small birds while preventing larger birds from feeding. The cage surrounding the feeder features holes just large enough for smaller birds to pass through, but restricts the larger birds. Depending upon the size of the mesh, this type of feeder prevents birds such as crows, blackbirds, mockingbirds, and jays from accessing seed. Unfortunately, caged feeders do restrict some larger birds that people find desirable such as cardinals. Other specialty bird feeders work by selecting only a certain group of birds or type of feed to limit the number of visitors. Upside down feeders only allow certain clinging birds like woodpeckers and finches to access the food. The size of the entrance hole on a mealworm feeder dictates what birds may enter it. Other specialty feeders include suet, fruit, nectar, and thistle feeders that all work to limit birds using specific foods.

Offer certain species-specific feed to discourage particular types of bird. If you love songbirds but dislike grackles and blackbirds, begin filling your tube feeders with safflower seed. Most grackles and "pest birds" will not choose safflower over other more readily available food and will stop visiting your feeder. Cardinals are not usually affected by the switch and will continue to visit. Suet is a great alternative to seed, and by using different flavors, you can select for smaller groups of birds. Robins and waxwings will not frequent traditional feeders, but will gladly accept mealworms on a platform feeder. Although you will be more likely to see robins and waxwings, you will also see many unwanted birds visiting a platform feeder. Nectar feeders will attract hummingbirds and orioles into the yard, while fruit feeders draw orioles and woodpeckers.

Set up multiple feeding zones in your yard if you wish to attract a variety of birds but still feed selectively. Hang or post specialty feeders or different types of feed in separate areas to create independent feeding zones. Each zone will draw its own types of birds so that you may view a myriad of birds with limited competition. Add log and wire suet feeders to your tree or feeder post in one section, and place tube feeders in another area. Fill the tube feeder with safflower, and add a caged feeder nearby. Place a mealworm feeder in a third location, followed by a thistle feeder without perches for clinging birds. Finish the zones by adding a water source in each section. Use any combination of feeders and baths to create an active, dynamic birding sanctuary with the widest variety of birds.

By using specific feeders, different types of feed, and utilizing different sections of your yard, you can easily begin selective bird feeding. BestNest carries a complete line of bird feeders and feed, for all your selective bird feeding needs. Please visit our Wild Bird Department to view our exciting products. For more personal assistance, call our customer service line toll free at 877-562-1818 from 9 AM to 5 PM Eastern Standard Time Monday through Friday.