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Types Of Bird Feeders

Green Bird Feeder

Whether you’re new to feeding birds or want to see more species, hanging a variety of bird feeders is one of the simplest ways you can attract birds to your garden.

Bird feeders come in a variety of shapes, sizes, designs, and materials, so choosing the right feeder is important as some species prefer one particular type over another.

Seed bird feeders

A seed feeder is one of the most popular types of bird feeder and perfect for novices. Using a seed feeder can allow you to experiment with the food you put out in your garden so you can start to understand what attracts different species of birds.

The most common type of seed feeder is a tube feeder. As the name suggests, the feeder is made of a hollow plastic or metal tube, which includes a number of ports and perches to enable the birds to easily get at the seeds inside. The small perches discourage larger birds from feeding and tube feeders with the perches above the ports are designed for birds that like to hang upside down as they feed such as goldfinches or blue tits.

Niger seed feeders

Attract goldfinches

They are designed to hold straight seeds or seed mixes as well as specialist foods. Niger seed feeders, for example, have tiny ports so the light seed doesn’t fall through the holes or blow away.

Seed feeders will need regular cleaning. You may find that seed collects at the bottom of the tube and if it is not cleared away can become damp and a breeding ground for mould and bacteria. Once a week empty your seed feeders and wash thoroughly in soapy water or run through the dishwasher to prevent the spread of disease.

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Seed feeders can also attract squirrels who will cling on to the side of the feeder to get at the food inside. You can buy seed feeders that are surrounded by a cage to prevent this or add a squirrel baffle to your feeding pole to stop them climbing up.

Seed feeders can be hung from a pole, a bird table, a fence post, or a tree, or anywhere in your garden that is safe for birds to eat.

Nut bird feeders

Nut feeders are similar to seed feeders, but the tubes are made out of a mesh rather than solid metal, ceramic, or plastic. Although plastic nut feeders are cheaper than those made of metal, they tend to be flimsy and squirrels and rodents can chew through them in seconds to get at the food inside.

Peanut feeders

Available to buy online

If you’re feeding peanuts to your garden birds, it’s important to use a nut feeder as the mesh prevents birds getting at larger pieces of nut which can cause choking, particularly in baby birds during breeding season.

Birds need to peck at the nuts inside the feeder which not only ensures they can only take small pieces but also keeps them hanging around in your garden for longer as they feed. Tits, nuthatches and finches will all enjoy feeding from a nut feeder.

Suet bird feeders

Suet is a high-energy food ideal for feeding all year round but particularly in autumn and winter. Although suet blocks and balls can be placed directly on your bird table you may find they are snaffled quickly by squirrels or larger birds before smaller birds get a chance to feed. Starlings, tits, and woodpeckers will all enjoy feeding on suet you leave out in your garden.

Suet balls are sometimes sold in plastic netting and you should always remove this before putting them out for your garden birds as their beaks or feet can become trapped in it.

Bird food treats

Fat balls and suet

Suet feeders are wire cages designed for holding blocks or balls, but you can also use them for holding toast, pieces of fruit, and other kitchen scraps. Because suet has a tendency to go rancid suet feeders should be cleaned thoroughly at least once a week and daily in very hot weather. They can be cleaned with hot, soapy water, or put in the dishwasher if suitable.

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