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#1 mikeylach

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Posted 26 June 2012 - 10:00 PM

I want to get a new bird feeder that the sparrows cant knock the seed off the bird feeder. I use Safflower seed and is quite expensive for me to fill every other day. Does anyone know of a feeder that would make it hard for the sparrows to knock the seed out, and still keep the cardinals, purple finches and chickadees around?

#2 cwj2323

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 01:01 AM

I am not sure there is any feeder that can keep the seed from being knocked out. We use Safflower as well and many ground eating birds will eat the fallen seed. When a bird is zealous looking for its favorite seed, we've had seed get flung out of the platform feeder and this has steep sides.

I hope I can explain this. The biggest loss of seed comes from our hopper feeder. It is on top of a metal pole. To limit the amount of seed falling to the ground, my husband used a sizable piece of board, drilled a hole in it and it rests under the hopper to catch the majority of the seed. Some still falls, but not like it did. And the Mourning Doves learned they have a bigger area to rest on. Thus far all we had were House Finches going to the hopper, so it was nice to see another species.

I hunted through my files and I do not have a photo of it. If you want to see this, I can post a picture the next time I log in. Probably tomorrow.

What type of feeder do you use currently? Is it on a pole or does it hang?

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#3 mikeylach

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 01:43 AM

Thx for the info. Here is a pic of the feeder i'm using now.

Posted Image


Here is a pic of a feeder that might work a little better, but not sure if cardinals would like it. http://www.amazon.co...c/dp/B000HHHEF0
Posted Image

#4 cwj2323

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 02:09 PM

It is possible Cardinals would use that, but I am not sure they would. I am just basing this on the behaviour I've seen. They've never gone to our tube feeders, even the monster sized one we have.

Have you considered a platform feeder? This is where we have gotten the most variety of birds, including Cardinals. Here's a photo so you can get an idea of how deep ours is. The birds either hop in, or bend down to eat. The children put this together and I like it because I can put things like suet and peanuts in it, along with the seed during the winter months. Sorry about the text, I had a guessing game on my blog.
Posted Image

I did find something that you might be able to use with your current feeder.
http://www.duncraft.com/index/page/product/product_id/757/product_name/30%22+Seed+Hoop
It's similar to the concept I tried explaining in my first reply, something under the feeder to catch the seed. We have terrible winds here that have destroyed many bird feeders, so we use things that are built pretty tough. I could see this being ripped right off any feeder here. I imagine you are pretty sheltered, looking like you live in-town. Do you have squirrels? I wonder if their weight would break this.

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#5 alkemist

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 02:40 PM

I've had similar problems with the OP open type tray style feeder. The house sparrows will just park them selves and toss everything to the ground. They are very messy birds. I use it on occasion during winter now and don't fill it all the way up. I switched out to tube feeders and they don't cause as much of a mess of lost seed but I have an army of ground feeders that promptly cleans any fallen seed. I can see though, you have safflower and it's costly to waste in such manner. I've only had the squirrel proof weighted hopper system but their feed ports are confined meaning that it's much harder for a bird to stick their head in it and flick seed out.

Though like mentioned above, a catcher of sorts is probably your best bet if you want to keep that style of feeder. It will require maintenance though, as it will catch seed shells too. My cardinals never used tube feeders.

#6 spyonabird

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 02:59 PM

We built a platform feeder and so far it is working. We were having trouble with the mockingbirds tossing seed from our hopper feeder. They were looking for something better than the safflower. At least now - when they toss seeds - it stays on the platform. This feeder is 18 x 18 and about 2 ft off the ground.


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#7 cwj2323

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 04:25 PM

Spyonabird,
What is the flooring of your platform feeder? Is that a type of mat? Ours is just wood.

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#8 spyonabird

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 05:21 PM

we used a non-metal screen like material. It allows the water to drain. Also - this is made from plastic lumber. 100% HDPE and is fully recycled material. There is a screw in the middle where it attaches to the center post. We can remove the platform to clean it. Here is a better view without that BlueJay getting in the way. :P

Posted Image

hmmm....maybe we should sell these too!
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#9 mikeylach

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 06:04 PM

Thanks everyone for the tips, much appreciated. I found this mesh terrarium cover in my garage. decided to use this smaller base bird feeder and tied the cover on to it. so far the chickadees dont mind, but the purple finches are a little hesitant. ill give it a few days and if it doesent work i will probably just go with a platform feeder. We do have squirrels here, but they dont like the safflower seed so it shouldent be a issue. I'll keep everyone updated. Thanks again!!

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#10 dklucius

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 06:48 PM

this is a metal mesh bag with a metal bottom and a ring around bottom for perch or the birds also cling to the mesh. also has metal roof over it. took a few weeks for some of the birds to get used to it but they don't scatter much because they have to peck each seed out seperatly i use safflower or hulled sunflower or boss in it. and the grosbeaks and finches and siskins all like it. it came from a local bird supply store as a gift so i don't know much about price or available.Posted Image

#11 alkemist

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Posted 28 June 2012 - 11:24 PM

You guys must be lucky not to get grackles or starlings. I've had to switch to different feeders so they don't ravage all my food. I'd love to have open feeders and platforms again. I'd be even happy to put my tube feeders back out!

#12 fisherman1313

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Posted 29 June 2012 - 12:16 AM

MikeyLach; I have a suggestion concerning your feeder. It appears you are using fishing line to support the base, I would replace that with something more visible. I used fishing line to support the end of a perch in my aviary when I used to breed finches and I lost a few because they could not see the line and flew into it. I replaced the line with small diameter chain and had no more problems.

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#13 mikeylach

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Posted 29 June 2012 - 04:38 AM

good tip Fisherman1313. I din't have any chain so i took some blue yarn and wraped it up the string. they should be able to see it now.

#14 DianeD

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Posted 29 June 2012 - 05:13 AM

MikeyLach- I have the Squirrel Buster like you put in your second post. The birds throw all sorts of seeds off it all the time. The mourning doves, towhees, finches, sparrows (and squirrels) pick through what's on the ground. The purple finches when I saw them were on the ground (or I should say - when I recognized them).


It does keep the squirrels from getting in, though when they jump on it, and jump off, it swings and spins and flings seed all around.

Thanks everyone for those platform versions. I see a garage building project in my future.

#15 cwj2323

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Posted 02 July 2012 - 02:38 PM

You guys must be lucky not to get grackles or starlings. I've had to switch to different feeders so they don't ravage all my food. I'd love to have open feeders and platforms again. I'd be even happy to put my tube feeders back out!


Funny you mention that, within days of my first comment on this post, we had a grackle invasion. :( Today, I didn't put out anything except the oranges for the Orioles, berries for the Robins, and safflower into the hopper. Oh, I felt bad for the Chipping sparrows a bit ago, so threw out a handful of millet. The grackles will leave, it's just waiting for that point.

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#16 threeofhardts

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Posted 03 July 2012 - 04:15 PM

The number of grackles has decreased quite a bit in my backyard. I'm not sorry to see them go...they were eating me out of house and home. :)

I lose a lot of seed off the feeders when the Bluejays visit. They'll sit there and toss the undesired seeds left and right til they find what they want. But there are lots of ground feeders who seem to appreciate the fallen seed, including chipmunks.

I'd rather be birding.


#17 triciav83

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Posted 03 July 2012 - 04:19 PM

I've had Cardinals at the tube feeder, but I think my favorite was the Golden-fronted Woodpecker on the tube feeder. Generally the Cardinals don't eat from the tube feeder if they have a choice. They prefer to eat whatever has been tossed by the House Sparrows, House FInches, and White-winged Doves. Once those Doves figured out how to eat from the tube feeder, I knew I was going to be going through seed like nothing. I buy the Audubon brand from Costco now and I get a pretty decent variety of birds for the part of town I live in. The Grackles don't eat from the feeders (thankfully!), they normally just steal dog food. :/
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