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Hey fellow Whatbirders!

I haven't been on for a while... I'm sorry if this question has been asked before, but what do you think is the best feeder type (tray, hopper, tube, etc.)? I was hoping to attract as many birds as possible to my backyard. I'm not looking for a feeder that attracts any specific kind of bird species, but one that attracts as many species/individuals as possible.

Thanks a lot,

akandula

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If I had to choose just one, I think I would go with a large, all- or mostly-metal hopper feeder with screen mesh like the Stokes Select Giant Combo Feeder (it can hold Nyjer and BOSS).

Edited by The Bird Nuts
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9 minutes ago, akandula said:

I was hoping to attract as many birds as possible to my backyard.

You may want to consider a variety of feeders as opposed to one specific feeder since different types of feeders are designed to attract different types of birds. Platform feeders are better for larger birds like jays and cardinals while feeders with small perches will deter the bigger birds and allow the smaller birds less competition for food. Suet feeders will attract the woodpeckers better than other feeders, finch feeders are popular with finches, etc, etc. The wider variety of feeders and water attractions you have, the wider variety of birds you'll attract. Just my spin on backyard feeding.

 

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I have 3 tube feeders, 2 Suet and 2 Hummingbird. It works for me, since I’m in the middle of the forest on a hill, so we don’t get too many birds. I recommend a tray feeder, but we couldn’t use one since we would get 100s of Band-taileds eating it real quickly. Nyjer feeders are good, but the seed is expensive. 

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In my yard I have 2 hopper feeders and a suet cage. I think they, along with tube feeders, are the best as it keeps the bigger and often less desirable birds away from scoffing down large amounts of seeds and scaring away the smaller ones. I know here if I had a platform feeder it’d be magpies, pigeons, and starlings 24/7.  
The smaller birds spill enough of the seed onto the ground anyways that the larger birds can still feed below the feeder.
Yet, I have had flickers and magpies do acrobatics to get seed directly from the feeders, but it definitely slows them down! 
I believe black oil sunflowers are the seeds that attract the most species (?). Very messy though, and the shells release toxins that can kill grass and plants below the feeder. I haven’t noticed any issues though. 

In BC where I use a triple tube feeder with black oil I’ve noticed 34 species and the odd bear feeding on it. I also have a few hummingbird feeders which, of course, gets the hummers and once an oriole. 

In Calgary with black oil in the 2 hoppers I’ve noticed 21 bird species using them. 

The suet gets usually everything that feeds at the feeders, but is way more woodpecker friendly. I’ve also seen warblers feed off of it, robins, and other non seed eating birds.

I’d go with a hopper/tube and a suet cage just to get those extra species. 

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Others have said basically the same thing but if I could only have one feeder, it would be a tube feeder with BOSS.  Second place would go to a basic suet cage.

Personally, I favor this model.  I have three of these.  It's easy to clean.  The internal baffles keep the seed available at all ports, instead of only at the bottom ports as the level drops.  The perches adjust in or out to allow smaller or larger birds.  It's heavier plastic than most; it won't stand up to squirrel gnawing, but otherwise it's more than sturdy enough.  Replacement perches, lids, and ports are available on line.

https://www.amazon.com/Classic-Brands-Hanging-Capacity-Abundance/dp/B003UNYEPQ

There's also the smaller model:

https://classicbrands.net/product/harmony-seed-feeder/

Regardless of the feeders you prefer, I'm a strong advocate of squirrel baffles.  A good one may cost $30 to $45 but it will save you that much in stolen seed in a couple of months.

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We use this one for our tube feeders 

https://www.amazon.com/Squirrel-Buster-Classic-Feeding-Capacity/dp/B000HHHEF0/ref=mp_s_a_1_5?dchild=1&keywords=squirrel%2Bbuster%2Bbird%2Bfeeders&qid=1604413403&sprefix=squirrel%2Bbus&sr=8-5&th=1&psc=1

While it’s pretty expensive, it truly does keep the squirrels out, and it’s real good quality. We have two out that we’ve had for over 10 years, and there still in perfect shape. 

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Based on your question, if you could only have one type of feeder and you would like the one that the most number of species could actually use and be drawn to it would be a platform feeder, hands down... It is not even close. 

 A platform feeder does not restrict any bird since it is open to the air and requires no balance for the bird.  Any size bird can use a platform feeder... even a kinglet (small) or an American Crow (large).   They make them that hang from a hook or you can build one out of piece of 3/8" plywood.  The ones you build will last a few years and then you will replace it. You can make one from a large plastic outdoor plant pot water trey.   Just drill holes in it so rainwater will pass through and not make your seeds soggy. 

The biggest disadvantage to a platform feeder is that you have to put seed on it or in it almost every day.  Whereas a hopper style feeder will last several days between fill ups. 

Hope this helps! 

 

 

 

 

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5 hours ago, tclarkwood said:

Any size bird can use a platform feeder... even a kinglet (small) or an American Crow (large).

As someone else already noted, small birds at tube feeders toss enough on the ground for the larger ones.  I'd rather have something that restricts doves, starlings, grackles, etc.  I have one hanging platform, about 8" square, hanging off the bottom of my suet cage.  It's there to catch large chunks of suet the birds may knock loose, to keep those chunks out of SquirrelBane the Unstoppable, the Terrier from Hell.

Edited by Charlie Spencer
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Yes... platform feeders require more cleaning and attention but the question was what type of feeder would attract the most birds and allow the most species of birds to eat.  The answer is a platform feeder.   I've used all types and it is not even close.   You have to clean them frequently and put new seed in constantly.  That is the drawback. 

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You can build a platform feeder like this one with a square piece of plywood, small stove pipe and piece of conduit from Lowe’s for about 25 bucks.  This is squirrel and raccoon proof as well.  Been using it about 8 years. Need to replace plywood soon.  We get every kind of bird you can imagine on it. 514290C4-57A1-4FC4-8038-D358A35349AD.jpeg.ea7be4afb8047f8947919864f9a7baa0.jpeg

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  • 3 weeks later...

Tray Or Platform Feeders attract the widest variety of seed-eating feeder birds. However, to attract the greatest variety of birds to your yard, provide several different feeder types offering a variety of foods. You’ll find that some species are more likely to use one kind of feeder over another.


Nyjer (also called thistle) feeders are especially popular with finches, pine siskins, and common redpolls.
Suet feeders attract a variety of woodpeckers, nuthatches, chickadees, titmice, jays, and starlings.
Nectar feeders will attract orioles, hummingbirds.

Edited by Lucas12
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