Three Things to Consider Before Buying a Bird Feeder

A feeder is a great way to enjoy wildlife year-round, as long as you get one that’s designed specifically for the birds

bird feeder in winter
A good feeder will give birds easy access to seed and prevent other critters, like squirrels, from stealing it all.Brome

Feeding birds is a great way to enjoy nature year-round and increase your knowledge of bird identification and calls. But not all feeders are created equal. Some invite all-comers, while others are targeted at specific types or species of birds. Before setting the table for your feathered friends, think about these features of a feeder and how each will complement your backyard habitat.

Feeder Source

Squirrel Solution200 Squirrel-proof Bird Feeder
Tube feeders are practical because they keep feed dry and prevent droppings from mixing in.Brome

Bird feeders range from tube-style feeders to platforms, hoppers, suet cages, and more. Tube feeders are probably the most common type and will attract a wide variety of smaller birds like sparrows, titmice, and finches. Each style of feeder also performs differently in the critical task of keeping bird seed dry and separate from droppings, which is necessary to prevent bacterial growth and sprouting seed. Consider each style in the context of the climate you are in as well as the expected amount of bird traffic.

Perches and Platforms

clear window bird feeder with suction cups and a blue bird
A bird feeder with a perch is better for larger birds like cardinals.Nature's Hangout

Perch size and style also influence the birds that will visit your feeder. For instance, feeders with perches stationed above a seed port will attract species that are able to feed while hanging upside down. A ring-style perch will attract larger desirables, such as northern cardinals.

Squirrel Proof

Squirrel Buster Standard Squirrel-proof Bird Feeder
Try to find a feeder that’s squirrel proof so the varmints don’t steal all the food from the birds.Brome

Look for a feeder designed with not only with birds in mind, but also squirrels. The bushy-tailed pests are notorious for raiding backyard feeders and will even chew through plastic tubes to get to the seed inside. Feeders built with chew-proof wire or mechanical parts that collapse or close under the weight of a squirrel will preserve feed and ensure there is plenty of seed for when the birds really need it.