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Old 02-21-2014, 09:17 PM
344 posts, read 993,927 times
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Last year was my first time to hang a bird feeder. I placed it in the back yard near the fence, hung the feeder on a planter hanger, so it was about a foot off the ground. The birds loved it. I was happy seeing all the happy birds until I saw a big ole rat eating the seeds off the ground. I immediately removed the feeder because I cannot deal with rats.

I miss seeing the birds, so any other suggestions on where to put the feeder? The area behind my fence is undeveloped, but houses are being built about 300 yards behind me. Thanks in advance.
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Old 02-21-2014, 10:18 PM
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I have mine hanging from a pole much higher than a foot off the ground, probably closer to 5'. Seed does inevitably spill, but around here the ground birds and chipmunks take care of it. You can pick up one of the poles at Home Depot or Lowes in the garden department.

You may be seeing rats because the construction behind you is disturbing their normal environment.
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Old 02-22-2014, 06:38 AM
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If you have rats, I don't think the location is going to matter to them.
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Old 02-22-2014, 06:43 AM
Location: On the Chesapeake
45,323 posts, read 60,500,026 times
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Originally Posted by jackmichigan View Post
If you have rats, I don't think the location is going to matter to them.


Keep it where you had it just get a longer pole. As someone mentioned, most hardware stores have taller one with a J shape, some are even double.

With a double you can have a couple different types of feed-corn, sunflower seeds, safflower, Nyger, suet, general mix, which will attract different species. Doves and cardinals like safflower, for example, while most finches like the Nyger thistle.
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Old 02-22-2014, 08:42 AM
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Hang your bird feeder away from trees, bushes, fences or buildings. Squirrels and other predators may use these to climb or jump onto the bird feeder. If you must hang the bird feeder on a tree, keep it at least six feet from the trunk or the tree limbs.

Add a squirrel baffle over the bird feeder to prevent squirrels from climbing down the wire used to hang the bird feeder. If you decide to use a free standing pole, it should be 5' high and 10' from the nearest tree.

BirdFeeders | Bird Feeding Tips & Where to Hanging Your Feeder
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Old 02-23-2014, 10:02 AM
Location: SE Michigan
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I agree that rats and other bird-seed raiders are going to be present no matter what so at least keeping feeders away from your house should help, unless you have cats.

My two feeders are on poles, so the squirrels can't get to them. Although they will forage for seed under the feeders. Thankfully I have never seen rats around here.

I also put my feeders under a tree, because there are hawks around here who will take birds. Then again the hawks also need to eat...
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Old 02-23-2014, 08:22 PM
Location: Chapel Hill, N.C.
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Seed spilling on the ground will attract all sorts of animals. We had smarty pants deer who would stand on their tippy toes to knock our up-high feeders and then they ate all the seed. We stopped feeding birds except hummers which we have learned to love and enjoy. Such beautiful colors. However we do have bird houses and bird baths around for their nests. Since we rarely have much snow (except a few weeks ago) the birds usually don't have much trouble finding something to eat.
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Old 02-23-2014, 08:28 PM
Location: In the Pearl of the Purchase, Ky
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We don't worry about the squirrels eating what falls on the ground but didn't want them climbing the pole and knock everything out of the feeder. My dad put a 4x4 in the ground and fastened a PVC pipe extending off from the top where he hung the feeder. To keep the squirrels from climbing he wrapped the post with a couple sheets of tin he got from the local newspaper. Nail the bottom one on first then overlap the top over the bottom. That way the critters can't jump and hang their claws on the top of the bottom sheet and work up from there.
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Old 02-24-2014, 07:45 AM
Location: Pittsburgh area
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Tough one. Seed will always drop on the ground. Well, mostly. There is one idea.

First, you have to get the feeder much higher off the ground, 4 or 5 feet at least from its base. The pole I use has its main hooks well over my head. You didn't mention if you get squirrels, but they can climb any pole and jump several feet from a fence or building or tree so you want it clear of those. And you'd need a squirrel baffle on the pole else they will just climb it. You can try to get by without at first but if you find a squirrel stealing a lot of seed you'll probably want to spring for a baffle. There are baffles that can be used on just about any pole, or you can buy a specific bird feeder pole which can take a possibly more effective shape of baffle. The squirrels never get around mine.

To mitigate the seed dropping, there are trays available that can hang below most feeders. I do not own one of these because I like having the ground feeding birds come as well as squirrels on the ground. They are additional entertainment for the cats who watch from inside. But I set one up for my mother, like this: Amazon.com: Backyard Birding Solutions Seed Saucer Green: Patio, Lawn & Garden I did not pay anywhere near that much in a local store; I think it was about half that cost. There are also some available that are made of screen material, like this: http://www.amazon.com/Songbird-Essen...r+seed+catcher This might help minimize the issue with the rats.

Anything else might come by though. Back last summer or fall I purchased a trail camera to watch what came by at night. Mainly I wanted to track how often stray cats might be coming by, but what I discovered is we have some pretty regular midnight deer. They are probably eating some sunflower from the feeder, either off the ground or possibly out of a flat tray feeder that we use. I don't think they can get the seed out of the tube. Other visitors include possum and an occasional raccoon. Chipmunks and squirrels come during the day. Squirrels are out now but chipmunks seem to hibernate. I have sometimes seen a little mouse or vole or something. Ah well.
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