How To Attract Wild Birds To Your Backyard Feeders And Plants

Different Types Of Bird Feeders

Tube feeder

Bird eating at tube feederA tube, usually made of clear plastic, which dispenses seed through several holes along the length of the tube. Each hole comes with a perch so the birds can get to the seed, and the size of the perch determines what kinds of birds will visit. Small perches keep the feeder limited to small birds such as chickadees and finches, whereas larger perches might become dominated by larger birds such as Blue Jays.

Nyjer Feeders

You can use any regular seed mix in tube feeders, although there is a distinct style of tube feeder with feeding ports designed for nyjer (thistle) seeds, which are smaller than the seeds found in the most common seed mixes. Nyjer is especially popular with finches.

Hopper Feeders

A tray feeder improved with walls and a roof, offering some protection from rain. This type of feeder will also attract a large variety of species.

Hummingbird feeders

Usually colored bright red with feeding ports shaped like flowers, since hummingbirds are most attracted to red flowers. These feeders contain sugar water, which is close enough to the hummingbird’s staple of flower nectar. Although hummingbirds are typically the only birds that drink here, it is not uncommon to have Orioles visit as well.

Suet Feeders

A wire mesh cage holding suet, a mixture of fat, seeds, and berries. Because fat is high in energy, suet is especially beneficial to birds in winter. Woodpeckers, chickadees, and nuthatches are particularly fond of suet. The best places to hang suet feeders are along the sides of hopper feeders or on tree trunks.

Suet feeders hold cakes of different varieties and are quite popular with birds.   Try the upside down varieties to avoid certain birds from consuming the entire suet cake.   Suet can either be bought at the store or easily made at home.

Tray Feeders

This is the simplest type of feeder, a raised, open platform. Nearly any seed-eating bird, small or large, will be interested in this arrangement, although this could be a negative given that it might be taken over by aggressive invasives such as House Sparrows or starlings. This type of feeder provides little protection from the elements, and since the seed gets wet whenever it rains, you need to be careful that mold doesn’t start growing.

Cleaning Feeders

Regardless of the type of feeder, it is important to clean regularly and change out any old seed that doesn’t get eaten. This keeps mold from growing, and it also helps prevent the spread of avian diseases. If the feeder is on a pole, it is usually necessary to put up a squirrel guard, since squirrels usually don’t like sharing with the birds. Also, avoid placing feeders below or next to tree branches where squirrels might be able to jump off from. Be sure that there are no dense shrubs right next to the feeder from which cats might be able to ambush birds feeding on seed spilled on the ground.


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