Bird feeders and dangers

Folks, please abide by the forum guidelines. Please stay on topic, know when to leave things be and not have the last word, and please be respectful in tone.

This topic is about how to safely set up a bird feeder, it’s not about the ethics of cat ownership and letting one’s pet cat outdoors. I understand these are emotional topics (I’m lifelong a cat owner myself and have my own thoughts on it), but please keep things civil, respectful, and on-topic.


This is the way that I do it also teellbee…
I put a small amount of seed each day and usually put less than normal if it is raining or will rain that day.
I do as you suggested on my hummer feeders too…i only put enough for 1 or 2 days and wash the feeders every 3-4 days…and all of my feeders are hanging in front of or viewable from windows so that I can see if it begins to turn cloudy or runs out.

*:warning: One more tip to add about hummer feeders…never use the red dye or add dye, it causes serious health problems for the hummers…Google it to learn more about the damage it does.


I have seen lots of sources that says red dye kills hummingbirds, and a lot of other sources say that this is simply a myth. Does anyone know which is the truth?

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Studies show that the “red dye” in hot dogs causes cancer and other health issues BUT some sources like the manufactures or the companies that make the dye or their inside studies say that it does not.

Proven fact…studies show that glysophate (the chemical in Roundup, etc) causes cancer…BUT monsanto and the gov’t says it does not…russian roulette…the gun will go off eventually…

Back when I had seed feeders, I was privileged to see the occasional Cooper’s Hawk or such hanging on a fence by my patio. Believe me, I was thrilled to see them up close.

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I’m going to close this topic for a few hours. It’s been getting heated, even after Tony’s warning.
Please remember, there are people on the Forum who come from completely different places around the world, some of whom speak multiple languages of which the primary is not English, and of all generations from very young to quite old. Be kind to one another.


This topic was automatically opened after 4 hours.

I absolutely agree about this. I don’t often put out bird seed, as it seems to mostly support an unnaturally high squirrel population (which in turn harms birds when they predate their nests), but I find it interesting that the coneflowers, asters, and goldenrods near where I occasionally put up bird feeders usually attract a far greater diversity of birds than the feeders do. I’ve already seen goldfinches, redpolls, pine siskins, as well as all the usual birds outside my windows this year simply because I allow these plants to grow so close to the house; I do not need feeders to “attract” these species. I have never understood the people willing to spend hundreds (or thousands) of dollars on bird seed every winter, but won’t tolerate having a few “weeds” near their houses.

Additionally, since I have removed all of the seed producing oriental bittersweet on my land, I no longer see the huge flocks of starlings I used to at this time of year, and the number of sites where they nest here has declined to one. I did recently see a site in my town horribly overrun with oriental bittersweet, and feeding on it was a large flock of starlings and a few cowbirds. I’ve personally never observed any other species to feed on this plant’s fruit.


It won’t be a norm until something will be changed, cats are a problem as you state it. I talk with everyone about how it’s a bad thing and at least the sat my grandma has now will not be roaming free. There’s an alternative to teach your cat to use breast-band.

I have(-d) a feeder on my 1st floor window, I’m happy that place is hidden by sirynga bushes, so pigeons are rare visitors, mostly there’s a flock of tree and house sparrows (they like the spot without any additional food source), great tits, blue tits, unfortunately nothing more (others in the area get bullfunches, greenfinches, hawfinches, even long-tailed tits). Local urban feeders are almost entirely on the lowest branches of rowan trees, 1,5 m. from the ground or higher, but not higher than what an average person can get to. I have a project for that window but not many observations as I no longer live there.

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Hey all, since we all live in different parts of the world, there is no way we are going to solve the cat/bird problem in this thread. So i propose we just leave it be for now and limit discussion to things that make bird feeders safer for birds. (Though i agree, when people have control over their land, creating habitat is way better than feeders. But not everyone has that option)


You mentioned lactuca biennis and lactuca canadensis. Can you recommend other native seed plants that you had success with?

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I always thought of lactuca biennis as an interesting but sort of weedy plant. Now I want to try one. Does it grow well from seeds tossed onto bare soil? Seems like it would.

The San Francisco Bay Area is chock full of weedy introduced species, so that in order to find a native plant, one pretty much has to go specifically to a preserve. Yet seed eating birds thrive, because weed seeds are still nutritious for them. In the spring, when dandelions are flowering, I see Lesser Goldfinches eat the seeds out of the still-unopened heads, pinning the stem down with their feet to extract the seeds. This time of year, the Lesser Goldfinches seem to be almost always found in the dried up chicory stems.

Now, if your area still has a lot of native plants relative to weeds, then yes, concentrate on planting natives. But especially in urban or highly altered landscapes, where conditions may no longer be optimal for natives, I would not be entirely against going with what is, if the birds are using it.

They definitely do. Keep in mind, however, that they are remarkable for persisting in the apparent absence of disturbance for years; I routinely see them growing through hardwood leaf litter even. They can become somewhat weedy, but are not hard to control if they do. I can’t say the same about L. canadensis, which seems to require more disturbance to persist. I hope this helps.

I live along the SF bay and there are these stands of fennel that are extremely popular with migrating warblers goldfinches and bushtits, both for the seeds and insects

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So, my area is the Mid-Atlantic (South Central - Southeast PA - Northern DE). Some ones that seem to attract birds specifically to eat the seeds include:

  • Acalypha sp. (Mercury or copperleafs) - Annual weedy plants with large seeds that seem to attract and support Mourning doves. The main ones near me are A. rhomboidea (grows just about anywhere) and A. virginica (Slightly pickier, prefers part sun to light shade)
  • Wingstem (Verbesinia alternifolia) - Tall perennial with large seeds and good seed production, larger birds also like it.
  • Cutleaf coneflower (Rudbeckia laciniata) - Tall, thicket-forming perennial, goldfinches eat the seeds when still attached, other species when they fall.
  • Eupatoriae tribe plants, especially white snakeroot (Ageratina altissima) and Joe Pye weeds (Eutrochium) and others to a lesser degree - I’ve seen flocks of white-throated sparrows and dark-eyed juncos eating these off the ground in winter.
  • Ash trees (Yeah, I know they’re in trouble, but I’ve seen birds, including purple finch, eating seeds off the tree. I really hope these will survive, adapt, and bounce back from the emerald ash borer. There are still areas near me where green ash, the hardest-hit species in this area, are surviving to maturity, producing seed, and reproducing.)
  • Native asters, although it depends on the species. Some have tiny seeds, the larger ones are more likely to attract birds.

I’m sorry I created this post, given the mess that has been created.

I thought it would be interesting to give these bird conservation tips.

I state that I too have always had cats and I still love them very much today.

I find they are magnificent creatures.

However if you want to read these 2 articles…

I apologize again and … good evening


Mi dispiace aver creato questo post, visto il casino che si é creato.

Pensavo che sarebbe stato interessante dare questi consigli per la salvaguardia degli uccelli.

Premetto che anch’io ho sempre avuto dei gatti e gli voglio molto bene ancora oggi.

Trovo che siano delle magnifiche creature.

Comunque se volte leggere questi 2 articoli …

mi scuso nuovamente e … buona serata