As an avid birder I spend a lot of time at various locations around the city looking for, watching, and photographing birds. One of my favourite locations to view birds is in my own backyard. Since purchasing my house in 2007, I have slowly transformed my yard from an area void of vegetation, to an inviting bird habitat filled with a variety of native trees, shrubs, and wildflowers. Along with the natural habitat, I have also added a water feature and several bird feeders.
Of the birds that visit my yard, woodpeckers are among my favourites. In fact, the Red-bellied Woodpecker, a common visitor to my yard, is my favourite bird. Other species of woodpecker that regularly visit my yard include Downy, Hairy, and Northern Flicker. Late last year, I decided I wanted to add another feeder for these birds to feed at. With ten feeders already spread out across my yard, I couldn’t justify spending a lot of money on another feeder. Already having suet and peanut feeders I wanted to find something different. After considering several options, I decided to go with a simple seed cylinder and holder.
Seed cylinders, also referred to as seed logs, are made from various seeds and held together with an edible binder. They are similar to suet cakes, but much more dense. One advantage to this is that birds have to work a little bit to free the seed, which provides longer views than a feeder where the bird can simply grab a single seed and go. Since I was wanting to attract mostly woodpeckers, I decided on a seed cylinder that consists chiefly of peanuts, but also happens to contain hulled sunflower seeds and cut corn. The holder I purchased is a simple metal design that slides through the cylinder and doubles as a perch. The cost of the holder was $7 while the log itself was $10, so for just under $20, taxes included, I found an inexpensive option.
Only a few hours after hanging the cylinder I noticed the first bird feeding on it, a male Northern Flicker. Since then, several other birds have found it and have returned regularly to feed. Along with all of the woodpecker species previously mentioned in this post, other birds that I have noticed using this feeder have included American Goldfinch, Dark-eyed Junco, and Carolina Wren,
Much like other bird feeders, seed cylinders can be hung just about anywhere. A tree branch, shepherd’s hook, or even from your eavestrough in front of a window, are all great options. As with most feeders, choose a location where it is not accessible to squirrels, unless of course you don’t mind feeding them too. Seed cylinders are made with a wide variety of seeds so choose one based on the birds you wish to attract or the birds in your area.
If you are looking to add an inexpensive bird feeder to your yard, I highly recommend considering a seed cylinder. I have enjoyed watching the birds feed at mine over the past month, and my only regret has been not purchasing one sooner.