What is the Best Bird Feeder?

Like humans, birds also need particular things to stay alive and happy. The most important thing for birds is their food and shelter. Most birds need specific conditions and requirements to eat. If you want to attract a particular type of bird then you need those particular things in your place that may attract that bird.

The most important thing for attracting birds is a bird feeder or the bird feeding station. Although a shelter can also be helpful in attracting birds. Shelters are mostly used for local birds. Beautiful Exotic migrating birds can be attracted by providing a specific type of bird feeder. In this article, I’ll discuss the different types of bird feeders and the birds that like them and will be attracted toward them.


Tube Feeder

Attracts: Siskins, Chickadees, Nuthatches, Goldfinches, Juncos and Large Birds

Dispenses: Sunflower seeds, Nyjer seeds, Thistle seeds, Seed Mix.

A tube feeder is basically a container in the form of a long tube that is mostly transparent with protective lids on one end or on both ends. Tube feeders have ports on the sides from which birds eat by inserting their beaks. It has a locking mechanism that discourages the spilling of feed when birds are not using it. It has perches just below each port so that birds can sit and eat easily. Tube feeders are made up of transparent plastic or glass so that the internal contents can be seen easily

Setting Up Tube Feeder

The tube feeder can be hung with a strong pole or a branch of the tree with the help of a metallic hanger or a chain. You can use a protective wire mesh cage to prevent squirrels. Most of the tube feeders have a slope on the top to keep them clean from the external environment however, you can use one if it’s not available in your tube feeder.

Feed and Birds

Sunflower seeds are mostly added to the tube feeder however, you can also add nyjer seeds, thistle seeds, or seed mixes depending upon your area and the bird you want to attract. Mostly small birds like Siskins, Chickadees, Nuthatches, Goldfinches, and Juncos are attracted by tube feeders. Large birds can also be attracted by tube feeders. If you don’t want large birds then the same wire mesh that is used to prevent squirrels can also be used.

Pros and cons

  • The ease of the tube feeder is its transparent wall through which the internal content level can easily be checked.
  • You can clean a tube feeder easily by just removing its lid.


  • The most important drawback of a tube feeder is its bottom.
  • Usually, a few centimeters space below the last port from where seeds can’t be consumed by birds and these unconsumed seeds favor the growth of bacteria and fungi.
  • Waste these seeds and clean well before adding a new patch.


Tray or platform feeder

Attracts: All type of small, medium and large birds

Dispenses: Seed mix, Fruit pieces.

These are simple trays that can be used to feed birds. You can simply put seeds and fruits in the tray that may attract different types of birds.

Setting Up Platform feeder

Tray feeders can be hung with a pole or branch of a tree or can be mounted on a pole. You can use a squirrel baffle to keep it protected from squirrels. The external environment can easily contaminate feed so you should buy a platform feeder with a roof. Tray feeders have many holes on the sides for drainage.

Feed and Birds

You can add feeds like different types of seeds and fruits to attract birds. Most of the time platform feeder is used to attract almost all types of birds because it does not have special holes for feeding. However, if you place it near the ground, it may attract birds like Juncos, Jays, Blackbirds, and Sparrows.

Pros and Cons

  • The advantage of a tray feeder is its simplicity.
  • You don’t need any special instrument to clean it.


  • You have to clean it once a day or on an alternate day because not only the external environment contaminates it but also birds’ droppings.
  • Shake well and clean it with a dry cloth before adding a new feed.


Nectar Feeder

Attracts: Hummingbird, Woodpecker, Warbler, Oriole.

Dispenses: Nectar

These are special feeders because they have liquid inside. They can be long just like a tube feeder or can be round like a closed tray. They have ports just above the bottom from where birds can enjoy their meal.

Setting Up Nectar Feeder

Most of the time a tube feeder is hung by a pole or a strong branch of the tree. It is made up of clear plastic and has different colors and shapes for attracting different birds. Mostly, they are not affected by the external environment because they are completely closed and the drinking port also has a rubber locking mechanism.

Feed and Birds

Nectar feeders are used for hummingbirds. They can insert their long beak inside the port and drink nectar from there. Birds like the woodpecker, Oriole, and Warbler will also be attracted to nectar feeders which you can avoid by using a mesh guard. You can buy nectar from the market or you can prepare it at your home by adding one part of sugar and four parts of water.

Pros and Cons

  • Squirrels are not usually attracted by nectar feeders as they can’t drink it due to its’ special mechanism.
  • The level of nectar can easily be monitored because it’s transparent.
  • All the nectar is consumed.


  • It can attract ants and other insects so carefully check the spillage of liquid.
  • You have to clean it by washing it with water.


Hopper Feeder

Attracts: Jays, Sparrows, Finches, Blackbirds, Cardinals, Buntings.

Dispenses: Black Oil Sunflower seeds, Seed mix.

As the name suggests it works on the principle of a hopper. Else it’s a small one and doesn’t have any electrical system attached. A hopper feeder can be round however, mostly it’s rectangular shaped. Two sides have eating trays from where birds can eat their food. The other two ends are mostly closed and transparent for monitoring the internal contents. There are also perches attached along the bottom on which birds can sit and enjoy their meal. They are mostly made up of strong plastic or metal. Different sizes of hopper feeders are available in the market depending upon the number of birds you want to attract.

Setting Up Hopper Feeder

Most of the time, the hopper feeder is not hanged because it is used for medium to large birds so it needs strong support. It’s usually mounted on a pole or attached to a stem of the tree. They have a sloped roof to keep them protected from contaminants of the environment.

Feed and Birds

Hopper feeders can be used for feeding small birds like jays, sparrows, and finches as well as large birds like blackbirds, cardinals, buntings, etc. If you don’t want large birds around your hopper feeder, you can use a wire mesh guard. A squirrel baffle can also be used to keep squirrels away from the feeder.

Pros and Cons

  • A hopper feeder is strong and can easily endure harsh weathers.
  • Seeds are completely consumed in a hopper feeder due to their sloped bottom.
  • You can easily check the level of seeds inside a hopper feeder from its closed sides which are transparent.


  • Cleaning is a real chore in the case of a hopper feeder because it consists of many parts.
  • You have to open each part and clean it properly.
  • Dust can stick in the feeding area which can favor the growth of bacteria and mold.


Suet feeders

Attracts: Sparrows, Finches, Chickadees, Nuthatches, Warblers, Wren, and Bushtits.

Dispenses: Suet

Suet feeder is simply a mash box. It may have space for eating on one side or on all sides. You can choose one according to the birds you want to attract. They are mostly made up of metal. Plastic coated metal suet feeders can also be purchased.

Setting Up a Suet Feeder

They can be hung with a pole or tree branch or attached to a wall or stem of a tree. The external environment can easily deteriorate the suet if there is too much humidity in it so you have to choose a proper site. They are mostly closed from the upper side to avoid dust and rain droplets.

Feed and Birds

Suet feeders can attract a variety of birds. Sparrows, Finches, Chickadees, Nuthatches love to eat suet. Birds like Warblers, Wren, and Bushtits that don’t eat seeds can also be attracted by suet feeders. If you want large birds to be attracted to your suet feeders the don’t use upside down suet feeders. Birds like Jays and Starlings have problems eating upside down. As they are open so choose a site where squirrels can’t get it, otherwise they’ll consume all the suet in no time. You can also add peanut butter inside a suet feeder to make the suet feast tastier.

Pros and Cons

  • You can easily check the amount of suet in a suet feeder.
  • Suet can easily be replaced with the new one by just opening the cage.
  • Birds that don’t eat seeds can also be attracted.


  • It’s open from the sides so external conditions can affect the suet easily.
  • There will be competition for the suet if you allow both small and large birds at your suet feeder.
  • You have to keep an eye on the suet feeder because the legs of birds can entangle into the mesh of the suet feeder which may cause their death if not released in time.
  • In cold areas, birds’ eyes and tongues can stick to the metallic suet feeder.