Bird feeders are used to attract and feed the wild birds in your backyard or garden. A good bird feeder should have a strong structure that can withstand bad weather and small animals like squirrels and cats, it should be assembled, installed and cleaned easily. But these are the basic knowledge to choose your right bird feeder. To have more variety of birds to eat and have fun in your yard, you may need to provide some different kinds of bird feeders to suit different bird species. You will actually find some bird species like to use one kind of bird feeder more than others. So, to have more fun with your wild birds, you need to have an idea about bird feeder types.
- Tray Feeder
Tray feeders are the simplest bird feeders, these trays with bird foods attract the widest variety of seed-eating birds like pigeons, starlings, grosbeaks and sparrows. Tray feeders are usually offering no protection against rain and strong wind. Rain may sprout the seeds or foster fungal growth on the bird food. The wind would blow the bird food away or make the food everywhere in your yard. So some drainage holes would be made on the tray to let go the water and have high surrounding edge to stop the food inside the tray. Please be noted not to put the food full of the tray, otherwise the birds would also make the foods out of the tray to be everywhere of your yard. Just fill food at half of the tray every one day or two.
Tray feeders can be suspended under a tree with wires, or put on the ground. Better to have a roof to resist weather.
- Tube Feeder
Bird feeder in the form of a hollow tube can not only keep the bird food dry and clean, but also stop quirrels from stealing the bird foods. You can choose the size of the perches under the feeding ports according to the birds species that mostly appear nearby. Small sized perches are for small birds like sparrows, titmice, chickadees and grosbeaks while larger species like grackles and jays are excluded. The feeders are filled with nyjer seeds or larger seeds dending on the size of the feeding ports. Also, you should choose big or small tube feeders according to the quantity of the birds that would go to your yard/garden. A small model cannot handle lots of birds, but the big model would have some bird foods left and kept a long time to sprout or foster bacterial growth when there are only several birds.
Empty the old bird foods first before adding new food inside the tube. The old foods may be there in the bottom for a long time and spoil.
- Suet Feeder
Suet feeders are usually constructed with wires in a form of cage with seed cakes inside that are mainly for woodpeckers, nuthatches, chickadees, titmice, jays and starlings. Such a feeder stucture helps to keep squirrels and cats out. Suet feeders can be nailed or tied to a tree trunk / a post, or suspended under a tree.
The metal wires come with some saftey issues. The sharp ends of the wires should bended and hiden. The metal wires are better to be coated with plastic in case the birds’ tongues or eyes stick to the metal. Avoid using mesh onion bags to be suet feeders which would be possible to entangle the birds’ feet or toes and lead to the birds’ death.
Nyjer Feeder (Tube Feeder and Thistle Sock)
- Nyjer Feeder
Nyjer feeders are especially for goldfinches, pine siskins and redpolls. There are mainly two forms of nyjer feeder: tube feeders with tiny feeding ports and “thistle socks” for birds cling to extract the seeds. The nyjer feeders are simple but with a big capacity of seeds, this is good for the area with lots of finches. But when it’s a rainy day, the seed would become very wet and you need to take the seeds off before raining or replace the wet seeds with dry seeds in case of spoiling. Another good point for the nyjer feeders is that the squirrels are not interested in nyjer seeds.
- Hopper Feeder
This kind of bird feeder is really a luxury one for wild birds, it looks like a “house” and protects bird food fairly well against bird droppings and bad weather like raining and snowing. Hopper feeders are attractive to most of the feeder birds, including sparrows, finches, cardinals, jays, buntings, grosbeaks and chickadees. The hoppers can hold lots of seeds that feed the birds for a few days, this is really convenient for the owner. Squirrels like to find foods in hopper feeders, you need to have a squirrel baffle installed on the feeder if you don’t want to feed them.
- Window Feeder
Window feeders are made of clear plactic and affixed to window glass with two or three suction cups. This kind of feeder make us able to view the beautiful birds closely. Window feeders attract finches, sparrows, chickadees and titmice. It’s convenient to access the feeders for filling and cleaning. The owner may need to place a paper or something else under the feeder on the windowsill to take the brid droppings.