Bird feeder: can I avoid sparrows?


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Old 06-12-07, 09:57 AM
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Bird feeder: can I avoid sparrows?

Not sure if this is the best place for this, but I have put up a couple of bird feeders on my patio in the hope of attracting some chickadees and finches, which I've had before. Trouble is, once the sparrows find the feeder, they bully all the smaller (and cuter) birds away. Not to be a bird-discriminater, but the sparrows are nasty (my wife calls them "sky rats").
I use two of the simplest, cheapest tube feeders: one with thistle seeds and one with black sunflower seeds. Actually, the sunflower seed feeder is out of commission currently, as squirrels (I believe) somehow wrestled it to the ground by chewing through the plastic loop hanging apparatus. Is there a feeder out there that the little birds can use but that keeps out the sparrows?
In years past, I've had cardinals and other song birds at the feeders, with morning doves on the ground below. Now I have nothing but sparrows, with squirrels and chipmunks below (making a mess of my mulch).
 
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Old 06-13-07, 10:31 AM
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Forgive me but this might sound like a dumb answer, how about some new bird feeders with smaller holes?
 
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Old 06-13-07, 10:32 AM
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not a dumb answer, but it would be more useful if you were recommending a PARTICULAR type of feeder, as the thistle seed feeder I have has pretty tiny holes as it is.
 
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Old 06-13-07, 03:17 PM
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If you have squirrels, they run off the birds, eat the seed, and eventually eat the feeder. You can purchase squirrel proof feeders. Or, you can squirrel proof the pole. Chipmunks, rats, and mice can become a problem, especially if you purchase mixed seed. Birds kick out the undesirable seed and it lands on the ground for others to eat. Seed and feeder selection can eliminate sparrows, crows, and other undesirable birds.

Small tubular feeders with small perches on which larger birds can not land helps keep the larger birds away. Some remove perches to eliminate unwanted birds. Provide a squirrel feeder elsewhere in the landscape to keep squirrels away from bird feeder. Also, place feeders 5-6' off the ground and at least 10' away from trees or structure from which squirrels can jump. You can install a baffle on the feeder pole or keep it greased with vaseline. You can sprinkle bird seed with lots of cayenne pepper. Birds can't taste it, but squirrels can. Fill feeder with safflower seeds, which squirrels do not like, rather than sunflower seeds.

Sparrow-free feeders? See this link: http://www.alwaysbrilliant.com/aa/aspx-products/1-953/2-54764/3-1/bb/sparrow-free_feeders,attract_songbirds_--_shoo_away_sparrows.htm?

Sparrows can take over a feeder and create a mess. Avoid cracked corn and seed mixes, especially those that contain millet.
 
 

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