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When larger nuisance birds dominate bird feeders, adding a cage feeder can let the little ones eat. My newest feeder is a Woodlink Squirrel-Proof Seed Tube Feeder in their Coppertop Tube Feeder Series. I like this feeder very much.
Woodlink Feeder Size
This feeder is bigger than the Nuttery Globe Seed Feeder, another cage-type feeder I purchased a year ago. The Woodlink feeder measures 19” from the top of the extended hanging loop to the base (or 16.5” not including the loop.) It has six food ports instead of the four of the globe feeder. The tube that holds the seed is taller, although a little narrower. It holds a quart of seed.
I remember looking at this feeder or one very similar in my local bird store (Mother Natures in Columbia Maryland) last year. But I worried it was too tall to hang on my bird feeder pole. I needed it to stay above the pole’s squirrel baffle. This year I decided to give it a try anyway. As I was making my purchase, I was telling one of the folks who works there about my pole height. I learned I could purchase extensions for the poles I have to make them taller. I describe these Erva Feeder Post Extensions and how to add them in a separate post.
Hanging & Filling the Feeder
Hanging the new feeder was easy. Like many tube type feeders, it has a hanging loop at the top. You need a hook to hang it on a pole or branch. My local bird store sells useful hooks of this kind for fifty cents. Mine is attached to the hook of a weather guard that hangs above it.
I have a lot of birds in my yard and this feeder is already popular. It typically needs a little seed added to it each day. To top off or refill this feeder, lift it down off the hook. Slide up the two metal disks on either side of the loop to free up the lid. Then slide up the lid so to pour seed into the now open top of the tube.
When I top these off, I give them a little up and down shake to fill in any little gaps where the seed hasn’t sifted down (something that can happen with un-hulled sunflower seed.)
Reverse the process to close it up and hang it again. The tag on the feeder suggests hanging it at a height of 5 ½ feet high for easy filling.
Cleaning the Feeder
I like the design of this feeder. It makes it fairly easy to clean. There are four wing-nut screws underneath that you hand turn to detach the tube from the feeder. Then you slide the tube out the top for cleaning. There are slots on the top to allow the perches to slide out (see above photo.) While the slots might make it just a bit wetter for birds on a rainy day, I have a rain guard over it so it doesn’t matter.
Woodlink Tube Feeder Design
This feeder has six metal seed ports. The grid of the cage is 1 1/2” in size and is powder coated metal. The bars on this feeder are not as heavy as those on the globe feeder but I like that it gives a less obscured view of birds inside it. I also like that the bigger rectangular shape of this feeder allows more space for birds.
The open wire floor of the cage lets spilled seed drop out onto the ground. Un-hulled sunflower can get junked up on a feeder floor, even a partial floor like on the globe feeder. In my yard, the spilled seed below feeders is quickly eaten by the Dark-Eyed Juncos, Red-Winged Blackbirds, Mourning Doves, Northern Cardinals and various other ground feeding birds.
Birds on the Feeder Immediately
But the important part is whether the birds like it right? Well, the day I introduced this feeder to the yard, I fiddled around for awhile arranging the placement of the various feeders on this pole. (There is an art to feeder placement because you want it to work for the birds and not for the squirrels. And you also want it to be visible to you. So it can take a little while to get it right.) As I worked, the birds kept an close eye on what I was doing.
As soon as I turned my back and walked away, there were half a dozen American Goldfinches on the new feeder in literally less than a minute. I think part of the reason it was accepted so fast is that they got used to cage-type feeders when I got the globe feeder last year. Also, the new feeder and the globe feeder are currently the only feeders serving hulled sunflower. Having learned how to use the globe feeder before, they quickly figured out this new cage feeder. These two feeders are also right next to each other.
Which Birds Use the Feeder?
Is it all happiness in bird land now? Mostly. The tag on the feeder says that “Birds attracted to this feeder [include] Goldfinches, Finches, Chickadees, Nuthatches, Redpolls, Siskins, Juncos and Woodpeckers.” At first I only saw House Finches and American Goldfinches on this feeder but then the Carolina Chickadees started using it.
Tufted Titmouses took a bit longer to try this one, although they have used the globe feeder before. They do eat safflower though, so they use the other feeders too. White-Breasted Nuthatches will use this feeder too, although they prefer more open feeders like the Squirrel Buster types. I can’t imagine a Downy Woodpecker getting into this feeder though and the Red-Bellied Woodpeckers in my yard would definitely be too big.
Note: The seed you put in a feeder makes a big difference. Check out my post on Choosing Seed For Backyard Birds.
Squirrels & The Woodlink Feeder
Is it really squirrel-proof? I did not have any squirrel issues for over a year because I hung it on a baffled pole far enough away from the closest tree that squirrels can’t jump over to it. I suspect that if you hung it on a tree limb or pole without a decent squirrel baffle, a squirrel might be able to tip seed out.
They wouldn’t be able to chew through the metal to get to the plastic tube inside though. The top that lifts off to allow you to fill the feeder remains pretty stiffly in place, even after a year of use. There is a little metal disk on either side of the loop to make it harder for a squirrel to get into.
Update 7/8/19: But yesterday I discovered a way that squirrels can, if not get into this feeder, can damage it. A young squirrel figured out how to drop straight down over a dozen feet from a tree branch overhead down to the narrow shepherd’s hook the feeder hung on. Sitting on the top of the feeder under its weather dome, the squirrel began prying up the copper roof on one side to try and get at the seed. He did not succeed, but did pull the copper top out of shape which unclipped it from the cage at one side.
We corrected the problem by cutting off the overhead branch. Jim then used a pair of pliers to move the feeder top back into shape and re-clipped it. So no permanent damage was done.
Given this experience, I’d say that it is not completely squirrel proof and so should to be hung where a squirrel can’t reach it. Put it on a pole out of squirrel jumping range or try it under an Erva extra-wide baffle if it must be hung on a branch.
Woodlink Feeder Works Well
I definitely recommend these feeders. These feeders are easy to top off with seed each day and easy to clean. I paid $89.99 locally but at the time I write this, it’s listed on Amazon for $65 plus free shipping.
Update: I’ve had this feeder for a year now. It has been so popular, that I’ve bought a second one! It feeds American Goldfinches, House Finches, Purple Finches, White-Breasted Nuthatches, Red-Breasted Nuthatches, Carolina Wrens, Pine Warblers and Carolina Chickadees.
More on Putting Up A New Feeder
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