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THE SK MEDUSA FEEDER DEFENDER
"Many people (myself included) find that their bird feeders are often cleaned out by so called ‘bully birds’. These tend to be larger species that can dominate a feeder, preventing the smaller bird species from reaching the food and whose appetite and numbers are such that they can quite literally clear out a feeder in a single day.
I have absolutely nothing against jackdaws, rooks, pigeons or other larger birds. But I, like many others, sometimes felt as though I was unable to balance feeding the smaller birds in the garden whilst the feeding station was being monopolised by these larger species.
Over the past few years, I, together with the team at Wildlife World, developed a device that would minimise the effect of bully birds on a feeder, whilst maintaining a clear view of the smaller species that visit.
We arrived at the Medusa Feeder Defender, a device which uniquely uses chains of just the right weight and thickness, set at a very specific distance from each other, to deter these larger birds. And it works! Very well.
A few points to make here to clarify the application and effect of the Medusa.
Any feeder of a suitable size can be suspended from the hook that is inside the cage-like cloche that makes up the roof of the feeder. Importantly the feeder must not be so wide that it touches the chains, nor can it extend beyond the bottom of length of the chains. Other than that, pretty much anything goes. Traditional seed feeders are an obvious choice but you can hang niger, nut or suet feeders inside the Medusa. Small open seed feeders are fine too. Even a suet filled coconut half.
Once you introduce a feeder to the Medusa, don’t expect overnight results. Birds of all species are wary of change and it may take the smaller birds in your garden days or even weeks to understand that they can fly between the chains to reach the feeder within. Gradually though, certain individuals will work it out, and when they do, other birds in the garden will see them and be motivated to try. Many will actually use the chains and the cloche canopy as landing stages before flitting between the chains to reach the feeder.
The larger birds too will be attracted to the activity, but crucially they will be unable to access the feeder without the chains interfering with their wing feathers. Whilst their attempts to visit will do them no lasting harm, they will feel uncomfortable as their wing feathers touch the chains and most will move away.
Certain mid-sized species, such as starlings, should still be able to access the feeder within the Medusa and for good reason. Starlings are a species that has been in severe decline across its breeding range in recent years, especially in the UK, and as such should be encouraged in the garden. If you do have starlings dominating a feeder try adding a couple of other feeders protected by Medusas elsewhere in the garden, giving other birds a chance whilst the starling flock squabbles over one of them.
For clarity, the Medusa is not intended to protect feeders from starlings or sparrows. It is very effective against larger birds such as Jackdaws, Rooks, Magpies, Pigeons etc.
The Medusa is not intended to protect feeders from any species of squirrel."