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The latest from Dr. Bird

IS THE COLOUR OF A FEEDER IMPORTANT TO OUR BACKYARD BIRDS?

I have been told that a number of folks who have purchased Brome Bird Care feeders are painting the normally green feeders in different colours. While they do it for fun, it is true that some of the larger stores do offer a variety of bright coloured feeders.


So, I have been asked - do birds really care about the colour of a given feeder?


Well, there was actually a study done on this in 2017, albeit with feeder birds in the UK. Students at the University of Hull offered the same food in eight identical feeders with the same seed but with the metal parts painted in different colours: red, yellow, green, blue, purple, black, silver and white. Over the winter, the students spent 185 hours recording 7,435 visits by 11 different bird species, most of which were various tit species (like our chickadees), house sparrows, and a couple of finch species. Red, yellow and blue were the least favoured followed by white, black and purple…but the birds definitely liked silver and green. I was not surprised that white was not favoured as it is widely believed to act as a warning colour in nature.


Even when the students added an ultraviolet reflectance to the blue and red feeders, it did not make them more attractive to birds. Next, the students decided to find out what feeder colours the customers preferred. At a science festival, they presented the same choices to visitors to their booth. While the public did tend to like the brightly coloured feeders, the only colour that was mutually agreed upon between them and the birds was green. And that is the original colour of all of Brome Bird Care’s feeders!


Which means that Brome got it right in the first place!

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