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Saving the seeds for smaller birds, and keeping fireplace smoke in itsplace

Resident Expert

Q we have lots of wee birds eating from our feeder - until the jays chase them away. Is there a bird feeder just for small birds?

- D.S., San Rafael, Calif.

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A A number of companies make such feeders, says Chris Ridley of For the Birds in Concord, Mass. These are made of a tube in which the seed is placed, surrounded by 1-1/2 inch mesh, allowing small birds to enter but not larger ones. Some brands: Vari-Craft and Dun-Kraft.

Mr. Ridley says it's a good idea to keep feeding birds throughout the spring when food supplies are still short. Seeds provide energy for adult birds caring for chicks. It's a myth that birds will become dependent on the feeders, Ridley says.

Q I have a chimney that doesn't draw correctly. What can I do?

- M.W., Palo Alto, Calif.

A Many smoke problems are caused by houses that are too well insulated and don't have enough oxygen circulating to feed the fire, says Diana Nestor of Classic Chimney Sweeps in Lexington, Mass. Before starting a fire, she recommends rolling a newspaper, lighting it, and holding it up the flue. This will warm the flue and attract smoke. If the problem persists, open the window closest to the fireplace one inch. This pulls cool air in, forming a barrier in front of the fire. The cold air causes the smoke to go up the warm flue.

Readers: Pose your questions and we'll seek out experts on home repairs, gardens, food, and family legal issues. Send queries to the Homefront Editor,

The Christian Science Monitor, One Norway Street, Boston, MA 02115 or e-mail

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CORRECTION In a Fridge item for the March 31 Monitor, one of two organizations that issue international drivers permits was incorrectly listed. In addition to the American Automobile Association, IDPs can be obtained from the American Automobile Touring Alliance.

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