Whether you already have several wild bird feeders in your yard or you are shopping for your first feeder, it can be overwhelming to choose from the very wide selection of feeders available. By carefully considering the birds already in your yard and those you want to attract, you can choose the best feeders to meet their needs and welcome them to your yard.
Types of Wild Bird Feeders
There are many different feeder styles to choose from, but not all feeders are the same. Different feeders are best suited to different foods, and certain birds prefer certain types of feeders. Understanding the different styles of wild bird feeders can help you choose those that will work best in your yard.
Seed Feeders – These highly versatile feeders hold large quantities of seeds and can accommodate several birds at once. Many seed feeders have large hoppers to hold abundant seed that flows into an open tray or feeding ports. There are many different designs for seed feeders, so you’re bound to find one that works well in your yard.
Sock Feeders – These soft, flexible feeders are ideal for clinging birds like finches, siskins, and redpolls. The sock's tiny mesh is best suited to Nyjer seed, and birds will cling right to the sock's surface as they use their thin, pointed bills to manipulate seeds. The Finch Station offers one sock and an ample reservoir to store seed, while the dual Finch Station 2 features two socks for even larger, hungrier flocks.
Suet Feeders – These rectangular, cage-like feeders are specially sized to hold suet cakes for birds such as woodpeckers, jays, nuthatches, and chickadees. The feeder's wide bars offer easy access to the suet, and birds can feed from any angle. Suet feeders may be solitary, like the Suet Feeder Station, or can be attached to the ends of a seed feeder, like the Cedar Seed & Suet Feeder, for more feeding options..
Tube Feeders – Tube-style feeders are more sheltered than open seed feeders, but still accommodate different types of birdseed. These feeders feature several feeding ports with individual perches, allowing several birds to feed at once. Because the feeding ports are smaller, the seed is better protected from rain and snow. Tube feeders are ideal for active flocks of goldfinches.
Nut Feeders – These sturdy, metal mesh feeders have larger openings so birds can wriggle nuts out of each opening. The largest nut feeders can accommodate whole peanuts, while smaller feeders may be better suited to peanut hearts. Smaller mesh sizes, such as on the Mealworm Mesh Feeder, are also great for offering dried mealworms and birdseed blends.
Nectar Feeders – Hummingbirds and orioles prefer sweet sips from nectar feeders, and these specialized feeders offer multiple feeding ports for the birds to visit. Nectar feeders also typically include bee or insect guards to keep unwanted guests from accessing the nectar.
Dish Feeders – Simple dishes or open trays are versatile wild bird feeders. Small dishes are ideal for offering jelly, suet nuggets, mealworms, or nuts to birds, while bigger trays can be sprinkled with seed to feed larger birds, such as cardinals, grosbeaks, and doves, more easily.
Squirrel Control Feeders – These sturdy feeders are designed to deter squirrels so they aren't able to raid feeders. They often have built-in baffles or may use strong guards over the feeding ports so squirrels cannot access the feeder easily. Another option to deter squirrels is to use squirrel-friendly feeders in another part of the yard to keep squirrels occupied and away from wild bird feeders.
Choosing the Best Feeders for Your Yard
There are many factors to consider when choosing the best feeders for your wild birds. First and foremost, take the birds' feeding preferences into consideration so they will be comfortable with the feeder. Note which foods can be offered in each type of feeder, and also consider the feeder's capacity and how often it may need refilling in a busy backyard. Choose a feeder style that suits your aesthetic preferences so you will enjoy it more, and factor in your bird feeding budget when purchasing a new feeder.
Ultimately, a diverse array of bird feeders will be best for any yard and will attract a more diverse flock of backyard guests. As you see which birds prefer which feeders more, you can buy additional feeders and increase the size of your bird feeding station to attract even more hungry visitors.
If you are looking to stock up on seed before more birds show up this spring, find a store near you that sells Kaytee Wild Bird Seed.
As spring approaches, birds will be migrating all around the world to return home.
They are leaving their winter homes and traveling back to your yard. They are migrating to find a place to mate and build a nest for their young as weather and resources change.
Make sure you provide them a comfortable and plentiful backyard with food, water, and coverage as they arrive back home for the spring, summer, and fall seasons. Check out these tips on our website for more information on how to attract backyard birds.