Putting bird feeders in your garden really does help, according to a UK study looking at the growth of bird populations in the past 40 years. "We know that feeding happens on a huge scale in the UK, US, Australia and parts of Europe," says Kate Plummer of the British Trust for Ornithology. "We are trying to understand what the impacts of that might be." Volunteers for the trust have been monitoring which species feed on the food they put out in their gardens since the 1970s. Plummer's team analysed this data to see what changes there have been over time.
The Yankee Flipper takes an active approach to fending off furballs. When anything heavier than 8 ounces lands on the bottom perch, a battery-powered motor spins it, flinging the pest away. This way, it won't hang around trying to claw its way in. At nearly a foot-and-a-half tall, the polycarbonate tube holds up to 5 pounds of avian snacks. Squirrels are heavier than the birds you want at your feeder, a fact that the Brome SquirrelBuster Plus uses to its advantage.
As a pet owner, illness and injury are the primary causes for concern, but the word "diet" is a very close third. Food is a natural way to express love for our pets, but, as with most things, moderation is key. When I had to put my cat on a diet, the Cat Mate C500 automatic pet feeder (which won an award in our best automatic pet feeders roundup) was my secret weapon when it came to reducing tension around meal times and cutting down on instances of my cat begging for food when it wasn't dinner time. Before I got this feeder and started being more strict about my cat's feeding times, every hour turned into a battle between my willpower and my cat's ability to meow pleadingly. As you might guess, on most days, it was a pitched battle.