“ALImentáRIO” - Holder for the Supplementary Feeding of Wild Birds
Authors: Fernando Miguel Marques
Abstract: This is an animal design project (design thinking to meet the needs of animals) which aims to bring birds into contact with humans and - through this solution - to bring the sound and movement produced by them into our lives (whether in the countryside, whether in the urban landscape), which can be translated into joy and peace achieved by the harmony of natural wildlife in our domestic environment.Starting question Knowing that birds are elusive and fearful animals, but also can bring joy and movement to our daily lives, how can we attract them to our coexistence? Supplementary feeding can be a good solution, and there are already some versions available on the international market, especially in countries where winter is more extreme. In southern Europe, feeding birds is still not a very common practice. Depending on the type of food the birds eat in their natural habitat and, depending on the endogenous birds, there are variations in the diet, and only a test of placing food available to the birds will determine the type of food to be placed in the supplementary feeder.The "AlimentáRIO" (feeder) is a ceramic supplementary feeding stand/holder that can contain various types of food, in order to test if birds can be attracted close to your home.There are several types of bird food: nectar, seeds, worms, fruit, tallow/lard... And, for each of these types of food, there is a specific type of feeder. The "AlimentáRIO" is a versatile feeder intended to cover all types. Nectar is more suitable for birds that can pollinate during late winter and early spring, when insects are less active. For these reasons, nectar should only be placed in feeders as a food supplement in the winter and autumn.In Portugal, there are some birds that drink nectar, according to Luís Pascoal da Silva , a researcher at CIBIO-inBIO. The scientist states that there are several pollinating birds in Portugal, but the study of the contribution of these birds to pollination is scarce. Seeds - besides the traditional canary seed - can contain sunflower seeds or nuts, such as walnuts and peanuts, depending on the endogenous birds. Fruit is also sought after by some species of birds, namely apples and pears, in addition to other exotic fruits. However, in general, birds can be drawn to any type of fruit. Fat balls are usually tallow/lard balls with seeds and fruits to reinforce supplementary feeding during cold seasons. The "AlimentáRIO" is a suspended wild bird feeder that can be hung in more or less sheltered places, made with materials resistant to the elements, without the need for maintenance. However, its cleaning must be done according to the recommendations referred to in the full article. As already mentioned, the construction materials are low maintenance, and the food container and the deflecting bell jar are made with stoneware - the type of ceramics more resistant to both bumps and thermal variations. The junction of the two parts is made with a nickel-plated threaded rod, covered with an aluminium tube, and all components are joined by manual screw threads, which allows to assemble and disassemble it without the use of any tools, thus facilitating an in-depth cleaning at the end of the supplementary feeding season.The "AlimentáRIO" has a lower part with four concavities for placing food, which allows the possible placement of different types of food at the same time, thus drawing different species. As it is a feeder consisting of a protective and deflecting bell jar, the birds are protected from possible direct attacks from predators and from falling leaves in the autumn. The fact that it is a supplementary feeder that can be hung with a rope makes it difficult for rats and squirrels to get close to the food, given that, if by chance these animals manage to descend on the rope, they must also overcome the challenge of getting through the bell jar (which is a spherical cap) to get to the place where the food is. The results of the placement tests of this supplementary feeder have been reassuring, which show that the feeders foster the approximation of wild birds in relatively short periods of time - between 3 weeks and one month.
Keywords: supplementary feeding, birds, harmony, animal design, durable materials, experiences with wild animals
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