Winter is right around the corner and those birds that stay in Montana will be really happy if you are putting out bird feeders for them. With so much cold and deep snow, it’s hard for birds to find enough food to keep them all winter. So, drag out your feeders, or head down to the hardware store and buy some for your feathered friends.
Birds will be attracted to different kinds of feeders. The best feeders are sturdy, weather and squirrel resistant, tight enough to keep seeds dry, and easy to keep clean.
Tray feeders attract the widest variety of seed-eating birds like starlings, house sparrows, grosbeaks and native sparrows. The best tray feeders have a screened bottom to promote drainage and cover or roof to keep the seeds dry as wet seed can mold and harbor bacteria.
If tray feeders are placed near the ground you will attract ground feeding birds like juncos, doves, jays, blackbirds, and sparrows. However, feeders near the ground are easily available to other critters.
Hopper or House Feeders
Other birds like finches, jays, cardinals, grosbeaks, and chickadees like the hopper or house feeder. This feeder usually looks like a house with glass side walls. It protects the seed well, and as the seed in the bottom tray is eaten, more seed fills the tray.
Tube feeders come in different configurations. The plastic ones have perches on the outside of the tube with a feeding port for the birds to get to the seed. If the feeding ports are small, it will attract small birds and larger ports will attract larger birds. Another kind is a mesh cylinder that may not have perches, and attracts birds that will cling to the mesh and peck at seeds through the mesh.
Perches may be placed above the feeding port to discourage birds that cannot feed upside down. With tube feeders, it’s best to keep them small and thoroughly clean them to avoid disease.