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Calling Birds

Here’s how to choose a bird feeder according to which birds you want to attract.

As you’re feeder shopping, all kinds of terminology comes into play. Why are there so many kinds of feeders? And does it matter which one you choose? While none are necessarily the wrong choice, it’s helpful to understand that feeders are designed to attract and accommodate birds of certain species and sizes. What you should ultimately choose depends on what you’d like to see in your yard. With this handy guide, you can pick your first feeder—or figure out which you should add next.

Hopper: Backyard birders find much to like in this model, and if you’re choosing your very first feeder, this might fit the bill. These are large, hold lots of seed and attract a wide mix of songbirds, from the American goldfinch to blue jays. Fill with Lyric Supreme Wild Bird Mix and enjoy the show!

Tube: If your first feeder is getting crowded, a tube feeder is a great addition. With the small perches and openings, it’s ideal for finches, black-capped chickadees, white-breasted nuthatches and other small birds. If these are your target birds, choose a trayless model with perches above the eating ports to facilitate upside-down eating, and fill with Lyric Finch Small Songbird Wild Bird Mix.

Platform: After you’ve been backyard birding for a while, this is a feeder worth trying. Like the hopper feeder, it draws a wide variety of species, even ones that otherwise avoid other feeder designs. Try placing it down low to appeal to mourning doves and juncos, which normally feed off the ground. Wherever you place it, fill it with a mix that contains seeds with shells to protect it from the weather, like Lyric Cardinal Premium Sunflower and Safflower Wild Bird Mix.

Window: These are typically smaller feeders that attach to the window with suction cups, and provide an excellent mechanism to get an up-close look at nature from the comfort of your breakfast nook. Since a bold black-capped chickadee will likely be the first visitor, roll out the welcome mat with Lyric Chickadee Premium Sunflower & Nut Wild Bird Mix.

Wire Mesh: Woodpeckers, nuthatches, and other tree-dwelling birds do not require perches to cling to feeders. If you want to attract these birds and keep others away, try a feeder of this type and fill it with Lyric Woodpecker No Waste Wild Bird Mix.

Keep in mind that bird populations can fluctuate in your neighborhood year-round depending on a host of factors. Be willing to experiment with different feeders and placements, and you’ll have cultivated a hobby that will bring you and your family joy for years to come!