I totally get it – bird watching can sometimes feel like a game of hide and seek, especially when your backyard feels eerily quiet, missing the happy chirps of feathered friends. You’re not alone! I once found myself in that same predicament, spending countless hours peering into my yard with no luck.

Attracting these airborne marvels turned out to be more than just an accidental scattering of seeds. It was then that I delved deep into the fascinating world of bird feeders – exploring different designs, understanding what food each feeder should contain and so much more.

So go ahead, settle down in your favorite comfy chair as we embark on this journey together; ready to breathe life into your garden by inviting an array of delightful birds!

Key Takeaways

  • Different types of bird feeders include tray or platform feeders, hopper or “house” feeders, window feeders, tube feeders, Nyjer feeders, and suet feeders.
  • Tray or platform feeders are simple and can hold seeds, nuts, or fruit. They attract birds like cardinals and jays.
  • Hopper or “house” feeders have a container that holds bird seed. They attract finches, jays, cardinals, and chickadees.
  • Window feeders attach to windows using suction cups. They attract birds like chickadees and finches.

Different Types of Bird Feeders

There are several different types of bird feeders to choose from, including tray or platform feeders, hopper or “house” feeders, window feeders, tube feeders, Nyjer feeders, and suet feeders.

Tray or Platform Feeders

Tray feeders, also known as platform feeders, are very simple. They have a flat surface where food is placed. Many types of birds love them! Cardinals and jays eat there often. The tray can hold seeds, nuts, or fruit.

This kind of feeder must be cleaned often so mold does not grow on wet bird food. Choose a model with tiny holes to let water drain out when it rains.

Hopper or “House” Feeders

Hopper or “house” feeders are a popular choice for bird enthusiasts. These feeders have a large container that holds the bird seed, and it has openings on all sides to allow birds to access the food easily.

The design of hopper feeders makes them attractive to a variety of birds, including finches, jays, cardinals, and chickadees.

One important thing to consider when using hopper feeders is the type of seed you offer. Different bird species have different preferences. For example, finches prefer thistle (Nyjer) seeds while cardinals and jays like sunflower seeds.

By offering a variety of seeds in your hopper feeder, you can attract different types of birds to your backyard.

Another advantage of hopper feeders is their design allows for easy cleaning. It’s essential to keep the feeder clean and free from mold or bacteria that could harm the birds. Regular cleaning will also prevent build-up that could cause clogs in the feeding ports.

Window Feeders

Window feeders are a great option for birdwatchers who want to get up close and personal with their feathered friends. These feeders easily attach to your window using suction cups, allowing you to watch birds feed from the comfort of your home.

They can attract a variety of bird species, including chickadees, finches, and sparrows. To make sure birds feel safe while feeding at the window, place the feeder near plants or shrubs that provide cover.

Keep in mind that window feeders should be cleaned regularly to prevent the spread of disease among birds. Overall, window feeders offer a convenient way to enjoy birdwatching without having to leave your house!

Tube Feeders

Tube feeders are a popular choice for bird feeding. These feeders consist of cylindrical tubes with multiple feeding ports and perches for birds to land on. They are designed to hold seeds or small nuts, attracting a variety of bird species such as finches, chickadees, and sparrows.

Tube feeders typically have different sizes of feeding holes to accommodate various seed types.

One benefit of tube feeders is that they can hold a larger quantity of food compared to other feeder types. This means less frequent refilling, which is convenient for busy bird lovers.

Additionally, the enclosed design helps protect the seeds from rain and snow, keeping them dry and fresh for longer periods.

When choosing a tube feeder, look for models with removable bases or easy-to-clean components. Regular cleaning prevents the growth of mold or bacteria that could harm the birds’ health.

It’s also important to consider the material used in constructing the feeder – durable plastic or metal options tend to be more long-lasting.

To attract a wide range of bird species, offer different seed varieties in your tube feeder. Black oil sunflower seeds are generally well-liked by many birds and provide high energy content.

Nyjer Feeders

Nyjer feeders are a great option for attracting small songbirds, like finches and sparrows, to your backyard. These feeders are designed specifically for Nyjer (thistle) seed, which is popular among these bird species.

The small ports on the feeder make it easy for birds to cling onto and access the seeds. One important thing to remember when using Nyjer feeders is that you should keep them clean and dry to prevent mold or spoilage of the seeds.

By offering Nyjer seed in a specialized feeder, you can enjoy watching colorful little birds visit your yard and feast on their favorite food.

Suet Feeders

Suet feeders are a great way to attract different bird species to your backyard. Suet is a high-energy food made from animal fat that birds love, especially during the cold winter months.

These feeders usually consist of wire cages or mesh bags filled with suet, and they can be hung from trees or placed on poles. Birds like woodpeckers, nuthatches, and chickadees are big fans of suet feeders.

It’s important to choose a feeder that has small enough openings so birds can access the suet but squirrels can’t steal it. Remember to place your suet feeder in a quiet area where birds feel safe and make sure to clean it regularly to prevent bacteria growth.

Selecting Bird Feeders

When selecting bird feeders, consider options such as ground or platform feeders, hanging bird feeders, hopper feeders, hummingbird feeders, squirrel feeders, and sunflower and seed-tube feeders.

Ground or Platform Feeders

Ground or platform feeders are bird feeders that sit directly on the ground or a raised platform. These feeders are perfect for attracting birds that prefer to eat on the ground, such as sparrows, juncos, doves, and towhees.

They provide a flat surface for birds to easily access food like seeds, grains, and crumbs. Ground or platform feeders can be as simple as scattering birdseed directly on the ground or using a flat tray feeder with low sides.

These types of feeders are especially useful for ground-feeding birds that may not visit hanging or elevated feeders. By placing these feeders in an open area away from bushes or hiding spots, you’ll give these birds a safe space to dine while enjoying their company from your backyard window!

Hanging Bird Feeders

Hanging bird feeders are a popular choice for attracting birds to your backyard. They come in various designs and can accommodate different types of bird food, such as seeds or suet.

Hanging feeders are typically suspended from tree branches, hooks, or poles. They provide easy access for birds to perch while feeding. These feeders are great for attracting smaller bird species like finches and chickadees.

When choosing a hanging feeder, consider factors such as its durability, ease of cleaning, and the type of birds you want to attract. Hanging bird feeders offer a convenient way to enjoy the beauty of birds right outside your window.

Hopper Feeders

Hopper feeders are a popular choice among bird enthusiasts because they attract a variety of birds. Birds like finches, jays, cardinals, and chickadees are often seen visiting these feeders.

Hopper feeders have an enclosed design with a roof that protects the bird food from getting wet. They also have perches for birds to land on while they eat. It’s important to understand the feeding preferences of different bird species when using hopper feeders.

Offering a mix of seeds and grains can help attract a wider range of birds to your backyard. When choosing a hopper feeder, consider factors such as ease of cleaning to maintain good hygiene for the birds.

For more specific information on selecting the right hopper feeder for your needs, check out the 2019 Bird Feeder Buying Guide linked in this article.

Hummingbird Feeders

Hummingbird feeders are a popular choice for bird enthusiasts. These small, colorful birds are attracted to the sweet nectar that hummingbird feeders provide. When selecting a hummingbird feeder, it’s important to choose one with bright colors and built-in perches to attract these fast-flying creatures.

It’s also crucial to use the right type of food mixture for hummingbirds, which can be found in specialized stores or easily made at home using sugar and water. Placing the feeder near flowers or shrubs will increase its appeal for these beautiful birds.

Just remember to clean the feeder regularly to keep it hygienic and prevent mold or bacteria growth.

Squirrel Feeders

Squirrel feeders are a great addition to your backyard bird feeding station. They provide entertainment and can distract squirrels from raiding bird feeders. There are different types of squirrel feeders available, such as corn cob holders or feeders with compartments for nuts or seeds.

These feeders are designed to be squirrel-proof, making it more challenging for the squirrels to access the food. By offering a dedicated feeder for squirrels, you can keep them happy and well-fed while protecting your bird feeders from their scavenging ways.

Sunflower and Seed-Tube Feeders

Sunflower and seed-tube feeders are popular choices for attracting a wide variety of birds to your backyard. These feeders have long, cylindrical tubes with multiple feeding ports where birds can access the food.

They are especially great for offering sunflower seeds, which many bird species love. Some tube feeders also accommodate other types of seeds such as thistle or Nyjer seeds, providing options to attract different bird species.

The design of these feeders helps keep the food dry and protected from the elements while allowing birds to easily reach it. Cleaning these feeders is important to prevent mold or bacteria growth, so look for models that are easy to disassemble and clean thoroughly.

Squirrel-Proof Bird Feeders

Squirrel-proof bird feeders are a great option for birders who want to keep pesky squirrels away from their feeders. These feeders are designed with clever mechanisms that make it difficult for squirrels to access the bird food, while still allowing birds to freely enjoy their meal.

Some squirrel-proof feeders have weight-sensitive perches that close off access when a squirrel tries to land on them, while others feature cages or baffles that prevent squirrels from reaching the feeder altogether.

It’s important to choose a high-quality squirrel-proof feeder to ensure its effectiveness and durability. With a squirrel-proof bird feeder in your backyard, you can protect the food meant for birds and create an environment where they can thrive undisturbed by squirrels.

Choosing a Bird Feeder Pole

When choosing a bird feeder pole, it’s important to consider a few key factors. First and foremost, you’ll want to make sure the pole is sturdy and able to withstand different weather conditions.

Look for poles made of durable materials like steel or aluminum. Another factor to consider is the height of the pole. It should be tall enough to keep squirrels and other critters from easily reaching the feeders.

Additionally, you may want to choose a pole with multiple hooks or arms so that you can hang different types of feeders in one spot. Lastly, think about ease of installation and maintenance when selecting a bird feeder pole.

Selecting Bird Food

When selecting bird food, consider options such as cracked corn, millet, peanuts, and sunflower seeds to attract a variety of bird species to your feeders.

Cracked Corn

Cracked corn is a popular type of bird food that many backyard birders use to attract different species of birds. It is made by crushing or grinding dried corn kernels into smaller pieces, which makes it easier for birds to eat.

Cracked corn is especially appealing to ground-feeding birds like sparrows, juncos, and doves. It can be scattered on the ground or placed in platform feeders for these birds to enjoy.

One important thing to note about cracked corn is that it should be used in moderation, as too much can attract unwanted pests like rodents. So when using cracked corn as bird food, make sure to offer it alongside other types of seeds and grains to provide a well-balanced diet for our feathered friends.


Millet is another type of bird food that you can offer in your bird feeder. It is a small, round seed that many backyard birds love to eat. Millet is especially popular among ground-feeding birds like sparrows, doves, finches, and juncos.

You can scatter millet on the ground or use a tray or platform feeder to serve it. If you want to attract these types of birds to your yard, offering millet in your bird feeding station can be a great option.

Just make sure to keep the feeder clean and refill it regularly so that the birds have a fresh supply of millet to enjoy.

Milo, Wheat, and Oats

When selecting bird food, it’s important to consider the preferences of different bird species. Some birds, like doves and quails, are attracted to grains such as milo, wheat, and oats.

These types of seeds can be offered in tray or platform feeders that provide a flat surface for birds to perch on while eating. By including a variety of food options in your bird feeding station, you can attract a wider range of bird species to your backyard.

Remember to regularly clean and refill your feeders to ensure fresh food is always available for the birds.

Nyjer (Thistle)

Nyjer, also known as thistle, is a type of bird seed that is highly preferred by finches and other small songbirds. It is rich in oil content and provides birds with the energy they need.

Nyjer feeders are specifically designed to dispense these tiny seeds without spilling them. The small size of the holes in the feeder allows only the beaks of finches to access the seeds while keeping out larger birds.

If you want to attract colorful finches like goldfinches or pine siskins to your backyard, adding a Nyjer feeder can be a great idea. Remember to keep the feeder clean and dry to prevent any mold or spoilage of the seeds.


Peanuts are another popular bird food choice that can attract a variety of bird species to your backyard. They are a great source of protein and fat, which provide essential energy for birds.

Peanuts are especially loved by woodpeckers, jays, nuthatches, chickadees, and titmice. When offering peanuts as bird food, it’s important to use unsalted and unflavored varieties to ensure the safety of the birds.

You can choose between whole peanuts or peanut pieces depending on the type of feeder you have. Remember to place them in a feeder that protects the nuts from moisture to prevent spoilage.


Safflower is another type of bird food that you can consider. It is a small, white seed with a high oil content. Many bird species enjoy safflower, including cardinals and finches.

One great thing about safflower is that squirrels don’t really like it, so using safflower in your feeders can help keep them away. Also, safflower has a thick shell which makes it difficult for aggressive birds to crack open, reducing the chance of waste or mess under your feeder.

So if you want to attract colorful birds like cardinals without worrying about squirrels stealing the food, give safflower a try in your bird feeders!

Suet and Bird Puddings (Beef Fat and Seed)

One type of bird feeder you may want to consider is the suet feeder. Suet is a mixture of beef fat and seeds that birds love to eat. It’s high in energy, especially during colder months when birds need more calories to stay warm.

You can find pre-made suet blocks or make your own using a recipe online. Simply place the suet in a specially designed feeder with small openings for the birds to access it. Hang it in a tree or on a pole away from other feeders to give birds their own feeding space.

Suet feeders are popular among woodpeckers, nuthatches, and chickadees, but many other bird species will also visit them for a tasty treat!

Sunflower Seed

Sunflower seeds are a popular and nutritious food choice for many bird species. They are rich in oil, protein, and other essential nutrients that birds need to stay healthy. Birds like cardinals, chickadees, finches, and woodpeckers especially love sunflower seeds.

You can attract a wide variety of birds by offering sunflower seeds in your feeders. Consider using a tube feeder or a hopper feeder with small holes to hold the sunflower seeds securely while still allowing birds to access them easily.

Just make sure to keep your bird feeders clean and dry to prevent mold growth on the sunflower seeds. Adding some sunflowers or planting them nearby can also provide natural sources of these tasty treats for the birds in your backyard.

Providing Water for Birds

Birds need water not just for drinking, but also for bathing and preening their feathers. Providing a source of clean and fresh water in your backyard can attract more bird species and enhance their overall well-being.

A shallow birdbath or a pond can be effective options for providing water. Ensure that the birdbath is at ground level, with a gently sloping edge to make it easy for birds to access the water.

Keep the water clean by changing it regularly and scrubbing the birdbath to prevent algae growth. By offering a reliable source of water, you can create an inviting habitat that will attract a diverse range of bird species to your yard.


In conclusion, the ultimate guide to different types of bird feeders aims to make it easier for birders to choose the right feeder for their backyard. By understanding bird species and their preferences, offering a variety of food, and considering factors like ease of cleaning, you can attract a diverse range of birds.

Whether you prefer tray feeders or hopper feeders, suet or Nyjer seed feeders, there are options available for every bird enthusiast. So get ready to enjoy the beauty and joy that comes with attracting feathered friends to your yard!


1. What is “The Ultimate Guide to Different Types of Bird Feeders” about?

This guide talks about different types of bird feeders, how to choose the right one and where to place them for backyard birdwatching.

2. What are some common bird feeder designs?

Feeder designs range from simple feeding stations, homemade bird feeders to complex squirrel proof bird feeder models that help in bird conservation.

3. How does a feeder play into the bigger picture of a bird habitat?

Bird attractants like seed preferences of birds and feeding birds in winter are all part of making a good bird habitat along with the right type of birdhouse.

4. Can I use this guide for creating my own avian feeders or feeding stations at home?

Yes, by following our tips on different types of houses and understanding common backyard birds, you can make your own wildlife feeding station.

5. Any specific tips on how I could get started with backyard watching?

Place your chosen design in an open area; provide various seeds as per seed preferences associated with common birds’ needs during different seasons – including winter times; maintain hygiene around feeder spots will surely boost fruitful results!

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