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!
Early spring brings European Starlings to the yard and they are tenacious about sticking around to eat as much seed, suet and mealworms as they can get from feeders. They are also very messy eaters, often sweeping a lot of seed out of platform and hopper feeders onto the ground. This year I put my hanging hopper feeder away temporarily because they kept dumping the seed onto the ground for the squirrels to eat . . . BUT, this past week I had a brainstorm that I think has stopped the dumping.