We have tried to compile a library of frequently asked questions and their respective answers.
- Wild Birds
Frequently Asked Questions
Protecting Birds FAQs
Bird Seed FAQs
Feeder Types FAQs
Answers to the Frequently Asked Questions Protecting Birds FAQs
Q: What can I do about the cat that keeps visiting my feeder?
A: If it is your neighbor's precious Fluffy, you may want to suggest that they tie a bell around the cat's neck to alert the birds when the cat is near.
If the cat is a stray cat, you may want to try live trapping. Check with your local Humane Society or Wildlife Management first. In some states it is illegal to relocate animals that have been live trapped.
Q: How do I discourage squirrels and raccoons?
A: Here are a few simple and effective suggestions for keeping the squirrels and raccoons off your feeder:
- When hanging your feeder from a tree branch, try and locate it at least twelve feet from any tree trunk or limb and at least four feet up from the ground. This will prevent squirrels from either jumping from the tree or up from the ground onto the feeder.
- When hanging the feeder off a line, make sure the length of line is at least 8' long with the feeder suspended at least four feet above the ground or snow. You should also use a very thin wire, such as piano wire, whenever you hang your feeder.
- If you choose to pole mount your feeder; make sure the pole is at least 5 1/2 feet in length. This will allow you to place the pole approximately one foot into the ground and still keep the bottom of the feeder four feet off the ground.
- You may also want to add a squirrel baffler. We recommend one that is at least 16" in diameter.
- Raccoons do not jump but they do climb. Try placing a 6" diameter stove pipe, at least 2' long, around the mounting pole.
Q: What can I do to prevent undesirable birds from using my feeder?
A: To discourage House Finches, remove the perches from your feeders.
For Blue Jays and large aggressive birds, use bird feeders with a wire mesh surrounding the seed reservoir that prohibits larger birds from flying through the mesh openings and eating the seed.
Blackbirds and Sparrows love cracked corn, refrain from offering the seed.
Do not put mixed seed in your feeder to prevent Doves and Sparrows from feeding.
Q: Will your squirrel repellents harm the birds in my yard?
A: Raccoon & Squirrel Repellents will not harm wild birds. Their main ingredient is usually capsaicin pepper which is annoying to squirrels and raccoons. Birds cannot smell it, therefore they will not be harmed.
Q: Do bird feeders attract mice or rats?
A: Loose seed can attract rodents. By keeping the area around the feeder as clean as possible, you can prevent mice and rats from coming around.
We recommend using a seed catcher to help keep loose seed from collecting around the base of the feeders. Also, you should keep bags of unused seed sealed in plastic bags or in cans with tight lids.
If you begin to have trouble with mice or rats, we suggest you visit our sister site, www.victorpest.com, for tips, traps, and other methods of controlling mice and rats.
Q: How can I stop birds from flying into my window?
A: The key is to make your windows less transparent. A few ideas would be to shut the blinds, pull the shade down, hanging a mobile or colored ribbon outside the window, place stickers on the window.
If the previous suggestions do not work, you may want to relocated the feeder to another place in your yard.
Bird Seed FAQs
Q: What are the most popular bird seeds to use?
A: Black Oil Sunflower Seed is the most popular bird seed. It is much smaller than the traditional sunflower seed. It is best for those birds with smaller bills, such as the sparrow, junco and goldfinch. It is accepted by the greatest variety of birds.
Mixed Seed is also popular. It is best to buy the mixes that contain white proso millet, a tiny cream colored seed with a shiny shell. Mixes containing finely cracked corn and black oil sunflower.
Niger (Thistle Seed) is imported from Africa and Asia. Niger won't germinate, however, it has a tendency to become moldy due to lack of air circulation. If you notice mold on the seed, it must be removed from the feeder and the feeder must be cleaned thoroughly.
Q: How do I prevent seeds from sprouting under my feeder?
A: You will need to sterilize your seed to prevent it from germinating. This will not alter the attractiveness or the nutritional value of the seed in any way.
Here are two methods:
Conventional Oven: Place the seed on a baking sheet and cook for 30 minutes at 300°F.
Microwave Oven: Place seed in a paper bag. Cook on high power for 5 minutes.
Q: The holes in the thistle feeder are awfully small. Will the birds be able to feed?
A: Believe it or not, they will be able to feed. The Niger/Thistle feeder is specially designed to only attract birds that will feed from thistle.
You can review our seed chart to find out what birds will be attracted to this feeder.
Q: Why does the seed in my feeder get moldy?
A: Mold is caused by a heavy rain, driving sleet or snow plugging the feeding ports and allowing water to dampen the seed. Always clean, dry and refill your feeders after heavy weather.
You may also want to try placing 1/4" of cat litter in the bottom of the feeder to absorb excess moisture.
Q: Birds at my feeder look sick, what should I do?
A: The best thing to do is to stop feeding the birds temporarily. Remove the feeders and throw out all of the seed. Thoroughly wash your feeders as suggested in Tips for a clean feeding station. Remove all debris from under your feeder. Do not touch the sick birds. Refill all of your feeders and resume feeding.
Q: How do I clean my bird feeders?
A: Before filling your feeder with fresh seed, it is recommended that the following precautions are taken:
- Remove all old seed.
- Soak feeder in a light water/bleach solution (9 parts H20 to 1 part bleach).
- Scrub feeder and allow to air dry.
- Rake and remove accumulated hulls and droppings from underneath the feeders.
- Spread mulch (bark or wood) under the feeder, replace mulch when soiled. To prevent mold growth, use weatherproof feeders when conditions are humid or wet.
- Thoroughly wash hands after handling and cleaning feeders.
Q: How do I clean my bird house?
A: Please see our bird feeding tips. There are cleaning instructions at the bottom of the page.
Feeder Types FAQs
Q: I own the Window Feeder. Lately it will not stick to the window. What can I do?
A: The first suggestion is to slightly moisten the cups. If you have already tried moistening the suction cups, we have a few other tips.
- Make sure the window surface is clean. If there's a smoky film on the glass, use a window cleaner to remove the film.
- Examine the edges of the suction cups to see if they are ragged. If they are, you may be able to use petroleum jelly to smooth out the edges.
If you are still having trouble, we recommend buying replacement suction cups.
Q: Will I find only finches at my finch feeder?
A: No. Pine Siskins, Redpolls, Mourning Doves, Juncos, Towhees, and Cowbirds are all attracted to thistle seed.
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