What Are The Different Types Of Bird Feeders?

what are the different types of bird feeders

Are you looking to attract birds to your yard and have wondered what are the different types of bird feeders?

Bird feeders come in all shapes and sizes. Each one has the purpose of attracting certain types of birds to your garden.

The food you place inside is what will attract the birds. You want your feeder to be the best design to hold that food and allow the birds to eat safely.

This guide will take you through 12 different styles of bird feeders you can buy on the market today. We’ll go through each feeder type and discuss, the food you should use, the birds it will attract, the pro and cons, and the best ones to buy.

Let’s get started

12 Different Types Of Bird Feeders

1. Hopper Bird Feeders

Pros
  • Holds big volumes of bird seed
  • Roofs can protect feeders from poor weather conditions
  • Attracts a wide variety of birds
Cons
  • Large amounts of seed can fester if not eaten quickly
  • Can be hard to clean
  • Other animals get easy access to the birdseed

A hopper bird feeder usually looks like little houses full of seed. The idea is that you fill the house and the seed spill onto a tray underneath. As the bird eats the seed, the fresh seed falls down to replace it.

You can use any kind of bird seed mix in a hopper feeder. Try not to stick to smaller seeds and grains as larger chunks such as peanut or fruit can block up the feeder tray.

Hopper bird feeders attract both small and large birds. Common birds attracted to hopper feeders are finches, siskins, wrens, titmice, warblers, cardinals. Depending on the size of the hopper feeder you may even get larger birds such as doves, crows, or woodpeckers.

Check out a selection of the best-rated hopper feeders on the market.

2. Tube Bird Feeders

Pros
  • Weather-resistant
  • Attract small songbirds
  • Easy to maintain
Cons
  • Ports can clog easily
  • Spoiled seed can gather below the bottom port

Tube feeders are the most common type of bird feeder you’ll see. These are the long plastic tubes with feeding ports for birds to perch on and eat. Tube feeders are easy to use as they can be hung almost anywhere in your yard.

Tube feeders are designed for small seed mixes which can flow easily through the portholes. Anything larger than this will clog up the feeder and the birds won’t get access to the food. I recommend using sunflower seeds and hearts.

Hopper feeders mainly attract smaller songbirds. However, this will depend on the size of the perch at the feeding holes. You can also attract lots of birds at one using a tube feeder with lots of feeder ports rather than one or two.

Check out a selection of the best-rated tube feeders on the market.

3. Nyjer Thistle Bird Feeders

Pros
  • Attract finches
  • Best for offering nyger seed
Cons
  • Nyger seed can clump in wet weather
  • Needs certain birds to visit before it empties

Nyger feeders are also known as sock or mesh bird feeders. These are very similar to tube feeder but the font have feeding ports. Instead, nyger feeders have an outer mesh, which holds the seed, but allows the bird to pull through the small nyger seeds.

Nyger seer feeders will attract birds that love to eat nyger or thistle seeds. This includes finches, Red Poll, siskins, and buntings. Finches go crazy for nyger seed, so it’s a great addition if you want to attract them to your yard.

Check out a selection of the best-rated Nyger feeders on the market.

4. Platform Bird Feeders

Pros
  • Attract a variety of birds
  • Easy to fill
  • Easy to clean
Cons
  • Gives access to all birds and wild animals
  • No protection from poor weather conditions

Platform bird feeders are essentially a large tray that contains the bird seed. These usually have a mesh bottom to allow the seed to drain and prevent it from getting wet and moldy. Platform feeders can be hung or even mounted onto a post.

As platform feeders are open you can place pretty much any food you want out for the bird. This includes seeds, mealworms, peanuts, fruits, or even scraps from your kitchen.

Platform feeders can attract most types of birds. Tats because all birds will be able to easily access the food. It also means that your birdseed can be free for all with animals that visit your yard at night and eat your birdseed.

Check out a selection of the best-rated platform feeders on the market.

5. Ground Bird Feeders

Pros
  • Attract ground feeding birds
  • Easy to fill
  • Easy to clean
Cons
  • Gives access to all birds and animals
  • No protection from poor weather conditions

A ground bird feeder is very similar to a platform feeder. Yet instead of being hung up high or on a mount, these are placed onto the ground. Small legs ensure the feeder remains slightly off the ground to give the seed room to drain and air. This will prevent it from getting moldy.

A ground feeder is a simple mesh tray so you won’t be restricted to what you can place on it. Yet if your main aim is to feed birds then it’s best to offer up a seed mix. You can easily add buts to the mix too.

Ground feeders are intended for birds that won’t use a tube, platform, or hopper feeder. Some birds prefer to forage on the ground and just won’t use feeders that are up high. Birds you’ll attract with a ground feeder are Grosbeaks, cardinals, buntings, Sparrows, towhees, and juncos.

You’ll also get some larger birds such as doves, grackles, and starlings who can dominate these feeders. Plus you’ll attract other wild animals such as squirrels, raccoons, and rodents. In that case, you may want to consider using a ground feeder cage that allows only small birds to access the food.

Check out a selection of the best-rated platform feeders on the market.

6. Suet Bird Feeders

Pros
  • Offer Birds alternative to seed
  • Easy to fill
  • Cages keep out wild animals
Cons
  • Can’t be hung in overly sunny areas
  • Can attract rodents

Suet feeders are small cages that can be filled with a block or balls of suet. The cage wires allow the birds to hang and peck away at the fat. Some designs are upright and others are upside down.

Suet feeders are quite small and can be hung up almost anywhere in your yard. Although avoid sunny areas as the direct heat can cause the suet to go rancid. The shape of the feeder will determine the type of suet you can use. The tube style with large squares is for fat balls, the square ones are for suet blocks.

Suet feeders will attract birds requires a high-fat diet. The most common bird you’ll attract with suet is a woodpecker. Other birds that eat suet are chickadees, sparrows, wrens, starlings, and occasionally robins.

Check out a selection of the best-rated suet feeders on the market.

7. Peanut Bird Feeders

Pros
  • Attract specific birds
  • Best for offering larger foods like peanuts
Cons
  • Peanuts can clump in wet weather
  • Can attract wild animals like raccoons and squirrels

Peanut bird feeders are similar to nyger feeders but with much larger mesh grills. This helps to hold the peanuts in whilst allowing the birds to feed easily.

Peanut feeders are obviously designed to offer shelled peanuts to your backyard birds. Yet peanut feeder can also be used to offer bird’s cracked corn and suet pellet or logs.

Peanut feeder will attract birds all year round, but it will be an excellent source of fat for birds in winter. Birds you can attract with a peanut feeder are woodpeckers, sparrows, finches, jays, and nuthatches.

Check out a selection of the best-rated peanut feeders on the market.

8. Window Bird Feeders

Pros
  • Attracts smaller birds
  • Allows close up viewing of the birds
  • Easy to fill and clean
Cons
  • Skittish birds will be reluctant to use it
  • May increase risk of window strikes

Window bird feeders are small tray feeders which you can attach to your window with suckers. They are often made of clear plastic to allow for better bird viewing. Window feeders are great if you don’t have a garden to hang another bird feeder.

Window feeders can be filled with any type of seeds, nuts, or mealworm. Some feeders allow you to separate the seed on offer to attract specific birds. A seed mix using sunflower seeds, hearts, and safflower seeds will attract small songbirds.

You’ll be able to attract a variety of birds. Yet some skittish birds such as cardinals are usually more reluctant to use a window feeder.

Check out a selection of the best-rated window feeders on the market.

9. Nectar Bird Feeders

Pros
  • Attracts hummingbird and orioles
  • Easy to fill
  • Help provide a vital food source for hummingbirds
Cons
  • Attract ants and flying insects
  • Require strict maintenance

Nectar feeders are designer to hold sweet sugary water. Some styles are large upside don jugs with small feeding ports for the birds to feeder from. Others are saucer style.

Nectar feeders are designed for holding nectar only. You can make your own nectar using our simple recipe. Or you can buy ready-made nectar to fill your feeders.

Nectar feeders will attract two types of nectar-loving birds. That is the hummingbird and orioles. Red feeders will attract hummingbirds and orange will attract orioles. Yet you’ll probably find both birds feeding on any type of nectar feeder you use.

Check out a selection of the best-rated nectar feeders on the market.

10. Fruit and Jelly Bird Feeders

Pros
  • Attracts orioles
  • Easy to fill
  • Easy to clean
Cons
  • Attract ants and flying insects
  • Fruit needs replaced regularly

Fruit and Jelly bird feeders are designed with spikes to hold large pieces of fruit chunks. They also come will small dishes in which you place the jelly.

You can offer any type of fruit on a fruit feeder, however, orange halves are the best. The small dishes can hold jelly but you can also fill it with a small amount of seed, nuts, or mealworms.

Fruit and Jelly feeders are usually intended to attract orioles to your yard. However, most birds will enjoy eating fresh fruit and jelly. Other birds you’ll see are catbirds, robins, warblers mockingbirds, woodpeckers, and grosbeaks.

Check out a selection of the best-rated fruit and jelly feeders on the market.

11. Mealworm Bird Feeders

Pros
  • Attracts bluebirds
  • Easy to fill
  • Variety of style available
Cons
  • Need to be filled regularly
  • Some styles are not protected from weather

Mealworm feeders are quite a niche type of bird feeder. They are designed to hold a small portion of mealworms with easy access for the bird to perch and eat. Dried Mealworms taste much better for birds when they’ve been hydrates a little bit with water.

Mealworms feeders are mostly designed to attract bluebirds, as they go nuts for them. You’ll notice that most designs are blue, which helps to attract them to the feeder. Other birds you can attract are Chickadees, Thrushes, Titmice, Wrens, Nuthatches. Check out my guide for more info on what birds you’ll attract with a mealworm feeder.

Check out a selection of the best-rated mealworm feeders on the market.

12. Fly-through Bird Feeders

Pros
  • Attracts a variety of bird
  • Looks good in your yard
  • Offer a variety of foods
Cons
  • Can be difficult to thoroughly clean
  • Food exposed to poor weather conditions

Fly-through bird feeders are ideal if you want a pretty bird feeder in your yard. These are designed with a bowl shape that allows the bird to feed and fly-through from each side. The bright colors are attractive to the birds.

A fly-through feeder has a cup shape in the middle which can hold any type of bird food such as seed, nuts, or mealworms.

You’ll mostly be able to attract smaller birds to a fly-through feeder. Small birds can perch without having their feeding restricted by the upper part of the feeder. You’ll also provide them with an extra sense of security are they can fly away quickly in a direction should a cunning cat be willing to attack as they feed.

Check out a selection of the best-rated flythrough feeders on the market.

Final thoughts

So now you know the 12 types of bird feeders, that you can use in your yard. Some are all-rounders and ill help you attract a variety of birds.

Others are specific to certain types of foods that will attract only a select few birds. The best one for you is the one that helps you to attract the birds that you want to see to your yard.

Hopefully, this guide has helped you to pick the best bird feeder for your yard.

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