Whether you’re an avid birdwatcher or just a fan of backyard nature, adding a bird feeder to your home can make your outdoor space a hotspot for local wildlife!
But, no two bird feeders are the same – and believe it or not, which one you choose might make a big difference to which wildlife shows up. In fact, choosing poorly could result in a backyard full of pests like squirrels and rats rather than new feathered friends.
Keep reading to learn more about the different types of bird feeders, and decide which one is right for you.
The Different Types of Bird Feeders Explained
Exactly which feeder is best for your home will likely depend on where you live. Different regions are home to different bird species – and of course, each has its own diet and feeding patterns.
But, no matter which birds you’re trying to attract, you’ll want to start with a high-quality feeder and seed. Some enthusiasts use more than one feeder type in their yard to attract a variety of different species.
This is a classic design ideal for areas prone to rainy and snowy weather, as their design helps to keep your seed fresh and dry.
Hopper feeders are typically covered with a roof and enclosed on all sides – and it isn’t uncommon to see them dressed up to look like barns or cute country cottages. Because this is a top filling feeder with exposed troughs on either side, it can become a target for squirrels if hung between their reach.
Your hopper feeder will likely be visited by larger backyard species like mourning doves, woodpeckers, and grosbeaks.
Because tube feeders do not typically have an overhanging roof, they are best for warm, dry climates.
This feeder style is a vertical mesh tube with some totally closed off areas and others where small beaks can access the seed. And, some of these models come with a design feature to deter larger birds and squirrels. When a heavy animal lands on the feeder, its exterior slides down, blocking access to the food inside.
Tube feeders attract a lovely variety of small birds, including house finches, chickadees, and cardinals.
Using the most basic of feeder designs, these open platforms offer no protection from the elements. If you live in an area prone to rain or humidity, it is essential that you choose a model with a mesh bottom – this will prevent mold and spoiled seed.
Platform feeders are simple open troughs of seed with a completely open surface that birds can land and eat on. Unfortunately, this makes platform feeders especially prone to squirrel raids.
Your platform feeder will likely attract larger species like mourning doves and grackles, as well as ground-feeders like dark-eyed juncos. And, if you’re one of the rare people who actually like to see squirrels in your yard, you can offer their favorite meal on the platform – dried ears of corn.
Sugar Water Feeder
Sugar water feeders can be used in all climates and regions – just keep in mind their tendency to attract pollinators other than hummingbirds. In some areas, bees and wasps may be drawn to them.
These liquid-filled feeding stations are used to hold sugar water – a hummingbird’s favorite meal. And, if you’re lucky, other exciting animals like fruit bats may visit your sugar water feeder, as well.
While you’ll see plenty of neon red liquid sold as hummingbird food, these products aren’t best for the birds. Instead, mix up a blend of one part sugar to four parts water. That way, your feathered friends can enjoy their meals without artificial coloring or preservatives.
Are you hoping to attract one specific species? In some cases, you’ll need to buy a special feeder!
For larger birds like blue jays, nuthatches, and woodpeckers – opt for a peanut feeder. These woven metal baskets come in a variety of shapes that you simply load with peanuts in their shells. This type of feeder can also attract squirrels galore.
Fruit feeders can be used to attract species like orioles, grosbeaks, and catbirds. This style offers multiple platforms where fruit can be offered, and it’s best to leave a selection out for these finicky eaters. Oranges, grape jelly, and apples are all attractants.
Finch feeders use superfine mesh to hold the minuscule black thistle seed that finches love. They also offer a series of tiny horizontal perches where the finches can rest and relax while they eat.
No matter which of these bird feeders suits your yard best, you’ll still need to be choosy about where you shop. Poorly manufactured feeders will most likely wear out in a season or two, leaving you high and dry.
Nature Niche offers an outstanding variety of feeders for all your favorite birds, plus birdhouses, birdbaths, and other outdoor accessories for your yard.
Start Backyard Birdwatching
Now that you know a bit more about the different types of bird feeders out there, it’s time to start shopping. Keep this article handy as a guide, and you’re guaranteed to wind up with the perfect model. And, don’t forget to pick up some high-quality birdseed for your new feathered friends, too!
Then you can grab your binoculars, camera, or birding book, sit back, and enjoy the show.
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