Bird feeders are the solution if you want to swiftly draw birds to your yard. If you haven’t already, you may even start being a birdwatcher as it is the second most popular outdoor hobby in the U.S. behind gardening.
Like nothing else, a feast of seeds and suet entices birds from the safety of trees and bushes. During the summer, parents will lead their young birds to the feeders so you may see them being fed. You can quickly see finches perched inches from your window if you hang a thistle feeder there.
Many different species may congregate at your feeders in the winter. Your birdfeeders could be the difference between life and death for certain birds when the ground is covered with snow.
Not every bird feeder is the same. Each feeder, aside from the remarkable and occasionally lovely designs you will discover on the market, is intended to distribute a certain kind of food and will attract various species.
Want to feed some finches? Then you should get a thistle feeder. A suet feeder will work effectively to draw woodpeckers. A screened platform feeder, which keeps seed dry and clean, will be appreciated by ground-feeding birds including mourning doves, sparrows, and juncos.
Larger birds can be accommodated by a tubular feeder with big openings. To observe orioles and hummingbirds, hang a nectar feeder. (Remember, though, that you won’t draw in species that don’t normally live there!)
There are several varieties of suet feeders. The suet cage on this type of feeder is fastened to a tall wooden platform, providing woodpeckers with a place to support their tails. Additionally, nuthatches, chickadees, wrens, and jays will be drawn to a suet bird feeder. Here is a recipe for homemade suet.
I would pick a hopper-style bird feeder if I could only have one in my yard. Hoppers are ideal for storing a generic mix of bird food that is tasty to many different species. A hopper serves as a good focal point around which other feeders may be built if you were going to design a bird feeding station.
Hopper feeders include a seed chamber that continuously releases food at the bottom as birds consume it and a working lid to prevent water from damaging your seed.
Last but not least, this feeder design typically has a shelf or other ledge for birds to sit on on both sides, however this is not a necessary since some hoppers feature perch bars in place of a shelf.
Finally, hopper feeders can be permanently fixed on a pole or hanging. Hopper may grow heavy when full with seed, so if you want to suspend in the air, make sure whatever you hang the feeder on is very robust and stable.
Tube feeders can be suspended from a support or installed on a pole with a baffle below. They include big apertures for distributing seeds, a variety of sizes, and perches for birds to sit on while eating. Some have a tray connected to the bottom to catch seeds that may fall.
Cardinals and other bigger birds can perch on the tray to consume dropped seeds. Several distinct species may be drawn using black-oil sunflower seeds. Mixtures of birdseed will also work in these feeders, although the majority of ground-feeding birds are the ones that prefer them. Instead, think about using a ground feeder for them.
Additionally, there is sometimes more wasted seed since birds spread it as they look through the mixture for their preferred seeds.
Platform Feeders Are Used for Larger Birds
Larger birds like mourning doves and pigeons, ground feeders like the dark-eyed junco, and tiny seed-eaters like sparrows and starlings all benefit greatly from platform or tray feeders.
They may rest directly on a flat surface or hang from a hook.
If you use a platform feeder, check to see if the bottom has drainage holes or a mesh layer. The seeds might either decay or grow in that case.
Empty the old seed from a tray feeder before restocking it with just enough new seed to last one or two days.
These feeders don’t keep the seed in the same way as the majority of conventional bird feeders since they were made particularly for hummingbirds. Instead, they provide nectar in a sealed container and have tiny openings for hummingbirds to beak through.
A significant issue with a hummingbird feeder is that it frequently draws ants. Ant guards that block ants from using the feeder should be purchased.
If not, they frequently fall into the nectar holes and finish up floating in the nectar. To prevent the formation of bacteria, be sure to regularly clean your hummingbird feeder.
Typically constructed like tubes, peanut feeders can hold either in-shell or out-of-shell peanuts. Here’s a tutorial for making a homemade peanut bird feeder. However, they can also be seen in rounded, wreath-like forms.
Large holes in these kinds of bird feeders make it difficult for birds (and occasionally squirrels) to eat the peanuts. Peanut feeders are a favorite of blue jays, nuthatches, tufted titmice, and woodpeckers in particular. Want to get near to birds? Try a bird feeder in your window!
Tray / Platform Feeders
I stand corrected, though. Now that I have tray feeders all over my yard, they are one of the most well-liked feeders there. They frequently draw interest from a WIDE range of animals. Many birds appreciate having lots of room to walk about as they feed, including Northern Cardinals and Blue Jays.
Tray/platform feeders are available in a huge variety of sizes, shapes, and designs. They can be positioned on the ground, mounted on a pole, or hanging. Tube feeders may be upgraded with trays. Overhead roofs have been erected on certain platform feeders. There are wooden trays and plastic trays.
I utilize TWO separate tray feeders in my backyard, which you can see here. Additionally, the “Tube Feeder” part below (#3) has a third tray.
The very tiny seed known as thistle can be dispensed through tiny apertures in thistle feeders. Thistle just pours out of an ordinary tube feeder when filled with it. Thistle, commonly known as Niger seed or Nyjer, is not actually a thistle.
You won’t see thistle plants growing under the feeder since the seed is burned to prevent germination. It comes from a native Ethiopian plant. Thistle is beloved by Goldfinches and Pine Siskins. Other birds that consume thistle include House Finches, Purple Finches, Juncos, many sparrows, and Mourning Doves. Typically, squirrels don’t.
Mealworm Feeders Are for Bluebirds and Other Insect-Eaters
Try hanging a tiny domed feeder or glass dish stocked with live mealworms to draw in insect-eating birds like bluebirds, thrushes, and wrens.
All year long, these birds consume mealworms, and during the breeding season, they bring them to the nest to feed the young.
Mealworms can be the difference between life and death for little birds when the weather is cold and damp.
Investing in an attachment that converts an empty Coke bottle into a bird feeder is a fun option to install bird feeders in your garden, especially if you’re on a tight budget.
When the soda bottle is filled and then flipped upside down, the seed will pour out onto a tray thanks to this little adapter, which screws into the mouth of the bottle. These bird feeders are very simple to fill, and if you pick a glass container, it will be easy to tell how much seed is still in the feeder.
As long as you still have the connection, replacing your soda bottle bird feeder should just be a little inconvenience and cost.
Nyjer Finch Feeder
Tube feeders and nyjer feeders have a very similar appearance, and I almost combined the two into one group. In the end, I changed my mind since there is a significant distinction between the two categories.
Nyjer bird feeders were created because nyjer seed can pass through gaps that other feeds cannot because of its tiny size. Nyjer feeders are tube-shaped feeders with small feeding openings that can only accommodate nyjer seeds. There will be hungry birds if you try to place sunflower seeds in a nyjer feeder!
Nyjer seed is sometimes frequently referred to as “thistle,” although having no resemblance to genuine thistles. Nyjer seed is a small, dark seed that is often used because goldfinches love to eat it! A few other species of birds, including house finches, chickadees, doves, and house sparrows, will also consume nyjer.
A platform feeder becomes a ground feeder when legs are added. For species that like feeding on the ground, they keep seed that is clean and dry off the ground. To attract juncos, sparrows, and other birds, scatter white millet on it. Birds like cracked corn, including doves, ducks, quail, and jays.
If you want to provide your birds a secure place to dine without worrying about a squirrel devouring all of the seed you have put out, caged bird feeders are great. The feeder is often surrounded by bars.
Because of this, the birds can fly in and out to get to the seed, but squirrels can’t because of the cage’s tiny openings. Although the main purpose of these feeders was to keep squirrels away, they are also quite effective at preventing bigger birds from consuming all of the seed you put out for songbirds.
Anyone who installs a nectar feeder does so primarily to draw hummingbirds.
It’s quite wonderful to see hummingbirds in your backyard. These adorable, vibrant little birds have a lot of character, yet they are exceedingly rare. Everyone wants more in their garden, so it makes sense!
Due to their widespread use, nectar feeders are available in a wide range of forms, dimensions, and building materials. Some feeders are as basic as a plastic dish with a lid (which I believe work the best! ), some resemble bottles (see photo above), and several are so distinctive and artistic that they serve more as garden decorations than genuine hummingbird feeders.
Orioles will drink sugar water from nectar feeders if the holes are large enough, but they will also consume nectar from nearly any flower that produces it in the wild.
They appreciate fruit as well, so you may mix the two by giving them grape jelly in an accessible jar. They’ll happily munch at it, too, if you place a juicy piece of orange on the wire that hangs there.
The best bird feeders are mounted ones since you never have to worry about them falling off a pole or being damaged in any other way.
You may normally hang a bird feeder in a variety of locations, such along the railing of your porch or on a stump in the yard, depending on your yard and where you want it to be. You can keep the birds near by doing this so that you can see them well.
It’s critical to place your bird feeder properly to prevent wind-driven overturning, seed spillage, or unintentional knocking down by a larger animal. The proper mounting hardware is often included with mounted bird feeders, so you won’t have to worry about doing this chore correctly.
Specialty & Unique
The majority of the birds that visit your garden will be satisfied with the varieties of bird feeders we have discussed so far.
However, we have only begun to scrape the surface of the numerous varieties of bird feeders that can be purchased. Numerous designs would bring something special to your garden or provide a specialized cuisine (such as mealworms).
Here are a few instances of speciality bird feeders I own and use at various times of the year:
But the other varieties of bird feeders that are available are so many that this only scratches the surface. You may learn about the variety of feeder types by visiting any bird feed retailer or doing an internet search.
There has undoubtedly been a bird feeder made for everything you can think of!
Check out my article on the BEST bird feeders in my backyard if you have learnt about the many types of bird feeders and are ready to buy. It follows the same style hierarchy as this post.