Know Your Bird Feeders; Part 2


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In my last article, I mentioned the popularity of tube feeders and what to look for.

Other feeders like hoppers and platform feeders serve a purpose and need as well. Today I will discuss platforms and what to look for in a quality platform feeder.

A platform feeder is self describing. It is a platform made of wood or screening with four sides about two inches high. Platforms usually sit on four legs or some are hung by a cord or metal chain.

Platform feeders serve a purpose and can attract the greatest variety of birds and other wildlife. Squirrels, deer, chipmunks, rabbits and mice find grazing on your birdseed as easy pickings and will continue to return.

Platform feeders are open to the elements where seed can get wet and buried in the snow.

Platforms require more frequent cleaning as seed can sprout and mold quicker. Not to mention that birds will hop around in the seed, often leaving a calling card. Others birds hop in and peck around, eating seed and other birds droppings.

To many sickness and diseases are passed this way, that is the main reason for keeping a platform feeder clean.

I personally put less birdseed out and clean it every other day

What to look for when you are ready to purchase or build a platform feeder.

Look for durability. Is the feeder made of recycled plastic? If it is wood, is it made of cedar or redwood. Anything less wont do. Recycled plastics will last a life time. Redwood and cedar have their own anti bug and anti rot chemicals built in so they too should last for years and years if taken care of properly.

Look for or build with these quality products and make sure it is held together with stainless steel or zinc coated screws. Regular screws will rust away and staples will pull out leaving your feeder a crumbled mess.

Are you planning on hanging your platform feeder? Make sure it has a stainless steel or powder coated chain. Cords will rot and can be chewed off.

Most important of all, is a screened bottom. Anything less will not do. My platform has a removable screen. A screen I can slide in and out. A screened bottom allows for drainage after a rain. It also allows me to remove it to scrub and sanitize as often as needed. Cleanliness is important.

Are you going to paint or stain your platform feeder? If you chose to do so, be sure to use a water base paint or stain. Oils can penetrate birdseed or rub off onto feathers and brought back to nests.

Birds and small wildlife are more susceptible to predators when feeding from a platform feeder. Placement of all your feeders should be close to protection. Place feeders near your trees and shrubs for protection, yet in a place where they are easy to get at and enjoy.

Always use a quality feed for your birds.

To sum it all up. You want a platform built to last and with a screened bottom or platform. Taking that extra time or dollars to buy or make your platform feeder is worth it in the long run.

Ron Patterson has been feeding and caring for wildbirds for more then 40 years. His experience of caring for birds and owning his own wild bird specialty store prompted him to become a Michigan Certified Nurseryman. As a nurseryman, he know what and where to plant to attract more birds to your yard. As one of America's backyard birding experts, Ron has a weekly newsletter called “Backyard Birding Tips" you can find Ron at Email


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