What’s This Post About?
If you want to attract various small chirping birds to your beautiful yard then the easiest way is to put a bird feeder for them. However, with a lot of types of bird feeders available in the market, it gets really hard for you to decide on one for them.
You need to gather the right information to purchase the most suitable bird feeder for your favorite bird considering all the benefits of each type. Several people have been searching for an answer to the question of ‘how to choose the right kind of bird feeder?’ and here’s our take on this.
You can select a bird feeder by deciding the species of bird you are intending to feed because they have different eating preferences. You have to consider things like the feeder’s shape, size of feed outlet, hanging location, and type of feed. For feeding the majority of birds, you can consider tray feeders.
What are the General Types of Bird Feeders?
You can create a better bird-friendly environment if you place more than one type of bird feeder in your garden.
The types of bird feeders include Tray or Platform Feeders, Hopper or House Feeders, Windows Feeders, Tube Feeders and Suet Feeders.
There are a wide variety of birds having different kinds of preferences for eating from the bird feeders. Some birds eat from the seed feeder while others prefer nectar. You can choose the bird feeder according to the type of species you want to attract.
However, many other factors need to be considered before getting a bird feeder. These factors include the location of placing the bird feeder, the bird feeder’s material, the shape of the feeder, the size or capacity of holding seed, and its durability. The few general types of feeders are listed below.
You can maintain a safe and predator-free environment for the tiny birds coming to your garden by hanging or placing any type of feeder under some roof. A lot of large birds will be unable to dive on your small birds this way while they munch on the feed.
1. Tray or Platform Feeders
It is one of the most preferred types of bird feeder as it covers a wide variety of seed-eating birds. Common birds like pigeons, house sparrows, and starlings including native sparrows prefer eating from this type of bird feeder.
However, tray or platform feeders do not offer any kind of protection or cover to these birds and the seeds from snow and rain.
Moreover, it also does not offer a drainage system in case of water entering the feeder due to rain making the seeds wet enough that they might sprout or catch some bacterial or fungal growth.
The best type of tray feeders is one that has perforated bottoms rather than solid ones to allow complete drainage.
Here’s a Tray Feeder rated 4.1 out of 5 stars that you can explore for your backyard.
This sturdy platform tray bird feeder is easy for the birds to access, and appeal to the widest variety of species.
2. Hopper/House Feeders
Hopper or House Feeders are made to protect the seed from any kind of weather and bird droppings that might cause bacterial or fungal growth. It also attracts different types of birds including cardinals, grosbeak finches, sparrows, and buntings. Not only birds, but it attracts squirrels as well.
Unlike tray feeders, you will not have to change the seeds or feed every day because they can last for several days. It is one of the most preferred types of feeders as it is very convenient.
Here’s a House Feeder rated 4.5 out of 5 stars that you can explore for your backyard.
Thanks for the 2-way design, you can hang the feeder on a pole or other outdoor spaces with our hanging hook
3. Windows Feeders
These are very attractive and very convenient types of feeders. It can be described as a small plastic feeder which is affixed on your glass window with the help of suction cups.
Another type of window feeder is the one that hooks into the window frame which is also known as a platform feeder.
The aesthetic benefit of having window feeders is that they allow you to watch a close-up view of birds through your window. Moreover, it is also very safe for the bird as it prevents the fast-speed collision of birds like hummingbirds.
However, the seed in such a type of feeder needs to be changed every day to maintain cleanliness. Here’s a Window Feeder rated 4.6 out of 5 stars that you can explore for your backyard.
Here’s a Window Feeder rated 4.5 out of 5 stars that you can explore for your backyard.
Watch Wild Birds up close while they feed right from your livingroom, kitchen, den or family room windows.
4. Tube Feeders
Tube feeders are very easy to maintain because they remain clean and dry if they are made with metal feeding ports. They also remain protected from quarrel invasion until squirrels chew through the plastic tube.
The type of bird that you are going to attract may depend upon the size of perches. With this type of feeder, you can offer small Nyjer seeds and various other larger seeds. The drawback of feeding ports is that they can cause the seed to stick up in the hole and cause mold and bacterial growth.
Tube feeders also require high maintenance. Here’s a Tube Feeder rated 4.2 out of 5 stars that you can explore for your backyard.
Feed and watch wild birds in your own backyard! GrayBunny Green Classic Tube Feeder is great for attracting smaller birds
5. Suet Feeders
This type of feeder is made with plastic coated wire or simple wire mesh. They can be hanged on any tree trunk or affixed side by side on a Hopper feeder. The variety of birds that this type of feeder attracts include woodpeckers, chickadees, jays, starlings, titmice, and nuthatches.
However, some of the starlings might not prefer eating from such a type of feeder if they are having trouble perching this way. The majority of people have this concern that the metal wires of the suet feeder can cause bird eyes or tongues to stick to the metal.
However, according to the study, it rarely or never happens. Here’s a Suet Feeder rated 4.7 out of 5 stars that you can explore for your backyard.
Holds a single suet cake to provide food and energy to birds during cold months when food is scarce
What are the Factors to Consider before Choosing the Right Kind of Bird Feeder?
Birds have a diet of eating seeds half their weight per day. Always go for a feeder that can hold 2 lbs of seed or more than that.
There can be several factors that can affect your choice of a bird feeder. For instance, if you are a person who loves a certain type of bird and wants to invite the majority of those birds then there are different categories of bird feeders. However, if you are more concerned about safety and other factors then you might opt for the other type.
1. Shape of Seed Container
In different types of feeders like tube feeders, it depends upon the material of the container or cylinder which contains the seed that what kind of feed it can accommodate.
For instance, if your feeder is made with very small and tiny plastic-coated wire mesh then it can only hold small size thistle seeds that do not pass through easily falling and also are pickable by birds.
However, there are a few feeders that have feeding ports along with the purchase. This type of feeder is most preferred by the birds that like to feed on perch. It includes finches, buntings, cardinals, bluebirds, and titmice.
Moreover, some feeders have a central cylinder that is filled with food along with slits at the bottom. They work with gravity and can attract any kind of bird because of the simple design.
The other common shape type is tray-shaped feeders. In such types of feeders, the seeds have to simply be placed on the tray open to any bird and other animals. It is very basic and simple that it does not even have any storage area for the seeds.
2. Location of Feeders
It is another factor that has to be considered as different birds prefer different locations. One of the most famous locations for bird feeders is the windows. Window feeders are very safe for all kinds of birds as it prevents collision, and they are also aesthetically beautiful.
The other option is on the ground through tray feeders which can be placed anywhere in your yard so that ground-feeding birds can enjoy their meal.
Birds like cardinals, juncos mourning doves, and grosbeaks get attracted to such types of feeders. These can also be installed a few inches above the ground so that they become a little safer.
Are you fed up with cats attacking the visiting birds though? If yes, a suitable location in such a case for bird feeders is hanging on them on tree trunks or under a roof which can prevent both flying predators and cats from attacking small birds like hummingbirds.
3. Type of Feed
The type of feed can be categorized into three basic states of feed. Solid feed like seeds and liquid feed like nectar is the major type of feed preferred by a variety of birds. However, some birds also prefer Jelly-like substances as their feed. Nectar feeders are most suitable for hummingbirds who prefer sugar water instead of seeds.
Feeders like not nuts and nibble feeders offer food in a metallic mesh container which is popular for feeding peanuts to different species like woodpeckers, and nuthatches. Basic seed features are most suitable for a different-sized seed that allow you to put sunflower seeds and various other seeds for sparrows, finches, and siskins.
Some birds like fruits just like you! So, there’s this type of feeder that can accommodate half-cut fruits so that it can attract different beautiful birds. Fruits like oranges and various other citruses can attract many tiny birds.
Never forget to discard the old seed every time you fill it up with the new ones so that you can prevent fungal or bacterial growth. Once the tub catches such contamination, it gets really difficult to clean it properly.
4. Size of Feeder
You must get a feeder that has a container having the capacity to hold about 2lbs of seed. It might be surprising for you to read this but birds usually eat a lot more than you expect them to eat and that is half their weight every day. Hence, it gets pretty obvious that you’ll have to get a feeder with good capacity and storage size.
However, if you are feeding some very small birds, then you can also have a smaller feed size without having to move out to the yard twice a day.
We know you are excited to feed your favorite bird through a bird feeder however you have to be very careful while deciding the most suitable feeder for them.
You must consider the type of birds you want to attract to the feeder and buy one accordingly. Every bird eats differently, so you learn their needs and choose a feeder that suits them. Most birds will happily feed on tray feeders.
In this blog, we have categorized all the types of feeders that you can consider according to your preferences. We hope this blog helps you find the right feeder for your backyard birds.
In case you’re a hummingbird lover, read our blog on where to hang hummingbird feeders.
Do you wonder which is the right place where you can hang your hummingbird feeder? Find a place in your backyard, 10-15 feet near a tree.
David A. Swanson
Bird Watching USA
My name is David and I'm the the founder of Bird Watching USA! I started Bird Watching with My father-in-law many years ago, and I've become an addict to watching these beautiful creatures. I've learnt so much over about bird watching over the years that I want to share with the world everything I know about them!