The birds in Charlotte are varied and beautiful. They add life and color to our backyards, and as a bonus, they eat insects and weed seeds. One way to attract birds is to set up a bird feeder with their favorite foods in your yard or on your balcony.
There are a wide variety of feeders available at local hardware stores and nurseries. Many will focus on a particular size or feeding habit, such as tube feeders for finches or other small birds or mealy worm feeders for bluebirds. If you are beginning to experiment with bird watching, or if you are watching your costs, consider a combination feeder which will hold both suet and seed to attract a variety of birds to your yard.
The Garden Treasures Suet and Seed Hopper feeder meets these requirements, and at about $12 per feeder, it doesn’t strain the budget. The feeder is made from lightweight plastic. It holds 5 pounds of seed plus two suet cakes, so it will need to be hung from a strong hook.
The instructions did not show where the lid to the hopper was located, but once found, it was easy to use. To fill the feeder with seed, lift the top section of the red “roof”. The lid is held in place by a plastic hinge and swings upward to expose a hole in the roof for refilling. The two suet cages on the end are open, which allowed the suet to be easily inserted into the baskets. However, a raccoon found it easy to remove the suet, and occassionally the suet would fall out in storms with high wind.
Because the feeder contained both seed and suet, it attracted a variety of birds. Cardinals, bluejays, woodpeckers, chickadees, sparrows, doves and many other types of birds were attracted to this feeder almost immediately. During the winter, the birds would line up on the deck railing and in nearby trees to wait their turn at the feeder. More than once, a bird was spotted sleeping on the ledge in apparent anticipation of its morning meal!
The feeder lasted for almost a year before the plastic hopper was accidentally broken by the homeowner. It stood up to a number of harsh storms, snow, and high winds. The lid snapped into place and kept the seed dry, preventing mildew from spoiling the seed in the feeder. The plastic was sturdy enough to withstand cold weather and held up to normal wear and tear. The seed flowed freely, but did not spill unless it was shaken by the bigger birds or animals trying to get to the seed.
The feeder was covered with several inches of snow more than once, but both the plastic roof and the metal hanger stood up well to the weight of the snow. The birds continued to eat while the feeder was covered with snow. The lightweight plastic will not hold up against heavy abuse, such as squirrels or other wild animals chewing on it to get to the seed.
If you enjoyed this article, become a subscriber! Just select the “Subscribe” icon near my picture. You will receive e-mail notifications of each article as they are posted. Be among the first to know of the upcoming gardening events in Charlotte!