If you haven’t read our post on selecting the right seed for your backyard birds, you’ll want to do that before you read this one, Bird Seed 101 is the how to choose seed guide for every Birder.
With so many feeders on the market, it can be extremely difficult to decide what feeder is (a) best for your seed and (b) will work best for your feathery friends to snack from. Finch feeder, tray feeder, platform feeder, panorama feeder, what do they all mean?!
There are 5 main types of feeders; tray, hopper, tube, suet, and nectar.
The tray feeder, also known as a platform or fly through feeder, is characterized by its tray that is used to hold the seed. The open tray allows birders to use any type of seed blend or even suet in it. There are a few different ways to mount this type of feeder, usually by hanging, mounting to a post, or placing it on the ground. Tray feeders are perfect for any backyard birder looking to add or start feeding our feathered friends, as they attract all different birds. The open space of these feeders makes it especially easy for large birds to snack by giving them plenty of room to perch. Some, like the Cedar Fly Through Feeder, have a roof over their tray helping to keep the seed dry. Because of the amount of room they provide, placing it on the ground helps to give birds like Mourning Doves and Robins a place to snack with little effort necessary. The Cedar Ground and Hanging Tray has 4 little legs that can be moved out if placing it on the ground, or turned back under the feeder if birders want to hang it!
Tray feeders are the easiest for our furry friends to snack from so doubling them up with a Squirrel Baffle is the perfect way to keep them from gobbling up all your seed!
Similar to a tray feeder, a hopper feeder provides ample room for perching. It differs from the tray feeder by the way it holds and dispenses food. This feeder has an enclosed hopper that funnels seed down to the tray by using a clear plexi-glass or plastic. Because of how the seed is contained, it is able to stay dry when weather is poor. Traditionally hopper feeders look like the Canadian Junior Chalet Feeder, equipped with a feeding trough, sturdy perches on each side, and a roof that opens for easy refilling. Now there are different sizes, colours, and even shapes of hopper feeders. Some hold larger seeds and are built to allow your larger feathered friends room to snack, and some, like the Small Panorama Feeder or the Pistachio Gazebo Feeder are better suited for smaller seeds and smaller birds. Although both of the above feeders can be used for your bigger flying friends, it’s good to keep in mind that they will have a bit harder time balancing on smaller feeders.
Some hopper feeders are easier for our furry friends to get at than others. However, the hopper style feeders are perfect for any backyard feeding ground and generally any seed blend (depending on the hole opening at the bottom).
Just as it sounds, these feeders are shaped like a tube. Just like a hopper feeder, tube feeders are made of clear plastic but in a cylinder shape. This helps birders see when the feeder needs to be refilled. Generally, tube feeders are made with shorter perches so they are ideal for our small feathered friends. The Metal Sunflower Feeder, is considered a tube feeder although it doesn’t have the plastic tube. This feeder is perfect for bigger seed blends. Tube feeders are ideal for any birder trying to feed our smaller bird friends and deter our furry friends. The tried and true Squirrel Busters, are a fan favourite amongst all birders. These tube feeders are made in various sizes to cater to each birder's preference, and have the added bonus of a weight activated closing mechanism. The weight activation feature makes these the “squirrel-proof” feeders perfect for any backyard feeding ground. If you’d like to keep the small birds but deter our larger winged friends, opt for the Mini Buster. The plethora of sizes make the squirrel buster, and other tube feeders great for any birder. If you’ve noticed a lot of finches in your backyard or would like to cater to them, tube feeders are the feeder style for you. Some are specifically designed with finches and other cling birds in mind, having the perches about the feeding ports!
Wire cage suet feeders are the most common suet feeders. The Single Suet Feeder, Double Suet Basket, and the Tall Suet Basket, are feeders that every birder will recognise as being used for suet. There are so many different decorative looking suet baskets, one will suit any birder. Suet is a hearty, tasty snack for many of our feathered friends.
Beware that our furry friends will also like to eat this snack.
Birders will never be without variety when it comes to nectar feeders. This particular type of feeder comes in a plethora of colours, shapes, and sizes. Nectar feeders are primarily known for being used for Hummingbirds however, Orioles will also eat the sweet treat. Many nectar feeders like this Glass Hummingbird Feeder, have built in ant moats and bee guards to help keep your nectar protected. While there are many options of nectar feeders, if you are looking to get one for your orange feathered friends, these Oriole feeders are what you’re going to want to pick up. Letting you add jelly, fruit, and nectar, these feeders are perfect for any backyard birder!
Although there are so many different types of feeders, the little guide will help you decide what is best for you and your feathery friends.