Saturday, July 4, 2020

2020 Survey Contest Winner Announced!

Ray D of Silver Springs Maryland wins a Magic Halo Regal from MagicHalo.org. Winner was drawn from a pool of customers that participated in our 2020 results survey. Congratulations, Ray!

Latest Testimonials and Feedback, Mid-2020

The reason we strive for results and input is to know our product is a success, but also to have this available for potential buyers -- those considering the purchase of a Magic Halo.

Here is what we collected from our 2020 Survey comments, along with our latest testimonials. We did not include names for privacy reasons. Overall, the results are very positive, considering that House Sparrows (HOSP) are one of -- if not THE most adaptable bird in the world and can learn to overcome almost anything.

We thank all of you, the approx 15% of our customers who participated in the survey.

________________________________________

The Halo absolutely has improved the situation. We previously had gangs of HOSP then after the first halo, zero. Recently (May/June) I returned to a mixed feed to attract a wider range of birds and we have seen HOSP pairs breach the halo. You definitely need to pay attention to both seed choice and halo configuration. Together you can definitely reduce HOSPs.

I purchased the Deluxe version with two additional wires since I had a very bad infestation. I tried it first without the additional wires and some were bypassing. When I added the additional wires, they quit attempting to access the feeder.

I’m very pleased you decided to manufacture this product!!!

The halo eliminated house sparrows off my hanging tube feeder/squirrel proof cage (weight triggered). It also cut down on the sparrows which come to all my feeders. feeders are in a patio area of 15'x20'. Also stopped grackles and starlings from getting on the feeder. and RWBD still get on but don't stay long. Woodpeckers and Chickadees still come in full force. Halo is a big success!

I do think they are reduced overall. Initially they were greatly reduced but over time, they have figured it out.

I just wanted to let you know how much we love and appreciate the Magic Halo we purchased from you about a year ago. We live in Washington, DC, and I truly thought we were going to have to give up our bird feeders because they were just mobbed by house sparrows all the time and it was so depressing knowing we were feeding them. My husband had basically given up on having bird feeders until I ordered a Magic Halo and I truly cannot believe how well it works. I have never seen a single house sparrow on our feeder, while all the other birds flit happily past the wires. It may be the single most impressive product I have ever bought. Thank you SO MUCH for coming up with this amazing invention.

I must have had 20-30 HOSP per day; filled the bird feeder 3 times each day......found out how stupid I was when I read up on what they do! Now I will see 1 HOSP per every few days or longer. It has made life so much better!!

Works great! Have bought two and they both repel >90% of HOSP. Keep it up!

Although it has very effectively repelled all house sparrows, we are also seeing very few native birds, despite their presence elsewhere in our neighborhood. We're not sure yet if that's the halo, the type of seed, other features of the feeder, etc., so we're going to give it some more time and experiment. We're currently missing the House Sparrows a little because there are no birds to watch!

The product has worked great. Our feed is lasting much longer. Yes you can enter me in the drawing. Thank You!

Magic Halo is a great product and it has held up well through the seasons. The Starling and Squirrel mafias have gotten used to it however and it has gradually become less effective. Still, I am happy to have had it and I think it continues to make some difference.

I was being wiped out by Sparrows. They emptied my large bird feeder daily and shut out other birds from feeding. Since I put in the halo, the Sparrows have disappeared and our native birds are back. Now, if I could only get rid of that rogue squirrel......

The Magic Halo paid for itself in a very short amount of time. I don't have to fill the feeder nearly as often and the other birds have returned.

Wanted to let you know that I'm very happy with our Magic Halo purchase. I've attached a video showing it deterring a house sparrow while a finch dines at the feeder. I have a blog and wrote about it here: https://projectpalermo.com/2020/06/14/orc-week-6-cursing-the-queen-and-hailing-the-halo/

I used it over a bluebird house as sparrow kept moving in. It worked! However, the bluebirds haven't moved in...yet. It might be too early as they haven't moved in to their favorite house location either. BUT the sparrows have been deterred from the one Halo I own.

This was immediately 100% effective. Not one house sparrow has used my main feeder in the 2 weeks since I've been using this. I have gone from having 15-20 house sparrows in my backyard to 3 or 4 (they use my other feeders that don't have halos). This purchase was a last resort for me. Other methods, like switching to safflower, and using cling style feeders, had been ineffective. I'm undecided on whether I would purchase halos for my other feeders, as the house sparrows are down to a reasonable number now, and the halo is a bit unsightly. Maybe one day you could make a slightly more attractive model. Maybe something other than nuts could be used to weigh down the wires. Just an idea. I am overall very happy with the product.

The Magic Halo has been 100% effective in keeping HOSPs off my thistle feeder. Goldfinches, House Finches, Siskins, and Juncos still come to the feeder, but the English Sparrows completely stay away.

It is more than a year now since I attached the Magic Halo to my thistle feeder. I have not had one HOSP on the feeder. Not one, even though there can be as many as 30 on the platform feeder not 20 yards away.

I have two of the halos, when I bought them, the only place I could find them was on eBay. I have five feeders, two halos, so the HOSP still can get to three feeders. Those three feeders are on a Shepherd's hook in the yard. The Halo doesn't fit on it. I would love to see one modified to fit the Shepherd's hook, I could get rid of all the HOSP.

It has worked far better than I had anticipated it would. Totally eliminated my Sparrow problem.

I have noticed a slight dip in all birds to the feeder, but a significant drop in house sparrows. Over all I was happy with my purchase.

Monday, June 29, 2020

Simple leveling procedure for your Magic Halo

Due to loose tolerances in the mfg process of the hook and strap hanger used to hang your Magic Halo on a shepherds hook, it may not hang as level as it should (parallel with the ground). This is something we have little control over, but we are working on a permanent fix for all new Halos going forward.

The easiest workaround may be turning the Halo's feeder hook in a counter-clockwise direction, starting with an approx 1/8 turn. You can also try clockwise, IF there's room to tighten it. If this fails to correct it, try a 1/4 turn, and finally even a half turn (hook opening to the opposite direction).

One of these positions along the way should level off your Magic Halo. It will never hang perfectly level, but should get it close enough. If it is off by more than a few degrees and won't correct regardless, email us a photo so we can develop a fix for you: admin@magichalo.org
Above: The Magic Halo feeder hook (chrome "Classic" model shown). This applies to both "Classic" and "Deluxe" models. Vinyl tip was introduced as a later modification (see HERE).

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Magic Halo Newsletter, Late Spring 2020

Don't forget to enter to win a FREE Magic Halo Regal! Also in this edition, some interesting reading on the effects of wires in repelling birds. Enjoy!

Friday, April 3, 2020

New Instructional Video: Hanging Wire Extenders

The hanger on some tube feeder models is so long that the lowest feeding station(s) ends up at the lowest point of your Magic Halo's hanging wires. If you find HOSP are breaching below the weights (hex nuts) because of this, you may consider adding 6"-12" wire extenders.

If you require a custom length, simply select CUSTOM LENGTH (OPTIONAL) instead, and specify the inches or feet required. These are quickly installed by inserting 1.5" of each wire end through each of your existing hex nut weights (4-6), and twisting them like a wire tie. The below brief video demonstrates the procedure on a hanging wire in our shop. It is CAPTIONS ONLY, there is no audio:

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Magic Halo Newsletter, Spring 2020!

Mod #2 Announced: Brome 30"+ Length Feeders

Extra long tube feeders were not originally considered when we started building Magic Halos in Jan 2018, given the distance from the halo to the lowest feeding station(s). This likely negates any benefit of the "hoop" device itself. Also, the weighted ends of the hanging wires may fall at or above the lowest feeding station(s), making the Magic Halo less or ineffective overall.

That said, we haven't heard from any of our customers about the original 30" hanging wires being a problem for them, and we assume some are using these feeders. Regardless, we have decided to make wire extensions a free modification for users of extra long feeders, e.g. Brome Squirrel Soluntion 200 and Classic/Finch models. See graphic to the right.

For maximum HOSP (House Sparrow) deterrence, said wire ends/nuts should be at least a few inches below -- preferably more. If yours do not, email us at: admin@magichalo.org for extensions that you simply twist tie through each nut. Extensions and shipping are both FREE as long as you include a photo of your feeder w/halo. Note that as of 2019, all new halo orders have no-price difference option of 38" hanging wires, or even longer by special request.


Our 1st modification involved squirrel-proofing; we had a customer whose feeder disconnected from the hook when a squirrel climbed on top of the Halo and launched off upon being spooked. This pushed the crossbar down vertically, causing the feeder to slide off the hook's end. Since that time, all new Magic Halos come with a vinyl tip which will act as a "brake" to prevent that from happening. See our Autumn 2019 newsletter for details including a photo.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Magic Halo Newsletter, Winter 2020

Lots of tips and updates in this edition, folks, so be sure to check it out. Customers who take our results survey can enter for a chance to win a Magic Halo Regal LTD!  --MH Admin

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Take our 2020 Survey and enter to win a FREE Magic Halo Regal!

Our quest for Magic Halo results data continues for 2020 with a brief 5 QUESTION SURVEY. This time, however, participate and enter to win a Limited Edition Magic Halo "Regal". Only 3 of these have been produced. This model has a 3/4" square mission oak crossbar, copper hanger, red galvanized wires, and elegant 1/2oz bulbous weights.

To enter the drawing, simply click on the survey link in bold above and answer 4 brief multiple choice questions. You must include (at least) your name and an email address under "Additional Comments" (NOTE: If you are one of a very few who already took the survey, just email us said info at: admin@magichalo.org). Drawing will be conducted and winner announced via YouTube video in the last week of June 2020!



Monday, February 17, 2020

2 years and 220 Halos later, here's what we've learned so far

NOTE: This article will have ongoing edits and updates with new information as we learn it, so please check back on occasion. If you have any comments, or anything you suggest be added, please comment below the article or email me at: admin@magichalo.org

Magichalo.org sold its very first Magic Halo on Jan 5, 2018, to a customer in an Indiana suburb. As of Feb 2020, we are heading for 225 sold. In that time, only ~15% of buyers have provided feedback thus far, via our brief survey (take the 2020 Survey and enter to win a FREE Magic Halo Regal!). Results indicate that most are successful outcomes, with ~80% reporting most or all HOSP deflected from their feeder(s) as a result of the Halo's hanging wires. No one has ever disputed product quality, or said that it simply did not work, and no one has requested a refund. All of these appear to indicate that overall, the Magic Halo (Classic & Deluxe models) is a success.

In our own experience using halos, we only have a little 0.16 acres of land here in suburban Ogletown Delaware in which to test and document the results. House Sparrows (HOSP) are clearly abundant here, and can be seen in large communal colonies in nearby evergreens or coniferous trees. They appear as bottom feeders (on the ground, below feeders) as well as attempting to use the many nest boxes we provide to native songbirds (we keep these to 1.12" holes, just too small for HOSP to fit through). Therefore, it is reasonable to think that HOSP behavior can be reliably documented here, including where interactions with the Halo is concerned.

Anytime something new is learned, we update our Users Guide to help everyone fine tune and/or make adjustments to help optimize their Halo's performance. We also include a few general tips, including squirrel-proofing and feeder design recommendations. The following is what we have learned so far in our 2 years of using, building and selling Halos, and have updated and/or made additions to said guide as follows (in no particular order):
A properly configured Magic Halo, used with a small
"Squirrel Buster" tube feeder.
  • FIRST, take all precautions to prevent animal damage to your feeder system. The best systems are staked out in the open, baffled, with feeders min. 5' from the ground. They are at least 10' away from garden furniture, bushes, trees, or other objects that squirrels can launch from. Not everyone has this luxury so do the best you can otherwise, including squirrel-proof feeders.
  • Hang the feeder as high and close to the Halo crossbar as possible. We started out selling all of our Halos with standard 31" length hanging wires. We later learned that some of the jumbo sized tube feeders (e.g. Brome, Droll Yankees) were so long that the lowest feeding ports ended up level or even slightly below the weighted hanging wires. The higher and more contained your feeder is inside the Halo, the more effective it will be. To that end, we changed it to 32" length and began offering optional wire extenders. Additionally, you can now choose a 38" wire length option with new Halo orders to ensure the entire feeder is covered.
  • Feeder arrangement(s) that are adjacent to bushes or shrubs may reduce Halo performance. This is a new one for us. In Feb 2020 we observed that HOSP will congregate and use these to launch from close by, helping negate the presence of the hanging wires. It is recommended now that feeder setups and their Halos be placed out in the open, on a shepherds hook(s), where HOSP must fly in from a distance.
  • Seed stream is important and plays a role in successful outcomes. Our happiest customers go with single stream feeding (pure seed types, e.g. black oil sunflower) as opposed to mixed seed that include millet. Some will go with multiple feeders and halos if they wish to offer more than one variety. This reduces waste, since non-native birds -- most notably HOSP and Starlings -- will frantically eject mixed seed and empty the feeder in search of the the one variety they are fixated on.
  • Consider which seed type(s) you are using. HOSP are used to eating garbage, and generally shy away from cracking husks or shells, but they will if desperate. According to Sialis, just switching to black oil sunflower alone can reduce HOSP at your feeder. They also recommend straight safflower, and to stay away from millet. Read about the different types HERE.
  • Wide feeders such as tray feeders or large hopper designs may reduce Halo performance. If any part of your feeder extends out beyond the Halo's hanging wires, HOSP will not have to fly past them and thus may breach. Many users claim, however, that having the wires anywhere near a feeder is enough to fully deter HOSP.
  • Linear (straight) hanging wires are better. Starting at the top, pinch and slide your fingers down each hanging wire, straightening as you go. Do your best to ensure they are straight and not kinked or wavy. We are not clear how much difference this makes, but linear is what the original design calls for, and will provide the most reach. An image of how they should look appears HERE.
  • A few HOSP do appear immune and/or adapted to the Magic Halo. For the first time in our 4 years using halos, we decided to feed through the Summer in 2020. A few female-looking HOSP were seen reaching the feeder, but no males, making them likely juveniles. It has always been emphasized that HOSP juveniles are immune to the Halo's presence, and both sexes appear similar given the male's immature bib. Nowhere on-line is the juvenile to adult timeline defined, therefore, we are uncertain what if any role maturity may be playing, and/or how adults are able to adapt.
  • The Halo's weighted hanging wires appear to be the primary deterrent, less the halo itself. Original University of Nebraska testing of "hoop devices" over feeders did have the hoop (halo) screwed directly into the roof of pole-mounted hopper feeders. With the use of a hanger, it can place the feeder significantly lower. According to the studies, however, the mere idea of stretching wires at intervals apart does act to repel certain species of birds -- most notably HOSP. Our 20" Magic Halo is based on this theory. The official 1990 study paper can be read here in PDF.
  • Try and buy an efficient feeder that doesn't waste seed by design. Do your best not to attract HOSP with abundant seed waste falling to the ground. When a feeder is filled, check that the seed level is not brimming at the feeding port(s) on a tube, or at the perch edge on a hopper (seed levels should be down at least 1/4" from the port edge on a tube and 1/2" on a hopper perch or they will likely overflow under normal use).
  • It is reported that some HOSP may adapt to the Halo by perching on top, then dropping down to the feeder's perch/ports. Only a couple of our customers reported this, and it is a similar habit of HOFI (House Finches). We advised that a piece of garden (or other lightweight) netting be stretched over the Halo perimeter as a counter. We have not been able to confirm this problem here in Ogletown Delaware, and have not heard back on the results.
Resources & Additional Reading:

Lively discussion group on Facebook:
Birdhouses, Feeders & Garden Designs for Native Species

The Spruce:
How to Squirrel-proof a bird feeder
Types of Birdseed for Outdoor Feeders

FeederWatch:
Do feeder halos keep HOSP at bay?

SIALIS:
How to visually identify House Sparrows (HOSP)
Managing House Sparrows
House Sparrow History

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Hopper-Tray Combo Helps Eliminate Seed Waste

Introducing the Hopper-Tray Combo. Our latest idea was to adapt a 9x13 cookie tray to supplement the feeding area to deter whole-seed waste. It provides two levels of containment, ensuring that very little if any seed ends up on the ground uneaten.

The other goal of this feeder was weather protection. We recently tested it through 3" of rain and the seed stayed DRY, the result of a roof design that well overhangs the trough and includes a sealed filler cap.

Unfortunately, it is hard to find a commercial feeder that can make similar claims. Most have poorly designed troughs that spill over, and/or they are hardly rain-proof resulting in wet seed turning to moldy clumps that can sicken birds if left uncleaned.

At MagicHalo.org, our goal is to feed and propagate native birds only, and do it efficiently with minimal waste and effort. To that end, we recommend single-stream feeding (one seed type, e.g. Sun or Safflower, not mixed), and if you prefer more, split them among multiple feeders. Email us anytime if you have any questions or need advice. We're happy to help: admin@magichalo.org




Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Magic Halo 2020 Survey

Our quest for Magic Halo results data continues for 2020 with a brief 5 QUESTION SURVEY. Past surveys have indicated that it does indeed help in deterring House Sparrows (HOSP) from bird feeders. With only about 15% participating, about 80% report 80-100% of HOSP deflected. The results can vary depending on where you live, level of infestation, abundance of nesting sites (juvenile count) and time of year.

Juveniles are usually immune to the Halo's presence, and HOSP can have multiple broods through August each year, Before participating, please read our updated Magic Halo Users Guide to ensure that yours is optimally configured. If you have any questions regarding HOSP identity, please read Sialis' Other Brown Birds. Your input is critical to the future of the Magic Halo as a viable sale item, or how we market it. Therefore, we must continue to collect data on its performance. We can't thank you enough!

Visit FeederWatch.org for a complete description and details about using halos with bird feeders.

Monday, December 16, 2019

New Magic Halo Disclaimer for 2020

We recently added the following disclaimer to our on-line website and store:

We did not invent the concept of halos over bird feeders, and cannot guarantee that it is House Sparrow-proof given the myriad of designs and contexts that they are placed in. Though our survey data is largely favorable, it is also limited to just 15% of our customers who choose to participate. Some of them do report House Sparrows (HOSP) overcoming the Magic Halo and its hanging wires - particularly in times of poor weather and/or desperation. Factors may include nearby structures, the desirability of the food, visibility conditions that sharpen/blur perception of the hanging wires, availability of other food nearby, harshness of Winters, etc.

The original Paper from the University of Nebraska published in 1994 did confirm that Juvenile HOSP are Halo-tolerant, and it is poorly understood at what point they turn adult and how many there are at any given time. HOSP can have multiple broods through August, with parents desperate to feed their young. The study cited 2-11% of HOSP visiting feeders with Halos did manage to breach, including juveniles, leaving an approx 90% success rate. Juveniles are much fewer than adults, but it further confuses the results that one might expect. They can be more abundant in some areas over others. and usually resemble adult females given the male's lack of a fully formed bib.

Before deciding to purchase a Magic Halo, we strongly advise potential customers to read the following from FeederWatch and Sialis first. Attention should also be paid to recommended seed type(s), and to avoid mixing, especially with known HOSP-friendly varieties such as millet.

We appreciate your understanding.

Feed-on, HOSP-free!

In good conscience, we can no longer guarantee "HOSP-proof" in using the Magic Halo over bird feeders. While many users continue to experience excellent results in HOSP elimination, others have observed them overcoming the Halo's presence. In other words, the birds can be unpredictable, with variable behavior patterns from place to place. Then there is the issue of Juveniles. When it all comes down, the success of the product is too subjective to guarantee it.

That said, Seasons Greetings to all of our customers and followers, and we wish you the best for the coming New Year in 2020!

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Flashback: Bird-X "Sparrow-Free Magic Halo" (defunct)

Before we began building and selling feeder halos at MagicHalo.org, there was at least one commercial version offered by a company called "Bird-X". It was 30" in diameter, required assembly of numerous pieces, and used string instead of steel hanging wires. It was marketed as adaptable to both hanging and pole-mounted bird feeders. The 30" design meant that the halo "hoop" had to be opened and brought over and around the shepherds hook, making it more cumbersome than our 20" that fits easily and neatly within.

The original Bird-X ad is still on Amazon, listed as "unavailable", but does not come up in a search. Buyer reviews are mixed, with roughly equal ratings across 5 stars, with the final average of 3 stars. Most 1-2 star reviews say that the halo just didn't work, or stopped working after a week or so, and/or it was cumbersome and difficult to assemble. As expected, 4-5 star reviews say that the product is excellent, and that most or all House Sparrows (HOSP) have been eliminated from their feeder(s).
Assuming the 1-2 star folks did assemble and install this halo correctly, and used the hanging wires (in this case string), one would expect at least some HOSP deterrence, so what was really going on here? That we will never know, and can only ponder how such an opposite pattern of behavior can occur within the same species. (NOTE: One thing we do know; if you're building your own halo, or adding hanging wires to your existing halo, do NOT use string as it invites tangling and injury of birds coming in contact. Steel wire in the 24-gauge (AWG) range resists this potential problem).

Two big problems for Bird-X was the complicated assembly and using "sparrow-free" in their marketing strategy. It produced the highest of expectations, thus setting up many customers (and themselves) for disappointment. For a product like the magic halo, where birds are hardly predictable and are known to vary their habits region to region, such an absolutist approach just wasn't going to work.

Magic Halo "Deluxe" with 6 hanging wires
Therefore, at MagicHalo.org, we took a different approach: build and offer a halo version that's readily assembled, has modest expectations, and includes a juvenile disclaimer (juvenile HOSP are generally immune to halos). Expectations are based on our own survey results indicating that overall, most users experience 80-100% adult HOSP deterrence, or at the very least, that native birds are provided a fairer chance. Since Jan 2018, using this approach, we have sold almost 220 magic halos with what appears widespread customer satisfaction.

In order for us to continue learning about HOSP and halo effectiveness, we need buyer feedback. If you are a MagicHalo.org customer and have not yet taken our 2019 survey, please do so HERE (2 multi-choice Qs and nothing else). Only with your feedback can we accurately describe and market halos to bird feeding enthusiasts. We also remind everyone that we offer enhancements for both our Classic and Deluxe model halos that can help you adjust and/or improve its performance. These include adding additional hanging wires, or lengthening your existing wires.

Note: All new halo buyers are now offered the option of 38" (over 32") length hanging wires to ensure the weights fall below the plain of the feeding ports found near the bottom of jumbo-sized tube feeders. To that end, we sincerely ask for your feedback if you are the user of a Brome, Droll Yankees or other jumbo-size tube feeder with the standard 32". You can take the survey and leave it in the comments field, or email us at: admin@magichalo.org. Thank you so much.

Saturday, September 21, 2019

The Magic Halo Newsletter, Autumn 2019

Lots of tips and updates in this edition, folks, so be sure to check it out. Feed on!  --MH Admin

Latest Testimonials, Fall 2019

I love how you packed the halos in all of the everyday bags and cardboard rolls. I recycled everything! It took two seconds to put the halos together. They are WONDERFUL!!!  ~ Victoria, Mission Viejo, CA

It really works like magic! No more sparrows, only songbirds. Thank you!!  ~Matt, Indianapolis, IN

It works great and has prevented flocks of sparrows from cleaning out all my feeders in a day. Yes, the occasional rebel braves the wires, but most of his or her buddies are content to eat whatever falls to the ground.  ~Bob, Providence, RI

Thank you so much! This item was perfect and arrived super fast!  ~Kim, Bolingbrook, IL

Thanks for restoring the joy of bird feeding that is diminished when all you attract are dozens of sparrows who take over the whole feeding station. ~Tom, Madison, NJ

Friday, September 20, 2019

Simple modification guards against feeder disconnect

Squirrel-proofing was not really considered when we started building Magic Halos in Jan 2018. However, we just heard from a customer that their feeder disconnected from the hook as a result. A squirrel climbed on top of the Halo, then launched off when spooked. This pushed the crossbar down vertically, causing the feeder to slide off the hook's end. Since that time, all new Magic Halos come with a vinyl tip which will act as a "brake" to prevent that from happening.

If you are having this issue, let us know at: admin@magichalo.org

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Updated Magic Halo User Guide

Male Juvenile House Sparrow (HOSP).
Click on image above for more photos.
As we head toward late Summer 2019, a revision came due for our Magic Halo on-line User Guide. 1.5 years and 180 halos later, we have learned a lot about the results and what customers are experiencing. If you haven't already, please re-read/review this guide for a number of valuable tips and troubleshooting techniques. If your halo isn't meeting your expectations, the answer can usually be found below and on our website HERE.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

The following will help you adjust, and/or make changes in order to optimize your Magic Halo's performance. It will also help limit birdseed waste and thus reduce cost. But first and foremost, please visit Sialis' Other Brown Birds page to make absolutely sure you are not confusing adult House Sparrows (HOSP) with other similar native species. In terms of what to expect, please read this article from Feeder Watch.

NOTE: Juvenile HOSP may not be deterred, having not yet learned the "danger" of the hanging wires. Usually, these aren't many, however, some users have reported large numbers of “juvies” during the breeding season and into Summer. Also, HOSP may begin tolerating the halo in poor weather or desperation. Please see our 2020 disclaimer for details.

TIPS & ADVICE:
  • First: Make sure your pole & hook system is squirrel-proof, by using a baffle mounted about 4' high from the ground. Also place it as far into the open as possible, as squirrels can leap as far as 10' from the nearest fence, tree, or other objects. It is best to make sure your feeder is at least 5 feet from the ground, as squirrels can jump almost that high. Visit "The Spruce" for an excellent article on the subject.
  • Feeder arrangements that are adjacent to bushes or shrubs may weaken Halo performance. We have observed HOSP congregate and use these to launch from close by, helping negate the presence of the hanging wires. It is recommended now that feeder setups and their Halos be placed out in the open, on a shepherds hook(s), where HOSP must fly in from a distance.
  • When installing your Magic Halo, hang the feeder as high and close to the hanger as possible. Many feeders have a needlessly long tether, and this may cause the lower portions of the feeder to hang below the plane of the vertical wire nuts. If the tether can be shortened, by either looping or knotting it, it is best to do so as the 20" hoop (the halo itself) is part of the deterrence system. The more contained your feeder is inside the Halo, the more effective. If necessary, consider lengthening the hanging wires. We carry these simple wire extenders for the purpose.
  • Straiten the hanging wires: Run your fingers down each vertical wire, pinching the entire length, to ensure they are straight and not bent or wavy. We are not clear how much difference this makes, but the original halo was intended for use with these being as linear as possible.
  • Try using a corral, or "hopper" design bird feeder instead of a tube. It is thought that halos can work more effectively depending on the type of feeder used. This short video, however, shows it working excellent with a tube feeder.
  • Consider feeding only one seed type per feeder, as opposed to mixing it. Birds often become food-fixated and if your seed is the mixed variety, they will dig and dig looking for just that one seed they want -- spilling everything else in the process. We typically have two main feeders: black oil sunflower in one and safflower in the other. Both of these alone discourage HOSP, given their reluctance to crack husks.
  • Consider which seed type(s) you are feeding. HOSP are used to eating garbage, and as mentioned above, aren't used to cracking husks to get at it. According to Sialis, just switching to black oil sunflower alone can eliminate most HOSP from your feeder unless they are desperate. They also recommend straight safflower.
  • If you find that adult HOSP are adapting to your Halo by perching on top, and then dropping down behind the wires, consider covering the hoop with pond netting, By request, we can send you a pre-cut section that will fit neatly over the Halo with ~1" overlap. Small tie wraps or the vertical wire hangers/clips themselves can be used to fasten it in place. We find this to be an infrequent issue, but a few users have reported it.
  • Finally, if adult HOSP still continue to breach your Magic Halo, adding 2 more hanging wires (for a total of 6) may be your best bet. The "Deluxe" model is designed for additional wires, and the "Classic" can be readily adapted (instruction video HERE). 
If you continue to have issues (< 2/3 deflection) after taking the precautions above, contact us anytime at admin@magichalo.org to discuss a path forward.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Magic Halo Newsletter, August 2019

Please take our very brief 2-question survey about your Halo's performance. Simply click on the bar graph image below. Feed on, everyone!