7 Types Of Bird Feeders: Here’s How To Choose

types of bird feeders

With so many different kinds of bird feeders on the market, I know choosing the right one to feed the birds in your yard can be a bit of a daunting exercise. Well, worry not fellow bird lovers, in this article I’m going to break down the most important bird feeder types so you can make the right choice.

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7 Types Of Bird Feeders: Here’s How To Choose

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What Kind Of Bird Feeder Should I Get?

Unfortunately, there isn’t any ‘feeder X’ that will work for all birds in all situations so there’s an important question that we need to ask ourselves before choosing just one. 

That question is: What kind of birds do I want to feed?

The reason that this question is so important is that different birds eat different types of foods in different ways. Without getting too specific here, we can break this down into 4 broad categories:

  • Seed eaters
  • Fruit eaters
  • Insect eaters
  • Nectar feeders

If you want to attract the greatest variety of birds to your yard, you need to choose a feeder or feeders that can accommodate as many of these groups as possible. Read on to learn about the different feeder types and what kinds of food they can be used for. 

1. Platform bird feeders

Platform bird feeders are one of the simplest types of bird feeders available. That, however, does not mean they are the least effective. The great benefit of platform feeders is the almost limitless variety of different types of bird food you can offer in them and the variety of different birds that will enjoy feeding on them.  

Platform bird feeders offer pretty much the most natural presentation of food to wild birds, so our feathered friends recognize them as a great source of free lunch pretty quickly and they are great for ground-feeding birds like cardinals. Platform feeders also make a great bird feeder for large birds. 

Recommended platform bird feeder:

Woodlink 3 in 1 Platform Bird Feeder

types of bird feeder

This platform feeder made by Woodlink is a great starter feeder. Made from kiln-dried cedar with a free-draining, powder-coated screen, the seed and other offerings you put out in this platform feeder will stay fresher for longer. This feeder is very accessible to your backyard birds so it won’t take them long to find the up to 3lbs out of seed you can set out.

Pros:

  • A highly versatile feeder that can be set on the ground, pole-mounted, or hung.
  • Can accommodate a range of bird sizes and species

Cons:

  • Made from natural materials that will benefit from some infrequent maintenance 

Read more about the best platform bird feeders in our article: Platform Bird Feeder: Best Options On The Market.

Woodlink 3 in 1 Platform Bird Feeder
  • The feeder is constructed of reforested, kiln dried, inland red cedar
  • Powder coated metal screen bottom allows for drainage and is also removable
  • Holds up to 3-pound of mixed seed
  • Recommended for use with Woodlink's Pole mounting system (HDPOLE) or post mounting hardware (STMOUNT) both of which are sold separately
  • Made in the usa

2. Hummingbird feeders

Hummingbirds are special birds that feed in special ways. Naturally then it stands to reason that they need a special kind of feeder. The most effective way to attract and feed hummingbirds at home is to supply them with a good quality source of nectar. 

Nectar, being a liquid, does not work well in any of the other styles of bird feeders introduced in this article, and therefore, you really need a good quality hummingbird feeder to keep them well fed. There are so many great hummingbird feeders available on the market today. They come in all shapes and sizes. My recommendation is a good quality, trusted model to start off with.

Recommended Hummingbird feeder: 

Perky-Pet 209B Glass Hummingbird Feeder

different types of bird feeders

The 209B is a classic but effective nectar feeder designed and built by one of the most trusted names in bird feeders. This model checks all the right boxes, being easy to clean and refill while holding a full 30oz of sugar water. This glass feeder tends to be more durable, suffering less from damage from UV radiation than designs with all-plastic reservoirs. Hummingbirds are highly attracted to the color red, and they’re able to spot this feeder from a good ways away.  

Pros:

  • Built-in insect protection
  • 6 feeding ports accommodate many birds
  • Easy to clean

Cons:

  • Plastic perches could become fragile

Read more about the hummingbird feeders in our article: The 10 Best Hummingbird Feeders


3. Tube feeders

Tube feeders are one of the best types of bird feeders for seed-eating birds. This popular style of bird feeder will attract a variety of different songbird species. Tube feeders come in a variety of different sizes. Tube feeders can have either solid or mesh walls, with or without perches. Some models feature a seed tray below the tube for ground feeders, while others do not.  

Recommended tube feeder:

Droll Yankees B-7F Tube Feeder

what kind of bird feeder should i get

This high-capacity, USA-made tube feeder from Droll Yankees holds a whole 2.5lbs of seed and has 6 feeding ports, meaning you can keep many birds well-fed for a good amount of time. This tube feeder features zinc-plated components that are weather and squirrel-resistant. 

This model has a threaded base for pole-mounting or it can simply be hung from your bird feeding station. Fill this feeder with either a birdseed mix or just plain sunflower seeds and wait for your feathered friends to fly in for lunch. 

Pros:

  • High capacity feeder
  • Keeps seeds well protected from the weather
  • Has 6 perches and feeding ports

Cons:

  • Squirrel-resistant, but not squirrel-proof

4. Hopper Feeders

Hopper feeders are a classic design that offers many great benefits to the backyard bird watcher. These feeders usually offer plenty of space for many birds to feed at once. The seed is held inside a pretty weatherproof housing which keeps them dry and fresh, and these feeders usually hold a good amount of food so you don’t have to run out to make refills too often.

Hopper feeders typically have a roof and are refilled from the top. As the birds feed on the bottom of the feeder, the feed is replaced by gravity.

Recommended Hopper Feeder:

Woodlink Absolute 2 Squirrel-proof Hopper Feeder

small bird feeder

Pros:

  • Impressive 12lb seed capacity
  • Innovative squirrel-proof design

Cons:

  • Costly
Sale
Woodlink Absolute II Squirrel Resistant Bird Feeder Model 7536
  • Durable powder coated steel body
  • Squirrel's weight on perch closes access to seed
  • Double sided attracts more birds
  • Large 2 gallon (12 lb.) capacity
  • No waste seed saver baffle

5. Suet feeders

Suet may seem like a strange thing to feed to birds, but the fact is that they just love the stuff. Not only that, but suet is also a really great source of energy for birds in the cold months of winter and insect-eating birds that are not interested in birdseed are highly attracted to this type of food too. 

Suet for birds usually comes in cake form, and suet feeders are specially designed to hold these cakes securely while providing birds safe access to this high-energy food source. 

Recommended Suet Feeder:

Forup Hanging Suet Feeder

 bird feeder types

This is a small bird feeder that is simple but effective and holds a single standard suet cake. The overhanging roof of this model is very handy for protecting the food and feeding birds from the weather and the midday sun. This feeder is easily hung by the supplied coated steel cable. 

Pros:

  • Powder-coated steel construction for excellent weather resistance
  • Provides 360-degree access, accommodating more than one bird at a time

Cons:

  • Holds only one suet cake

Read more about the best suet feeders in our article: Suet Feeders: A Full Guide And Our Top Picks

FORUP Suet Bird Feeder, Hanging Suet Feeder, Single Suet Cake Bird Feeder, One Suet Capacity
  • BIRD SEED CAPACITY: Holds 1 Standard Suet Cake.
  • EASY TO USE: Includes coated steel cable for hanging.
  • HIGH QUALITY: Powder coated durable weather resistant finish creates a product that will last a lifetime!
  • SIMPLE AND SLEEK DESIGN: Simple and sleek design attract all birds easily attract birds, allows several birds to feed at once.
  • BEST CHOICE: Open case allows air to filtrate evenly, keeping the feed fresh.

6. Window feeders

Window feeders offer some of the best views of your feathered friends you can imagine. These nifty feeders make a great distraction for your office window, or just about anywhere around the house. This style of feeder is easily attached with suction cups, meaning you don’t need any tools or any other equipment to set one up. 

Recommended Window Feeder: 

Nature Gear Window Bird Feeder

bird feeder for large birds

This brilliant window feeder by Nature Gear has a bunch of innovative features that make it a great choice. The first thing you may notice is its covered roof design, which not only looks great but also protects your bird seed from moisture during bad weather. 

Whatever water does get in is quickly drained through the floor of this feeder which was thoughtfully built with many tiny drainage holes, to keep the birdseed in, and the rainwater out. 

My favorite feature of this window feeder has to be the slide-out tray. With this tray, you can easily replenish the bird food without having to take down the feeder, and if you set it up in the right spot, it’s possible to refill this tray from inside your home. 

Pros:

  • Easy to clean and refill
  • Easy to install
  • Keeps birdseed fresh

Cons:

  • May break if it falls onto a hard surface

Read more about the best window feeders in our article: Top 12 Window Bird Feeders 

7. Oriole feeders

Orioles are one of America’s favorite birds and for good reason. These brightly-colored birds are always exciting to see out in the yard, and thankfully for us, the right kind of feeder can attract more of these beauties. Oriole feeders are designed to hold the orioles’ favorite foods like orange halves, grape jelly, and mealworms. 

Of course, orioles aren’t the only birds that will enjoy feeding on the food in these types of bird feeders and you can find all sorts of other birds showing up at your feeder.  

Recommended Oriole Feeder:

Songbird Essentials Fruit And Jelly Oriole Feeder

different kinds of bird feeders

This USA-made oriole feeder is built from recycled materials in the bright colors that attract orioles. This feeder can be used to present 2 orange halves and the bowl can be filled with either jelly or mealworms, to keep the orioles well-fed and coming back for more. 

This feeder is easily hung up on your bird feeding station using the supplied cable loop and the overhanging roof is a great design that keeps the food quite protected from sunshine and bad weather. 

Pros:

  • Made from weather-proof, recycled materials
  • Cup holds plenty of jelly

Cons:

  • Landing space can be slippery

Read more about oriole feeders in our article: The 10 Best Oriole Feeders

Songbird Essentials SERUBFJF Fruit and Jelly Oriole Feeder (Set of 1)
  • Bright orange color attracts Orioles.
  • Made of recycled materials
  • Holds more jelly than most fruit / jelly feeders and 2 orange halves
  • Made in USA
  • Size 6 x 8.25 x 10

Final Thoughts

Now that you know a little more about the different types of bird feeders and have been introduced to a selection of great models, you can choose your next bird feeders with confidence. Remember, the more bird feeders you have out the more birds you can attract, so don’t limit yourself to just one in the long term. Enjoy your feathered visitors!

Last update on 2021-06-13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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