As the smallest bird species, flying both forwards and back all while making no noise, hummingbirds have always been a popular spectacle. These little birds full of personality were so intriguing, we found a way to attract them. Simply mix sugar and water in a bottle with a tray and there the first nectar feeder was born. It went on the market in 1962 and was a success. It became a favored past time, where children and adults bonded over their connection with nature. The hobby quickly took shape to the common suburban house and the market grew bigger. Bird feeder designs began to accommodate a wider variety of species, attracting songbirds like cardinals finches sparrows and more. These backyard birds can be targeted specifically with specified seed mixes, or the feeder design itself.
The most visually well-known design is the hopper. Often the first thing people think of when they think of bird feeder, they're made from plastic with a resemblance to the popular birdhouse. It's built like a little house, with a roof for seed protection and a tray for birds to land in. Another type of feeder is the tray feeder, a small tray of seeds hung on top of a pole or tree. These offer little protection from the elements, but attract the widest variety of species due to spaciousness. Tube feeders are tubular in form with ports and perches for birds to feed from. Their size ranges from 12 to 32 inches, and 2 to 12 ports. As demand grew, more problems arose and solutions with them. Caged feeders were designed to keep large pests away and give small birds access. Motorized feeders also created to shock squirrels or thwart them away. Quickly, bird feeders were able to cater to the specific needs of their customers.
Feeders are most popular among the common family living in a suburb. With a backyard and nice garden, these middle-aged families cant wait to see flocks come to their grasp. Families with kids can teach their kids about birds and nature or simply observe the beauty of it.
The first store I headed to was Walmart. I found a huge aisle of Bird feeders at the very back wall of the store, approaching the outside garden area. They were separated by type and style. I noticed that they were located at the very top, hints that bird feeders are generally aimed towards an older demographic. There were no elaborate designs to market that area, it was purely products on the shelf. They did, however, include accessories that the customer might buy with these items like Mounting poles and window hooks.
Home depot had the largest selection of feeders and seed mix. Most of them were hung on display, which let customers envision what they were getting. I found that the specialized seeds coordinated with the feeder that most accommodated with the bird (there was a chart to help customers choose which ones to get with which. home depot made the process efficient and easy for their customers.
My trip to PetSmart also resembled Walmart, but with less product. Petsmart’s wild bird shelves seemed to focus catering to a smaller range of feeder designs with coordinating seeds. It was located next to the hamster house section, not out of place but certainly not the best.
In all three stores, I found that the nectar feeders were separated from the rest. More inclusive feeders were placed near each other and the blend of food mix at the bottom. The most popular brands found at all three stores were Perky-Pet, Stokes select, and Wild wings. They're all tube feeders designed to hold a large amount of seeds and bear many birds. These three brands also claimed to defend against squirrel attacks and weatherproof very clearly on their packaging. I found the average price of the feeders in stores was about 25$. This was interesting, as it seemed the same common ones were expensive online.
When I searched up “bird feeder” on amazon, disregarding the sponsored posts, the first product that showed up was actually one of the most expensive. The Droll Yankees squirrel proof feeder is a hefty 120$ compared to the average feeder price of around 30$. It .as 1200+ reviews and overall 4 stars. After I filtered that info through fake spots, the program concluded only 57% of the reviews were reliable and around 900 comments were real. It's clear that some outside source has pushed for this product to be on top but what exactly was it that yielded such a high price? Arguably It's key feature is a motorized perch ring that springs with a squirrel landing. A popular issue with bird feeders are invasions from squirrels that swipe seeds and scare off birds. This product created an electric motor that flings squirrels off preventing them from returning.
Another high priced feature is Its Seed carrying capacity. Holding up to 5lbs with four feeding ports, the feeder is made of UV stabilized polycarbonate tube with powder-coated metal base and cap. This brand offers cheaper options with a smaller seed capacity and fewer ports. The reviews praised the feeders' durability and strength but squirrel problems did dabble into the comments. A previously excited customer left a disappointing review once seen squirrels sliding down the tube and snatched the seeds anyways, “Unbelievable! There is no such thing as a squirrel proof feeder”!
Another squirrel proof claimed feeder I found, Roamwild Squirrel Proof feeder, had a different design where the feeding port would close with the weight of the squirrel. This left for different problems however, customers would find the plastic roofs gnawed and left completely unusable.
As I did research on other products with a cheaper price point, all across the board the squirrel issue was the most prevalent. Although The caged bird feeder design seemed to be most delivering. I looked at a wide variety of products that had this caged feeder design and found that these designs are most effective to defend against an average-sized squirrel. The most popular reviews stated “squirrels would get so frustrated, that they end up giving up completely. If you want to foil the squirrels this is the way to go!”
The common consensus I found was that customers want durability, protection, and convenience. These wants stem from the hassle of refilling feeders, squirrel destruction and mold from weather elements. Customers also tend too more aesthetically designed feeders than feeders designed “just to feed”.
Eco-friendliness: It comes as a shock to many when a seeming harmless birdfeeder can cause environmental issues and shake an ecosystem. A rise in environmental awareness has people rethinking the benefits of a bird feeder. The common person may buy one for their own amusement, watching and hearing birds can be quite pleasing. But as the novelty wears off, a lot of people neglect taking proper care of the product. Weathering and time can cause moldy seeds, fungus, and bacteria growth deep inside the feeders. This can be detrimental to birds and any other animal who tries for some food. Bird feeders also have been connected to bird and window collision deaths due to the attraction near homes. Although many articles have been written on the effect of bird feeders, they also say not to throw out your feeders in despair but rather take proper care of them. Because of this, we see more one time use seed feeders in the market. These are just seeds compiled together and hung. Once birds have nibbled off all their feed, the only thing remaining is the string to be thrown out.
Doing things yourself has always been a popular wave for some time now, and with sustainability on the rise, DIY bird feeders have never been as popular. People have created feeders using carved fruit slices, old water bottles, teacups, and wine bottles. Finding multiple uses for these short novel things can save money, space, and the environment.
Humane solutions: Along with the rise of environmental care, other living things have also been a topic of concern. More and more big industries are being exposed to the mistreatment of animals. Secrets of Animal testing, farming, and industry are being exposed each day by social media. This has led to people being more conscious of where their products are coming from and treated. The amount of vegan lifestyles, cruelty-free products, and humanely sourced foods have significantly risen. The global market moves towards a more humane approach to business, and It's effects are slowly dabbling into smaller merchandise.
The most common issue with bird feeders are squirrels that not only scare away birds but stash seeds for themselves as well. There are dozens of bird feeder designs that try to combat the issue with spinning motors and low voltage shocks. But recently, more alternative ways of distracting squirrels have emerged. Cruising through Walmart and Home Depot, I came across seed mix for not only birds, but squirrels too. The label had said “Don't Hate them! Feed them!”.It turns out, Lots of people actually want to feed squirrels! Just not from their bird feeders. I saw the rise in this alternate solution online when I found more and more articles on how to effectively feed squirrels and keep them away from bird seeds. The solution isn’t 100% guaranteed but reading the shared online blog posts, the results look promising. The alternative shows how the bird feeder market has begun to dabble into these societal changes.
Tuesday- Start blog post, search for images and sketch the infographic
Thursday- Look at reviews online, and note trend searches, Sketch Five ideas.
Saturday- Go to different stores in Woodbury and com shop, benchmark, note prices and etc. Sketch a few ideas while on the store trip.
Sun/Monday- Make the 2x2 visual with all the info
Wednesday- ASSIGNMENT DUE