Close Menu

How to Choose the Best Bird Feeder

Invite Your Feathered Friends Over With Backyard Bird Feeders

Hang a bird feeder in your yard and watch the action happen. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself spending many hours watching the amazing life of birds unfold through your window. Take a look at the different types of bird feeders available and choose the best bird feeder for you based on your location and the type of birds you would like to attract. From finches to cardinals to chickadees to hummingbirds, we have you covered.

Platform Bird Feeders

These feeders feature a wide tray to hold seed and give birds a place to land. They are very easy to clean but don’t allow any protection from the elements or other critters. Platform feeders attract a variety of birds including pigeons, starlings, house finches, northern cardinals, and sparrows. You’re likely to find yourself watching squirrels and chipmunks as much as you will the birds with this kind of feeder. A platform feeder can look right at home in your yard among your other garden ornaments.


Hopper/House Feeders

These handy feeders typically hold several pounds of seed and might be your best option when looking for the best squirrel-proof bird feeder. Its enclosure design keeps seed protected from the elements, however, seed can still get wet and spoil which is bad for birds. Be sure to check it every few days. Birds that will appreciate this kind of feeder include cardinals, finches, jays, chickadees and sparrows.


Tube Feeders

These hanging bird feeders keep seed protected and allow birds to eat the seed through a screen or several ports. Some models empty directly into a dish, and others with perches will be of particular interest to those birds that can hang upside down with ease, such as goldfinches and chickadees.

Window Bird Feeders

Window Feeders

When you want to see the birds as up close as possible, try this style of bird feeder. Typically, these small feeders use suction cups to attach to a window and offer a front-row seat to bird watchers. Clean out feeders daily and make sure the seed is fresh. Look for finches, chickadees and some sparrows to visit window feeders often.


Nyjer/Thistle Feeders

Nyjer seed, also known as thistle seed, is a tiny black oilseed that is featured in tube-shaped feeders made especially for small-beaked birds, such as goldfinches. You will still need to keep an eye on the seed and make sure that it doesn’t get wet or spoil. But chances are, you won’t find as many squirrels trying to take this one over from their feathered friends.

Suet Bird Feeder Suet Feeders

These feeders hold suet cakes, which is a type of fat mixed with protein feed, grains, and seeds and shaped into the shape of a cake. Hang one of these feeders, fill it with suet cakes and you’ll attract the attention of woodpeckers, bluebirds, nuthatches, cardinals and starlings.

Hummingbird Feeder

Hummingbird Feeders

This feeder doesn’t hold seed at all. Instead, fill it with nectar substitute, which can be bought at your local garden store, or look for simple homemade recipes. Watch the show that only hummingbirds can put on with their lighting quick flight. Below are a few more tips on how to attract and feed hummingbirds.

How to Attract Hummingbirds

Hummingbirds do not have a keen sense of smell and rely on bright colors to find their food. They are particularly fond of the color red. You can attract their attention by placing the feeder in your garden among flowers that hummingbirds prefer like Petunias, Geraniums, Begonias or Fuchsias.

Since most hummingbirds migrate, feeders should be put up in time for their arrival. This will vary greatly depending upon what part of the country you call home. Learn the ETA for your area at and get your feeder up 5-10 days in advance.

Nectar Recipe

  1. At the beginning of the season, the ratio of sugar to water is 4 cups water to 1-cup sugar.
  2. At the end of the season (mid-August) it’s 5 cups water to 1 cup sugar.
  3. Hummingbirds need the most energy at the beginning of the season when they are raising their babies. At the end of the season the mixture should be weakened so the birds will migrate.

When to Take Feeders Down

Migration is based on the changing day length (photoperiod), not food supply, so taking your feeder down before they leave will not prevent them from migrating. But if you leave your feeder up until at least two weeks after seeing your last hummer, you could be helping nourish any younger or weaker birds yet to leave.

Comments (2)

I like that you mentioned the benefits of different bird feeder styles. More specifically the tube feeders, squirrels can often be a nuisance and detract birds by eating the bird food.

My kids love spending time outside, and I thought that getting a bird feeder would be something that could add to their fascination of nature. It is good to know that there are different kinds of feeders. Thanks for informing me that it is important to keep an eye on the seed to make sure it does not get wet or spoil. We will keep this in mind as we start enjoying our first bird feeder.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *