Welcome to the homepage of my website!

Here you can read some of my newspaper columns on birds that appear every other Sunday in Stars Magazine of the Post Standard in Syracuse, NY. Recent columns published during the last few years are also available here, courtesy of the Post Standard.

Each column becomes available by clicking on the List of Columns link in the Table of Contents to the right. In that list the latest column is at the top.

Click on the of the date of the column you wish to read. It includes all the original material published in the newspaper. Sometimes there is also extra information on the subject of the column for the interested reader who wishes to learn more about it.

To get in touch with Ben Burtt:

  • Via Mail: Write to Ben Burtt, Stars Magazine, P.O. Box 4915, Syracuse, NY 13221
  • Via E-mail: Send message to features@syracuse.com. Be sure to put “For Ben Burtt” in the subject line.

The most recent column to be posted is directly below.

Seed and feeders for birds that eat seeds


By Benjamin P. Burtt

For the birds that eat seed I put out fine cracked corn, millet and niger seed as well as sunflower seed. Each seed is in a separate feeder or in a separate compartment of a given feeder.

There are a number of commercial feeders of various types available in stores that specialize in feed and feeders for birds. The feeders for dispensing seed include some that are hanging transparent plastic tubes filled with a given seed. They have holes in the sides with a perch just below each one so a bird can reach into the hole for seed.

CAPTION: A large platform feeder like this will attract many more birds than a number of small feeders. Uncovered by a roof, the seed and birds feeding on the tray are visible to those flying by. A hopper in the center keeps the seed dry, but allows some to flow out each of the four sides as birds consume it and scatter it about the tray. Compartments in the hopper allow you to offer up to 4 different types of seed.. (photo by B. Burtt).

Others have a hopper to keep the seed dry and a small tray across the front into which the seed flows. The birds perch on the edge of the little tray to eat. Most of these allow only a few birds to feed simultaneously.

In addition to these manufactured feeders each yard should have one post mounted feeder without a roof that has a relatively large, open platform as shown in the photograph. Birds scatter the seed over the platform and birds flying by will see the seed and the birds feeding there. It brings in lots of birds for it is an advertisement that food is available there.

Generally you will need to construct this yourself or find someone who can make it for you.
The photograph shows a feeder that was first made to my specifications in 1965 by a retired cabinet maker. This large open tray was about three feet on a side There is enough “elbow room” so that many birds can feed together without conflict.

Note the hopper in the center. The roof lifts off and there are 4 compartments inside, each with a floor that slopes to a horizontal slot on the side of the hopper where the seed flows out. Above each slot is a very small overhanging eave which protects the slot from the rain.

The floor of the platform is made by installing a piece of aluminum or plastic fly screening on the frame for drainage.