A hopper bird feeder begins with a platform. The platform, or bed of the feeder allows birds to perch on side bars while feeding. Walls are added with at least one being made of a see-through material such as glass or Plexiglas so that the feed level can be easily monitored. Then, the assembly is capped with a roof.
The hopper bird feeder protects the
gravity-fed seed from weather while overhanging eves of its roof help shelter
wild birds from falling rain and snow.
Check the feed periodically to assure the drainage is keeping the seed
dry and mold does not appear.
Hopper feeders are attractive to most
feeder bird species and they feel more protected than with open platform bird
feeder designs. Some hoppers will
discourage certain birds. Designs with
generous eves that have perches placed so smaller birds are comfortable
reaching into the bin for seed may not be easy for larger birds to negotiate.
While a hopper feeder may block some
other animals from eating the bird seed, the usual suspects, squirrels, will
still try and often succeed. To help limit
squirrel access to bird feed, the use of one or more obstacles are often helpful. Baffles below the feeders and/or domes above
the feeders eliminate access by squirrels while often providing amusing views
of their antics.
Adjustable perching mechanisms allow
birds to eat but close off feeder port access under the weight of squirrels as
well as larger birds.
Cleaning hopper feeders is a little more difficult than spraying out a platform feeder with the garden hose. And in harsh winter climates, washing feeders out of doors is not possible. You may wish to have an extra feeder on hand so that in winter you can wash one feeder indoors and allow time for it to dry thoroughly while the extra one continues to make bird feed available.
Generally made to be hung, a hopper bird
feeder can also be mounted on poles or deck rails. Their designs run the gamut from simple and
practical to whimsical reflections of castles, barns, teapots and
churches. They add a decorator touch to
your garden, deck or patio.
Place your hopper bird feeder in or near
a tree and close to bushes and bird baths.
This provides birds with a water source and perches from which to
approach the hopper and to which to flee if they feel unsafe.
To help prevent wild birds from hurting themselves by flying into windows, place your hopper feeders a distance of either less than 4 feet or more than 10 feet away. The distance between 4 feet and 10 feet from a window is known as the "strike zone". When birds are only a few feet from a window, they can't get up enough speed to strike a window with enough force to incur serious injury. When they are longer distances away, they have enough room to maneuver away from danger.
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