strange bird behaviour at the feeder

ianna(Z5b)August 4, 2010

Like any wildlife lover, I have 2 bird feeders in the backyard. The feeders are cheap types - plastic tubes with plastic perches crisscrossed in several places through the tubes. This afternoon I discoverd the perches were cut off clean so that all which remains of it are those stuck in the tubes. On close inspection of the cut off pieces, it looks like a bird or birds nipped off the perches -- but why? I don't know where to post this question or which website to consult over this rather odd behaviour. I provide food for finches - but the feeders have been visited by black birds and by a small woodpecker. I can't imagine those finches capable of cutting hard plastic perches in half and think it's the black birds. These are not the work of a naughty squirrel either because squirrels have damaged my feeders before and I've taken steps to prevent repeat.

So any thoughts ideas where I can post the question. I must say I am rather amused and yet perplexed. Now the birds cannot eat the seeds - not even the black birds.

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natal(Louisiana 8b)

Are you sure it wasn't a squirrel? They're unbelievably cunning!

    Bookmark   August 4, 2010 at 7:57PM
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The feeders are hanging on a couple of sheppherd's hooks -- they've never been able to get up that skinny pole. In a previous attack by squirrels those feeders tubes were ripped off the hooks and they gnawed large holes in the tubes. These newer feeders have no such gnaw marks. The only thing affected are the perches and the marks look more like they were made by beaks rather than teeth.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2010 at 8:17PM
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hosenemesis(SoCal Sunset 19 USDA 8b)

Rats gnaw ours off. We had to put cat-food-can tops into the bottoms of the feeders too- rats were gnawing through the plastic base as well as the perches.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2010 at 1:19AM
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not rats in this case. Definitely birds did this. I hate having to get a more expensive bird feeder but it seems that's what I'll need to do.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2010 at 11:08AM
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Well, I can't help you with what (or who!) caused it, but I can tell you the same thing happened to me. I went through about three of those feeders before I finally gave up and switched to another kind. In the end, it was the squirrels who got to mine.

Now, I'm not arguing that it is a squirrel in your case, but FYI - after a whole summer of the squirrels not being able to climb the skinny pole my feeder sits on, I went out yesterday and what do I see, but a squirrel sitting on top of the feeder happily munching away. I put the squirrel baffle back up and that stopped him. (Then I threw out some peanuts for him. haha. I'm a sucker.)

    Bookmark   August 6, 2010 at 4:39PM
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natal(Louisiana 8b)

Scully, ask Santa for one of these.

Yankee Flipper

    Bookmark   August 6, 2010 at 7:10PM
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hosenemesis(SoCal Sunset 19 USDA 8b)

Ha ha ha! Take THAT! you nasty squirrel!

    Bookmark   August 7, 2010 at 12:29AM
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haha... that's funny. I like it sooo much better than the ones that shut the feeding holes. Don't ever buy that kind! I have read quite a large number of complaints from people saying birds have been decapitated by them. This one looks harmless.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2010 at 12:58AM
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midnightsmum (Z4, ON)

Ianna - I'm just letting my mind wander here, but: you say they came off clean - how old are the feeders?? I am wondering if it was plastic fatigue....some types of plastic break down in the sun, and possibly the heat, something we have had in great quantity this summer. If it is, then the weight and/or force of a larger bird landing could have caused it/them to snap off. You could buy new ones, or retrofit the one you have: take a drill to where the perches were, and find similar sized twigs (green would be stronger) and drill a similar sized hole. I'd use a good waterproof glue which can freeze. You could be creative with this!! My old wooden feeders had their perches knocked off in the ice storm, and this is how I solved the dilemma. It took me a few tries to get it right.

Just btw, I have never seen any animal purposely chew or knock a perch down.....that's my 2¢ worth!! Good luck with your diy project.


    Bookmark   August 7, 2010 at 1:08PM
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Hi Nancy,

I bought new birdfeeders today. I was in the States for the day (I'm from Canada) and so I decided to checkout Lowes and got feeders with metal perches.

Funny thing about animals - you really can't tell what's on their minds when they do what they for me to make sense of this is probably futile. And you are probably right in that large birds may have caused the damage -- yet I cannot explain why the cuts occur at the point the perch enters the tube and why the rest of the perch do not have any bite marks. These are relatively new tubes. One a year old and other just recently purchased. The perches are pretty strong I can't snap them in half. If it had been squirrels, the tubes by now would have been damaged. They remain intact and for added protection I had greased the poles. Mice, raccoons or squirrels will have to do heck of a pole dance to make it up that pole.

I won't throw away my older feeders. I would like to still use them if I can locate rods of similar width to replace the perches. or as you said, enlarge the holes by drilling and get branches.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2010 at 6:27PM
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