Mommy Blog Expert: Gardeners Sphere-Shaped Bird Feeder Protects Little Birds While Teaching Kids Nature & Science - PRODUCT REVIEW

Friday, April 2, 2010

Gardeners Sphere-Shaped Bird Feeder Protects Little Birds While Teaching Kids Nature & Science - PRODUCT REVIEW

This post kicks off a month-long series on this blog on all things eco-friendly in observance of April 22, 2010, the 40th Anniversary of Earth Day.  I've already received a number of great family-friendly ideas for thinking and living green, but you're encouraged to suggest others that might align with this topic.

by Janis Brett Elspas

It's spring.  That usually means at least one thing: that birds are beginning to appear just about everywhere in the Northern Hemisphere.  This season is certainly one of my personal favorites because we start getting outside more as a family.  I also love waking up right before the sun rises to hear a chorus of many different bird calls floating in the still early morning air.  

At our house spring is a particularly good thing.  As a homeschooling family of middle schoolers and a ninth grader, it's the opportune time to go out to our backyard.  Since we do it ourselves, I know first hand that teaching and learning about science and nature are so much more fun when you can experience the great outdoors first hand.

Lately, when we're not watching Molly, the wild barn owl recently hatching owlets via live webcam over the Internet, my teens (triplets, almost 13, and big brother, 14)  and I can often be found in our own backyard enjoying all the beautiful small birds that have been visiting this brilliantly-designed Globe Bird Cage Feeder that was sent to us late last fall by Gardeners.com.

This feeder, featured among the Most Perfect Gifts for Thanksgiving,  is unique in that it serves as a safe refuge allowing smaller birds to enjoy feasting without having to worry about being bullied and scared away by the larger birds and squirrels who might otherwise hoard all the food for themselves.   It keeps the big guys out because the heavy duty metal grid's openings are each only about 1-1/2" square so only the tiniest of bird species can enter the protective globe to nibble peacefully from the center cylinder that holds the bird seed. 

Within a day or two of receiving this feeder in the mail, one of our daughters unpacked this from the shipping box.  It comes completely assembled, so she was able to easily hang it up this solidly built black-enameled steel cage by herself in our yard's persimmon tree by knotting a 2 foot length of rope to the metal handle top and then tying the other end to a sturdy branch.  To fill the feeder with food, she simply lifted the cap on top of the central cylinder, added the seed and snapped it securely back in place, to prevent Nutty and our other squirrel regulars from burglarizing it.

Seeing nature at work is not only educational, but entertaining too.  Though crows, ravens, jays and other large birds had frequented our yard for years, none of us had ever seen small birds in our backyard before, except for hummingbirds, which flew so quickly we were never able to get a good look at them.  In this photo you see the feeder filled with black sunflower seeds with the Peace Wreath which was featured in the Best Christmas Gifts Guide as well as  We received this unusual wreath from Gardeners during the holidays and decided to decorate it with strands of popcorn and cranberries as a special bird (and squirrel) treat.


After our daughter filled the feeder with black sunflower seeds, we sat back an waited.  Within a few days the big backyard bullies arrived to try and rob the feeder, without success.  After the larger birds gave up and stopped trying to get seed from the feeder, we all became hopeful that little birds would finally start arriving. Unfortunately, they didn't.  Even after the globe cage had been hanging for more than 6 weeks, we hadn't had a single tiny feathered friend stop by.

So, always looking for new learning opportunities, I said to my kids, "Let's do some detective work to find out why."  First we checked our family's copy of the Birds of North America Golden Field Guides from St. Martin's Press to see what more we could learn about the winged creatures we were hoping to see.  We also went to the library and borrowed some books on wild birds and bird watching.  

Next, we stopped by Wild Birds Unlimited, a nature shop chain specializing in all things for bird lovers, to ask the pros to help us problem solve and analyze the reasons why we were not attracting our intended feeder guests.  What we quickly discovered was that the first food we tried, black sunflower seeds in the shell, generally appeals only to larger birds and surprise, surprise -- squirrels.  Based on the store owner's recommendation, we then bought their store brand wild birdseed blend which consisted of hulled sunflower chips, peanut pieces, and hulled white millet.

Upon arriving home, the kids went in the yard and replaced the old seed with the Wild Birds Unlimited blend.  It took about a week more before our first little visitor arrived and flew inside our feeder to enjoy some really yummy seeds.  That first bird stayed for hours and soon we were seeing two, sometimes three tiny ones in the feeder at a time.  Since then we've been privileged to see a wide variety of smaller colorful birds such as sparrows, finches, and wrens that winter in the western coastal area of Southern California.

As you see in this picture taken by our young bird lover, showing two very small birds together inside the globe feeder, we finally had success.  It was definitely worth the wait to catch a glimpse of nature like we'd never seen before.

It has been great to get to see such a wide variety of smaller birds eating happily from our dining room window, thanks to the safe refuge that the Globe Cage Bird Feeder's generous 11-3/4" diameter interior space provides.  Luckily, this clever feeder literally promotes harmony in nature -- as well as a symphony of large and small bird songs.  Accompanied by the peeps of the little ones, we still get to view and hear the bigger species in our yard, too, such as the pair of Western Scrub Jays that our daughter affectionately calls, "Mr. & Mrs. Gutsy" that scurry around underneath this backyard bird sanctuary, gathering any seed that drops to the ground.  Pictured here, in a photo taken by our bird-loving daughter, is the husband bird of that infamous couple.

The Globe Cage Bird Feeder, $24.95,
is available online from Gardeners Supply Company  and at Gardener's Supply Company's  two Vermont retail locations.  Sturdily built, this gift to nature holds 1-1/2 lbs. of birdseed. 

How is your family living the green life? Please leave a comment and share the ways you and your kids are pitching in the save the environment. 

FTC Disclosure:  MommyBlogExpert received the Globe Cage Bird Feeder and Peace Wreath from Gardeners Supply Company for review and the holiday gift showcases. All other products mentioned were personal purchases made by the writer of this blog.  MommyBlogExpert did not receive any payment or other compensation associated any company or any product referenced in this post.  See complete FTC Disclosure information that appears at the bottom of MommyBlogExpert's main page and at the bottom of every individual post on this blog, including this one.      

1 comment:

Rose (@)--^-- said...

WOW. This article really explains everything. And the western Scrub Jay is SO pretty! Your daughter should be a nature photographer!!