How do you make your yard’s bird feeders a success with a wide variety of birds? If you’ve got more than one or two feeders, and have the space, consider spreading them out! Too many feeders right on top of each other, each appealing to different types of birds, creates congestion and increases conflict as species and personal spaces overlap.
This doesn’t mean that every feeder has to be its own remote island. If you instead think about feeder types and who is likely to visit each feeder, you can instead cluster the ones that make sense to be near each other and leave space in between the clusters that allow various species to eat relatively peacefully at the same time.
After spending many weeks trying to offer dried mealworms to Eastern Bluebirds, Carolina Wrens and other small birds without European Starlings eating most of them, I finally have a winner! I started with tossing some into platform feeders, then switched to a small Squirrel Buster Standard feeder that I tried to retrofit an endless number of ways to keep the starlings out. I finally gave in and purchased Erva’s Mealworm Feeder from Amazon, part of their “Starling Proof Feeder” series. (I couldn’t find this feeder locally.) After watching starlings repeatedly try and and fail to get into this feeder off and on for days now and only getting scraps around the edges, I am declaring it a success!
I’ve offered dried mealworms in my yard for a while now, but not in a big way. I would casually toss a small handful into the nearest brush pile each morning for the Carolina Wrens who seem to love them. Because I would gather the mealworms and peanuts in the same little basket to take outside each day, inevitably a few mealworms would wind up in the platform feeder with the peanuts and the Blue Jays would often snap them up after they’d cleaned out the peanuts . . . but then the Eastern Bluebirds appeared in the yard, and I got serious about the dried mealworms!