bird feed

Several quail eggs.Image via Wikipedia

Platform Bird Feeders - They Get The Birds Coming In

A number of people have mentioned to us that they have had a bird feeder up for awhile and have had no birds at it. Our first question to them is "Do the birds know the food is there?" We generally recommend that new birders use a platform type bird feeder to begin with. A platform feeder is simply a flat feeder on which bird seed is spread.

So, What kinds of birds come to a platform feeder? Almost any seed eating bird that sees it will come in. In addition, there are birds which I call scratchers. Scratchers are birds like juncos, towhees, quails, thrashers, White-crowned Sparrows and others who normally feed by scratching in the leaves or on the ground to find their seeds. These species are the easiest to attract with type of bird feeder because these feeders accommodate the scratching instinct of these birds and gives them a much more comfortable feeding environment.

There are several types of platform bird feeders including pole mounted platform feeders which can usually also be mounted on deck railings or flat tree stumps, hanging tray platform bird feeders and window mounted platform feeders. Our favorite is a pole mounted platform feeder made out of recycled poly lumber. When it comes time to clean this feeder, I simply brush off the loose seed, spray it with a 10% bleach solution, spray it down with the hose to rinse it off and when it dries I refill it with seed. These recycled material feeders are available in pole mounted, hanging tray or window mounted platform feeders.

The advantages of platform type bird feeders are many.

1. They easily show any bird flying over that seed is available to them.

2. Many birds may be too timid or cautious to venture under the roof of some bird feeders in the beginning.

3. They accommodate the feeding instincts of the scratchers.

4. By raising the feed up off the ground you will not attract rodents which come into seed spread on the ground.

5. Platform feeders may be used under hopper or tube feeders to catch seeds that may be spilled by the birds or to catch seed hulls, providing for a cleaner bird feeding area.

6. Most platform bird feeders fit in well with our easy to clean and easy to fill philosophy.

There are several important considerations to think about when purchasing one of these feeders. These include:

1. The feeder should have short sides to keep the bird seed or hulls from blowing out in the wind.

2. Your feeder should be able to drain in the rain. Bird seed can get moldy quickly when wet and moldy seed is not healthy for birds.

3. The bottom of the feeder should be removable for easy cleaning.

4. It is important to know that the feeder may be mounted where you will be able to see it and enjoy the birds it draws in. With the selection listed previously, there should be a platform bird feeder appropriate for any yard.

Platform bird feeders make a nice starter bird feeder or wonderful addition to an established bird feeding station. They can help you develop a backyard bird habitat that you can be proud of and that will attract many different species of birds.

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