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Wednesday, December 05, 2018

Squirrel and parakeet proof feeders

Squirrel and parakeet proof feeders

In Regent's Park we have several areas where hanging bird feeders have erected. The feeding station in the Cricket Pen area 31 is well used by a variety of typical parkland birds and offers good views to the public. We battled for many years to prevent firstly the grey squirrels and then in the 90's the parakeets from using them. The squirrels often damage the feeders and aren't a species you should encourage into a garden especially if you have hedge nesting birds. The parakeets tend to monopolise them and when not eating will sit close by, thus deterring other birds from using them. Over the years I have tried many feeders from various companies, some work, others have failed miserably. At the moment suppliers, well not that I am a ware of  haven't come up with a feeder that excludes these green pests but allows woodpeckers and Nuthatches to feed. I have adapted several feeders in recent years and now feel I have the perfect designs they may look a bit shabby then I haven't got access to the best materials and as long as the birds that I want to attract are happy the that suits me. The feeders you will see in the following photos were all purchased from https://www.birdfood.co.uk/.

Woodpecker feeders

1
The above feeder is a typical peanut feeder that has been enclosed inside a 4cm x 4cm square mesh wire cage that is a distance of 4cm from the feeder. This allows woodpeckers, nuthatches or tits to feed but excludes parakeets as they like to graze rather than peck.
  
2
This https://www.birdfood.co.uk/squirrel-buster-peanut-feeder.html is a feeder that closes it's feeding portholes when the weight of a squirrel or something large lands on it. I have stopped this from happening as the following pictures will show.


When you take the feeder apart to fill it there is a central column if you cover this with a length of narrow tubing approximate length shown in pic. This then stops the portholes from closing when something heavy lands on it making it more comfortable for the slightly weightier woodpecker lands on it.


The last steps to making this squirrel and parakeets proof is to cut  some small gauged mesh (I used a squirrel damaged peanut feeder) so that it sits as shown in photo. You will need to cut a 2cm x 2cm sq  to allow the birds to reach the peanuts inside. I divided this small square in half as I found that the parakeets would still try and feed from it. This stopped that, even if they were not actually getting the food but were trying their luck. Having the larger hole first enabled the woodpecker to get used to  feeding from it before the feeding hole was reduced. They may have found the food if the hole was smaller to start with, I didn't have enough mesh if things had gone wrong.
  
3
I have used the larger feeder as that is what we had at the time, the smaller https://www.birdfood.co.uk/adventurer-4-port-seed-feeder-with-guardian.html maybe more suitable as you do not have to close off the top two feeding holes. 


The aim of these slight changes is to stop the parakeets reaching in a eating the food. You need to cut a 10cm x 10cm piece of mesh and make sure that is secured so that the centre is in line with the feeding porthole (picture below has slightly to much extra mesh). You have to make sure that when filling the feeder the base of the guardian (cage) doesn't move around thus exposing the feed. 


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