Tuesday February 21, 2017

Woodpecker Feeder - SuccessTips

[Installing Your Feeder]  [How to keep Starlings out of suet]  [Starling Proof Feeder]

Check out our woodpecker feeder installation, filling, and maintenance tips!Here is everything you need to know about setting up and installing your woodpecker feeder from Woodpecker-Feeder.com.

We share tips on how to hang your feeder, where to hang your feeder, how to fill the feeder with suet, and how to maintain your woodpecker feeder.   We also cover a variety of things you want to know so you will have a successful and enjoyable woodpecker feeding experience!

Installing Your Feeder

Hanging Methods.  Your woodpecker feeder comes fully assembled and ready to hang.  You can use the supplied hook for use with a pole/hanging arm system, you can attach string, wire, or cable to the feeder for hanging, or you can mount the feeder on a pole.

If you hang your feeder from a tree branch, be sure to use a string, wire, or cable that allows the feeder to hang at least 5-7 feet from the tree trunk and 4-5 feet down from the branch.

The best hanging location is away from other feeders, suspended on a wire or cable.  This removes nearly all starling "launch points," except for the top of the feeder, itself.  You can add a dome or cone-shaped baffle to the top of your woodpecker feeder to keep starlings from launching off the top of the feeder.

Squirrel Baffles.  Since there are plenty of squirrel preventive solutions on the market, we have not made it part of the feeder itself.  However, the best squirrel baffle method we have seen is a cylindrical metal tube, mounted on a free-standing pole away from trees and other objects.  These are available for a 4x4 wooden post as well as for a smaller diameter metal pole.  If you use this type of baffle, be sure that the pole is 8-10 feet from the nearest tree branch, pole, or other structure that a squirrel could launch from.  Other baffles include plastic, curved domes over top of the feeder (good for hanging feeders) and metal cone baffles that can be attached to a post.

About Starlings.  Our feeder design will keep starlings out of your suet and deters all but the most persistent, intelligent, and creative starlings[DisclaimerWith our woodpecker feeder, there are no places on the sides of the feeder for them to hang and the food ports are sized and spaced such that starlings can usually do nothing more than briefly flutter in front of the feeder and stab at the food.  Since they don't get much food with each effort, after four or five attempts they move on to easier food options.  Should you encounter a smart starling who is hanging off the top of the feeder to reach the top-most feeding port, just don't fill that port and the starling usually leaves for easier food sources.  Also, it is possible that a starling will be able to hang on to the feeder for a variety of reasons, even so, the starling typically is not able to eat all of the suet.

Starling Proof?  Many of us are constantly looking for a suet feeder that is "starling proof" - we just want to keep starlings away from our suet!

Starling Proof Suet FeederHere is an example of a Squirrel and Starling Proof Feeder.  On the second day after we hung it, sparrows gained enough confidence to enter the feeder cage.  However, shortly thereafter, a starling landed on the feeder and then reached to make some stabs at the suet.  While it does seem to be "squirrel proof," it is no more "starling proof" than our Starling Stopper, Jr. Suet Feeder, it's less natural looking, and it costs $25-$30 and up.  There's a similar metal design at our local wild bird store are going for more than $40. It is square in shape and larger in width, keeping starlings from reaching in from the sides.  However, starlings can reach up from the bottom in that model and get a bit of suet.  While a purist would point out that this suet feeder is technically not starling proof, it is "starling proof" enough for most people.

Starling Stopper, Jr. Suet Log FeederYou may not be able to make your bird feeder site totally "starling-proof," but you certainly can make it highly "starling-resistant."  [Disclaimer]  We have found that, once you make a feeder totally "starling proof," you tend to make it too difficult or intimidating for the wild birds you really want to attract to get your feeder suet as well.  Part of the challenge is in what we say versus what we mean.  For us at Woodpecker-Feeder.com, "starling proof" is when the starlings can no longer wipe out our suet and our woodpeckers and other wild birds can get what they want.  We're fine with letting an occasional starling launch up from the ground and make a stab or two at the suet - as long as they can't hang on and wipe us out.  If you are fine with that definiton as well, you have come to the right place and we have the feeder for you - Starling Stopper, Jr.!

Alternate Food Sources. One way to keep squirrels and even starlings less interested in your woodpecker feeder is to give them an alternate food source.  We sprinkle corn kernels around the base of our feeder system for the squirrels and they also spend quite a bit of time foraging in the grass for seeds scattered by birds on the feeders.

You can also put out some inexpensive cake suet which may fulfill starling's suet needs and make them less inclined to investigate your woodpecker feeder.  We use a variety of suet delivery methods which keep starlings and other birds busy and those birds don't really give much thought to our woodpecker feeders.

In our backyard, we provide three different tube-type peanut feeders which the starlings really like.  Since it is impossible to totally keep the starlings away from the feeder area, we at least want them to work for their food and the peanut tube feeders make them work for everything they get.

Starling Baffles.  We have smart starlings and have actually been training them over Our woodpecker feeder under a durable plastic dome the years as we have been improving our design.  If you happen to have a very smart quick-learner starling, try a plastic dome over the feeder.  Wild Birds Unlimited sells a nice one made of heavy grade plastic.  (click photo for larger view)  It's a little more work for woodpeckers and other clinging birds, but they do figure out and grow comfortable with it.  Also, the plastic dome keeps most "weather" off of the feeder and the suet and feeder stay nice and dry.  The feeder retains it's new "look" much longer when protected from the weather.

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Tuesday February 21, 2017 04:28:21 PM