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Birding Basics Seed Preferences Feeder Types

Feeder Types

There are several types of birdfeeders available to feed your birds. Feeders can be as simple as a tray with seed in it, or very fancy with seating for a dozen or more. Your choice of feeders plays almost as big a role as your choice of food when it comes to what birds you’ll attract.

Platform Feeder

The most basic form of feeders is a platform, usually a simple tray with raised edges fashioned from plywood. Try a platform not more than one foot off the ground. Sweep with a broom. Check the seed frequently for mold. The best models of platform feeders have removable screened trays that allow moisture to pass through. Platform feeders can be great landscaping additions, and the birds seem to enjoy landing on a pile of seed.

Tubular Feeder

Many backyard bird watchers rely on tube feeders. Tubular feeders usually consist of a plastic tube, perhaps enclosed in a wire cage. A series of portals allows the seed to come out, and there are perches where the birds can land. Tubular feeders are easy to fill, they permit the birds to see the seeds easily and there is minimal spillage. When buying a tube feeder consider what seeds it can hold, how many birds can feed at once and if there is a good way to hang it or mount it on a post.

Hopper Feeder

A hopper feeder, often styled like a little house, provides a storage system for seeds that automatically replenishes until the hopper is empty. A large amount of seed can be used, so the feeder doesn’t need to be refilled so often. Plus the seed is protected from the elements until it is ready to be eaten. They also allow substantial spillage, which is a plus for ground feeders.

Window Feeder

A window feeder is just that; one that fastens to the outside of your windowpane and allows you to bring birds up close. If the location allows, they can be built out of wood. If not, they can be found at most specialty or gardening stores.

Suet Feeder

Suet is an important part of any feeding program. It attracts a wide variety of birds all year. The simplest way to serve it is in plastic-coated wire cages that flip open on one end, and also are the right size for commercially prepared suet cakes. Hang them from a tree branch or beneath a seed feeder. Some suets should only be used as a winter food, because they can quickly turn rancid in warm weather.

Nectar Feeder

Some birds take a little extra effort to attract. There are more specialized feeders available to attract Humming Birds and Orioles, for example. These birds drink a sugar water mixture from a liquid feeder. Nectar feeders come in two types: vacuum feeders, an inverted bottle that empties into a lower reservoir with feeding holes; and saucer feeders, a container with a cover that has holes thoroughout which the hummingbird can drink the liquid. Feeders for orioles essentially are the same design but larger, with longer perches.

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Birding Basics | Seed Preferences | Feeder Types