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Bird Feeders: Science Projects

The Effect of Different Weather and Temperature on How Much Seed Wild Birds Eat
When I shot this video of Rainy Day - Birds Hungry!!! it got me thinking of ways to back up my hypothesis with some evidence. The two main variables to measure and compare are the tempurature and the amount of seed birds eat. A transparent tube feeder such as one shown in this video provides a practical way to measure the amount of seed eaten from the feeder. More precise measurements each day can be made by weighing the food remaining in the feeder at the end of each day and then starting each morning with a full tube. This video also shows other wild bird feeder types which could also be used as long as the amount of food eaten is measured carefully each day. The temperature can be measured with a simple outdoor thermometer, or you can be more exacting with devices to measure precipitation, wind and so on.

The Effect of Different Colored Bird Feeders On How Much Seed Wild Birds Eat

The purpose of this experiment was to determine how birdfeeder color affected the amount of seed eaten by birds.

I became interested in this idea because every winter when it got cold I put birdseed out for the birds and I wanted to find out how to make more birds come to my feeders. I thought the color of the feeder might matter.

The information gained from this experiment could affect anyone who wanted birds in their yard, or wanted to feed birds in the winter. People who work for the Department of Fish and Wildlife might also be interested.

What Seeds Do Birds Prefer to Eat?

Are you curious about the birds that live in your neighborhood? Would you like to find out more about them: what they look like close up, what they eat, how they sing? In this project you'll build a bird feeding platform with four separate feeding areas. You'll be able to observe birds at close range, find out what birds inhabit your area, and learn about their seed-eating preferences. So get out your woodworking tools and binoculars, and get ready to see some birds.

With a Little Bread as Bait, Can You Make a Bird Migrate?

You might like to play in the autumn leaves and winter snow, but have you noticed that many birds don't like to stick around for the cold weather? And instead of the birds you're used to seeing in the warm months, your new feathered friends might be Canada geese. Why is that? Various types of birds and other animals travel from one place to another either in search of food, warmer temperatures, or other things they need to survive. This type of traveling is called migration. Try starting your own miniature bird migration in this science fair project!.

Can You Predict a Bird's Lifestyle Based on Its Feet?

Animals survive in all sorts of extreme environments, whether it's a polar bear out and about when its -40F, a desert iguana trying to find food as the temperature rises to 110F, or a deep sea anglerfish living 3281 feet down into the sea. How do they do it? The answer is adaptations! Their bodies have special features that allow them to live in those environments. You might not be able to dive down 3281 feet to observe the deep sea anglerfish, but in this science fair project you can discover what the adaptations of birds in your own backyard tell you about their lifestyles.

The Effect of Bird Formation on Flight Efficiency

This project studied the amount of energy birds saved by flying in a V formation compared to solo flight. My hypothesis was that flying in formation reduces wind drag and leads to greater flight efficiency. I focued on Pink-Footed Geese because published information on this bird species was readily available. My work was unique because it used a wind tunnel rather than mathematical models.

Humwhere over the Rainbow: Do Hummingbirds Prefer Colored
Nectar from the Warm End of the Color Spectrum?

The objective of our project was to determine if hummingbirds preferred colored nectar from the warm end of the color spectrum (red, yellow) versus the cool end (blue, violet). Knowing that hummingbirds are attracted to red and orange flowers, we predicted that they would prefer colored nectar that resembled those flowers. Further studies showed that other variables must be considered, including color order, height, position, location, and color of feeder.

How Sweet It Is! Explore the Roles of Color and Sugar Content in Hummingbirds' Food Preferences.

Do you like to watch hummingbirds? Have you ever wondered why there is specialty hummingbird food? What is it about the food that makes it so appealing? In this zoology science fair project, you will observe these remarkable creatures and learn how color and sugar concentration influence a hummingbird's selection of a food source.

What Concentration of Sugar Is Most Preferred by Hummingbirds?

The objective is to learn what concentration of sugar is most preferred by hummingbirds. Concentrations of 0%, 25%, 35%, 45%, 55%, and 65% were made with white granulated sugar and warm water. A graduated cylinder and postal scale were used to make precise measurements. Modified and graduated feeders were used to contain the artificial nectar, and were tied to the fence with wire for 7 days. The feeders were checked every 12 hours and the cumulative milliliters consumed were recorded. For the last experiment, concentrations of 0%, 50%, 55%, 60%, and 65% were made to more precisely find which concentrations hummingbirds are most attracted to.

Which Sugar(s) Do Hummingbirds Prefer?

Hummingbirds will prefer sucrose more than other sugars because scientific research has shown that flowers visited by hummingbirds mainly have sucrose in their nectar. My objective is to test this hypothesis by feeding different sugars to hummingbirds in backyard feeders.

Feathered Friend or Foe

The goal of my project was to discover an environmentally safe, effective and harmless deterrent to keep unwanted pest birds from damaging a desirable food source such as a garden, berry patch or orchard.

Feeding Preferences of Woodland Birds

We did our project because we were interested in the eating habits of woodland birds.  We investigated the effects of location, environment, and seed type and tested the hypotheses by measuring the weight of seeds eaten and by observing which birds ate which seeds under different conditions.

Feathered Conditioning: The Sequel to Classical Conditioning

My goal was to find out how many weeks it would take to condition my pet bird "Sunny" to respond to the sound of a bell even when no food was present. My hypothesis was that it would take four weeks to condition Sunny with the bell.

A Rainbow of Ultraviolet Color

I love animals and am fascinated that scientists knew birds had more cones in their eyes than humans which means they see more colors than humans, but they still believed that birds saw like humans. My goal was to design an experiment to observe bird behaviors affected by ultraviolet colors with materials I have available at home. I hypothesized that birds are attracted to the brighter ultraviolet colors.

Squirrels - Birds - Rats!

In addition to squirrels, rats can also devour a lot of food you buy for wild birds. You may see the squirrels in the day but later on the night shift may take over. We have found that rats can nimbly crawl over obstacles impossible for squirrels. You may not know how much of your bird seed is fattening up neighborhood rats. A video we prepared can document this menace and also show some ways to protect your food from rats, squirrels and other rodents, too. Although we squirt the squirrels with hose water at the start, the careful placement of plastic bottles and vinyl sheets curtails their invasion into places reserved for birds with no violence necessary. We also prove that squirting doesn't work, because only minutes later the moochers will come back! Squirrels and rats can share the water trough and feast on scattered seeds to spare. But when they grab your feeders, unless they're well protected, the food will disappear. Beyond the small price of plastic bottles and vinyl sheets, the real cost is the unsightly appearance of plastic bottles and sheets. But, once we know what works, we can attempt to improve upon esthetics as we progress. An interesting science project may be developed around the amount of bird seed is actually consumed by squirrels, rats and birds. What factors and controls can be applied to modify the percentages of food consumed by different species? Watching squirrels and rats climbing on our bird feeders is never copacetic! Warning - towards the end of this video, a swarm of rats attacks! Not pretty!


Several custom made bird perches can be seen in the series of videos collected in the playlist My Eden of Furry and Feathered Friends Urban Wild Life ... on YouTube.  These may inspire you to test how attractive various sizes and shapes of perches are to wild birds in your area.  For example, we have noticed that a small diameter tube-shaped perch seems to attract birds that can grasp the tube in their claws.  Birds also seem to like a solid texture like wood on which they can clean their beaks. Is a straight perch more attractive than a curved perch of the same diameter and length?  Study our videos to look for possible patterns that you can test in an experiment.

The Bird Bar in the right column is our latest innovation which is placed a few feet further away from the tree than our previous bird feeder alignments. Birds like feeders near trees. But so do squirrels and rats. The trick is to hang our feeders under extended branches, but at least 10 feet, or so, from the main trunk. All our feeders are now hanging from this Bird Bar and the wires that suspend the bar are protected by one or two bottles hung with the back side facing upwards. You will see the bottles in the Bird Bar video, and more videos to come. So far, after about three months, we have been confident enough to remove all the plastic sheets and barriers that were wrapped around the trunk and many branches of the tree. The Bird Bar video shows a few remaining plastic sheets still remaining in previous months. You can find out more about the types of wild birds in your area in many ebooks listed by Ergonica.



Bird Feeders come in different shapes, sizes and colors, cost very little and can also be made or customized by yourself.  Some types focus on certain species or features such as Hummingbird, Oriole, Squirrel Proof, Suet, Thistle, Hopper or Tube. See more examples in videos below made by Ergonica producers.



Casa Blanca Gardens Bird Bar

Despite the competition between sometimes predatory flying creatures, a few mourning doves, bandtailed pigeons and hummingbirds in this video clip find a comfortable feeding environment in the Casa Blanca gardens.  Relax with the ukelele theme music to set the tone. The innovative Bird Bar is a unique structure made of a perforated sign post and is capable of supporting and arranging numerous bird feeders in interesting patterns. Enjoy this scene titled --Bird Bar for Big Birds and Small Birds and Mother Birds-- (published on Mother's Day and dedicated to all moms and bird moms, too)

Although the birds seem to get along OK, an interesting science project could be designed to test whether the spacing between feeders on the bar could affect bird feeding traffic among different species. Does the traffic or the amount of food consumed increase or decrease in proportion to the intervening space? To control for seasonal factors, it would be necessary to run the experiment in two separate bars simultaneously, each with different spacing between similar bird feeders. Each bar would have one hopper feeder for larger birds and one tube feeder for smaller birds, for example. The bars should be at least 20 feet apart to avoid cross contamination. Give yourself at least two weeks for a good experimental test. You can also run more tests in sequence with different spacing for a larger range of distances. If you have hummingbirds in your area, you can also have fun with these tiny powerhouses who seem to fear nothing. The bar shown in our own experiment in this video is 48 inches long. In future videos we will show how we have used other perforated sign posts of different lengths and widths to expand the bird bar in different directions. Stay tuned to our YouTube channel called raymuser. We can share your experiments with others, as well, and all help to accomodate more wild birds, many of whom are losing their natural habitats because of growing land developments, industrialization and agriculture. See more about the bird extinction crisis from the Center for Biological Diversity.

Rodent Protection Spacing

How far can a rat jump? What surfaces can they climb? If you have a hampster wheel, you know they have a lot of energy and strength. In the video below we show how we redesigned our bird feeder arrangement to protect our feeders from some very ambitious and hungry rats. For your science project we suggest you design a set of feeders with different spacing and a way to measure the food eaten by rats and / or a video camera trap, such as our night security camera made by Reolink that uses infrared light.



Interesting experiments may be conducted to test bird preference for different feeder shapes and sizes or the distance between feeders.  You may possibly invent a new feeder shape and show how it performs better than others.  In designing new feeder shapes, you should explore existing products on the market as well as patents of bird feeders to determine if your shape is truly unique.  You may find that many interesting designs have been patented and never successfully sold on the market. Be sure to protect any new invention by a patent.  See available types of bird feeders at Ergonica Superstore.

Squirrels vs Birds vs Rats - How to Defend Bird Feeders from Rodents



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