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    Choosing the Right Bird Feeder

    There are many types of bird feeders available, each designed for feeding different species of birds with assorted types of bird seed. When choosing a feeder it is best determine what types of birds you want to attract to your yard and where the feeder will be located. To attract the greatest variety of birds it is best to provide several types of feeder, offering a variety of food. Here are some different types of feeders for use in your yard as well as the types of food recommended for each one.


    Tray or platform feeders will attract the widest variety of birds but offer no protection agains rain or snow and with out excellent drainage your seed may become wet and grow mold and bacteria.Bird droppings can also build up rather quickly, ruining the seed. 


    The best tray feeders will have a screened bottom to allow for complete drainage of water. But even with screened bottoms you will want to clean the feeder frequently to keep bacteria from building up in the feeder. 

    You should only offer enough seed for a day or two of feeding and make sure to clean out the old seeds before adding more. The open design of these feeders also allows squirrels and chipmunks to feed on the seed and scare away other
    birds.

    Hopper or House feeders protect seeds against the weather and bird droppings, but if the seed inside the hopper gets wet they can become a breeding ground for bacteria and fungus. This style of feeder will also attract unwanted squirrels so it is important to use a squirrel baffle to keep the squirrels out of the bird seed.

    Hopper feeders are usually harder to clean then tray feeders but if kept clean and dry can attract a wide variety of feeder birds such as; Finches, Cardinals, Sparrows, Chickadees, and many more.

    Window Feeders are small plastic feeders attached to window glass with suction cups. They allow for up close views of birds and their placement makes them the safest of all feeder types for preventing window collisions. Food can become soiled quickly, due to the birds standing on the seeds while feeding, and should be changed out daily to prevent the seed from becoming contaminated.

    Tube feeders are great for keeping seed clean and dry, and can deter squirrels by using small metal feeding ports. These types of feeders are great for nyjer seeds because it keeps the small, light seeds from blowing away in the wind and squirrels are less attracted to neijer seed and will usually leave the feeders alone. These types of feeders are popular among clinging finches such as the goldfinch and purple finch, as well as pine siskins and quail. Remember to empty out leftover seeds before refilling to prevent contamination of the seed. Similar to the tube feeder are "sock" feeders which are fine mesh bags to which birds can cling to extract the seeds. Sock feeders can become wet with rain so only use large ones during dry seasons or if you have enough finches to consume the seed within a few days.

    These feeders are usually constructed from metal or plastic coated metal wire mesh and can be nailed or tied to a tree trunk, suspended in the air or attached to the side of a hopper feeder. Suet feeders are know to attract woodpeckers, chickadees, jays, starlings, and more. If you’re using suet to feed birds it is best to have a separate feeder because the suet can be messy to deal with and hard to clean out of platform feeders. After you’ve chosen your feeder you’ll want to determine the best type of bird seed for that feeder. You an visit your local Tractor Supply store or go to TractorSupply.com for more information.