Which Wild Bird Feeder Is Right For You?

Published Date: October 30th, 2007
Category: Hobbies

By Michael Rasco

Wild bird feeding is a very stimulating and educational pastime that millions of people already enjoy, with thousands more joining them every year. Bird feeders are available in so many varieties that it can be difficult for a new birdwatcher to decide which type is best. Are tube style bird feeders better than platform bird feeders? Or do the bird feeders with big seed hoppers take the cake? Let’s explore the topic.

The first thing to consider when choosing a wild bird feeder is what type of birds you would like to attract. Different styles of bird feeders bring different birds.

Tube Style Bird Feeders

You have probably noticed this type of bird feeder hanging from trees in the neighborhood, or in the backyards of friends and family. They are quite common; nonetheless, they are very effective at attracting small songbirds, and are therefore very enjoyable. They consist of a plastic or glass tube with two, four, or sometimes more holes in it. Usually a small perch is attached just below each hole, which is called a seed port. Both ends are fitted with a metal or plastic cap. The top cap opens by flipping, sliding, or unscrewing, depending on the brand and model of the wild bird feeder. This makes it easy to refill with seed or to clean.

Many people call the American goldfinch their favorite bird, which makes the decision to buy a tube style bird feeder an easy one. They will attract many other small birds like sparrows and grosbeaks.

Platform Bird Feeders

These wild bird feeders are just trays of seed on a pedestal. They may be placed as low as a foot above the ground up to several feet. Keep in mind that the whole point is to be able to watch the birds, so placing a platform feeder fifteen feet high might be a bit absurd. Please also note that platform bird feeders are designed with the intention of attracting birds that normally feed on the ground, so one to four feet is the optimum height. A platform bird feeder attracts birds by making food more visible to them, and at the same time providing them with a good vantage point to help them keep an eye out for pesky predators. (By the way, try to keep your pets away from wild bird feeders so they don’t fall into that category!) Among the many birds that will visit a platform bird feeder are robins, grackles, and occasionally cardinals.

Hopper Bird Feeders

A hopper style wild bird feeder has a large reservoir that dispenses seed onto a tray or into a feeding slot. This type of bird feeder is popular because it attracts a very wide variety of birds. They are often aesthetically pleasing as well, complementing virtually any yard or garden. They are not the hands-down winners of the Battle of the Bird Feeders; they are not as selective towards particular birds, and they can sometimes be a bit more difficult to keep clean (though that is not always the case).

In the end, the best wild bird feeder is the one that most appeals to you. Remember to keep them clean and filled with seed. Birds need the most help in the cold winter months, but it is okay to keep bird feeders stocked year-round. Pick a bird feeder, fill it, and enjoy the birds. Be prepared, because there is a very high probability that you will end up purchasing another wild bird feeder before long!

Michael Rasco is the owner of UtopiaBirdHouses.com, a website committed to providing high quality birdhouses, bird feeders, and wild bird information.

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