Bird Feeders

It seems that for many, getting a taste of nature is becoming more and more difficult. Urban sprawl continues unabated and, as a result, we live farther and farther away from the peaceful tranquility of the natural world.

An easy way to bring nature to you is with a bird feeder. Watching birds come and go in your own yard can be relaxing and enjoyable. But there are different kinds of bird feeders. What are they, and which one is right for you?

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Tray or Platform Feeders

This is the simplest design of feeders. They attract a wide variety of birds, and your little winged visitors can be viewed from all sides. These feeders are also easy to fill and clean and easy to install; they can be mounted on posts, deck railings, stumps, or suspended from eaves or tree limbs.

Because of the open design, this type of feeder offers no protection from the elements. The seed can become wet, and if the feeder doesn’t drain properly, the seed can sprout or spoil, or bacteria can grow. Choose a feeder with a mesh tray, or be sure there are plenty of holes for drainage. Clean the feeder every few days, and throw away wet seed.

Hopper Feeders

Hopper feeders are enclosed, providing better protection from the elements, and birds eat seed that comes out the bottom. There may also be feeding ports on the sides. Unlike tray feeders, hopper, or “house” feeders, can be filled with several pounds of seed and may not need to be filled for several days or even a week or more.

Although they are better protected, water can still get into these feeders and spoil the seed. They should be inspected frequently and emptied and cleaned regularly. Hopper feeders can be mounted on posts or suspended.

Window Feeders

These feeders attach to windows or sills and afford an up-close look at the feathered friends who come to visit. Experts say they are also the safest of all feeders when it comes to preventing window collisions. They are very accessible, which makes them easy to fill and clean.

Since these feeders are often open and unprotected, and the birds stand directly in the feeder while feeding, they should be cleaned regularly.

Tube Feeders

This type of feeder is enclosed and provides good protection from the elements. There are several feeding ports with perches, and the design is geared toward attracting small birds; jays, grackles, and doves cannot land and feed at tube feeders. These feeders can be large, and so don’t need to be filled as frequently.