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Bird Feeder Basics

Like the birds that will be visiting them, bird feeders come in a variety of colors, shapes, and sizes. Tray feeders, hopper feeders, seed tubes, Nyjer/Thistle feeders, and suet feeders are among the most common types of feeders, but here you will also find more specialized feeders like hummingbird feeders and oriole feeders.  Regardless of the type, you should always pick a bird feeder that is easy to clean and fill.  Below you will find descriptions of the most common types of bird feeder.  Click on the picture or link to go to that bird feeder section.  No matter what type you choose, make sure to clean your bird feeder regularly so that your backyard birds have a fresh mix of seed to keep them healthy!

Tray Bird Feeders

bird-feeder-basics-tray.pngTray bird feeders are some of the easiest feeders to maintain and clean. They can be placed directly on the ground, on a post, or even hung from a tree branch, dedicated pole, or building over hang. Because of the easy access to the seed, a wide variety of birds will be attracted to tray feeders.  One downside of this, however, is that unless deterrents are used, squirrels and other unwelcome critters may also be able to access your tray feeder.  Mounting or hanging a tray feeder on its own pole, away from trees or other structures squirrels and racoons can use to access the feeder, and using a squirrel baffle on the pole below the feeder is one way to make sure that only the birds will get to the food you put in the tray.  Another advantage of a tray bird feeder is how easy it is to see the birds visiting it! Fly-through tray feeders have the added benefit of a roof over the tray which keeps the seed dry.

 Hopper Bird Feeders

bird-feeder-basics-hopper.pngHopper bird feeders are a great addition to any yard, patio, or garden. Hopper bird feeders are generally placed on a dedicated pole, though hanging hopper feeders and window hopper feeders are also common. Look for a hopper feeder with enough capacity for a few days’ worth of seed and that is easy to clean.


Seed Tube Bird Feeders

bird-feeder-basics-seed-tube.pngSeed tube bird feeders are a common type of bird feeder, and are very convenient because of their relatively large capacities. Another benefit of a seed tube bird feeder is that it protects the bird seed from the elements, which means clean dry seeds for your bird visitors and less maintenance for you. Our seed tube bird feeders are easy to take apart and clean – just use a mild detergent with water and make sure to rinse and dry well.


Nyjer / Thistle Bird Feeders

bird-feeder-basics-nyjer.pngNyjer / Thistle bird feeders look similar to seed tube feeders and share some of the same benefits, though they are specially designed for birds that like to cling to tree bark and other objects while searching for their food. Nyjer feeders consist of a mesh tube that is the perfect size for Nyjer and thistle seed. This means that you will attract birds that like Nyjer seed to your backyard while wasting much less Nyjer seed than you would if you used it in a normal seed tube.


Suet Bird Feeders

bird-feeder-basics-suet.pngSuet bird feeders are specially designed to hold suet – a type of hard fat found in beef and mutton. Adding a suet feeder is a great way to attract birds to your yard that may not otherwise be interested in a seed feeder. Suet cages and variations like suet cages with tail props (left), upside down suet feeders, or suet log feeders are all great options, just make sure to place them in a place where you can see all of the beautiful bird visitors! Though plain suet can be used in your suet feeder, it is usually mixed with seeds, fruit, and even bugs to attract birds like woodpeckers, jays, chickadees, and nuthatches, among others. Because it is fat, refrigerating your suet or using a non-melting type is recommended in warm climates.

Hummingbird Feeders

bird-feeder-basics-hummingbird.pngHummingbird feeders are specially designed to attract hummingbirds to your backyard. The best ones are colored bright red and have tubes to the nectar that are long enough to accommodate a hummingbird’s long beak and tongue while deterring bees and other insects. Like seed tubes and tray feeders, make sure to keep your hummingbird feeders clean and well stocked for your feathered friends.


Oriole Feeders

bird-feeder-basics-oriole.pngWatching an oriole enjoy your backyard or garden can be a magnificent treat, and adding an oriole feeder is one way to attract this beautiful bird. Oriole nectar feeders are specially designed for the task as they are colored bright orange and have a relatively wide, short access hole to the oriole nectar to accommodate an oriole’s beak. Make sure to clean your oriole feeder regularly in order to deter bees and other insects like ants that may be interested in the feeder. You can also add an ant moat/nectar protector to hanging oriole feeders, like the one shown to the left.  Other types of feeders are specially designed to hold fruit, jelly, and other delicious meals for the orioles visiting your area.