I received an Auto Feeder the other day from Wingscapes, makers of an automatic bird feeder and a bird camera. Of course, I unpacked and assembled it immediately. Operating on 4 AA batteries that last for a year of operation, you set the timer for the number of times you want seed to drop from the dispenser to the feeding tray and how much seed you want dispensed at one time.
I tend to be wary of gadgets like this because they are either a puzzle to assemble or operate or both. A few months ago I received a bird cam. Never could get it to work, even after giving it to my tech-savvy granddaughter to figure out. So it sits in a tree, unused, having sunk another $20 for a computer chip to store the photos it never took.
The Auto Feeder is different. First, it’s easy to put together, not like some kind of Ikea project. So I filled the one gallon (l like that volume) dispenser with seeds and hung it outside. It was a very windy day but either the construction of the feeder or the fact that it was filled with a gallon of seeds (any type) allowed the feeder to sway only a little in the wind since a gallon of seeds might be about two pounds and the feeder weighs 3.5 pounds.
You can program the feeder to feed one to four times a day. Eventually the birds will learn what those times are so you can time the feeder to dispense seeds at times most convenient for your bird watching.
Lately I have had to go outside in blustery weather twice a day to feed the birds (and, in the process, squirrels) and let my old feeder run dry during inconvenient times. This feeder really makes my life easier. How long it will last and whether the squirrels figure it out are things I have yet to learn. It has a squirrel baffle/skirt on it to prevent those critters from decimating the seed supply but you may be able to hang it in such a way that the squirrels can’t reach it so that you can remove the skirt. But the skirt also serves as an umbrella to protect the seeds from rain.
If I had any criticism of the feeder, I would like to see a larger feeding platform. Larger birds like jays have a hard time accessing the feed, which could be advantageous or detrimental, depending on one’s point of view. The platform is easily removable with a thumb screw and could easily be replaced. Maybe include three sizes of platforms with the feeder? The box the feeder comes it shows that it can also be used on the ground to feed chickens. Having never kept chickens, I can’t address that. Maybe next Easter I’ll get some chicks. No, scratch that.
After using this feeder for a couple of weeks, watching it instead of refilling it, I’m a fan. Maybe this feeder is something you need to try.