10 Types of Bird Feeders You Need in Your Backyard

You can never have enough bird feeders. Learn about the different feeders available, and make plans to add a new one to attract more birds.

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Red headed woodpecker feeds on suetCourtesy Meg Kolodick
Red-headed woodpecker

Suet Feeder

You can find many different types of suet feeders, including the classic cage design or the cage attached to a vertical wooden platform, giving woodpeckers a place to prop with their tails. Suet feeders also attract nuthatches, chickadees, wrens and jays. Here’s how to make your own suet.

Buy It: Tail Prop Suet Feeder, $45 at Duncraft

Blue jay on peanut bird feederCourtesy John Pizniur
Blue jays love to visit peanut bird feeders.

Peanut Feeder

Peanut feeders are usually shaped like a tube, which can be filled with out-of-shell or in-shell peanuts. Here’s how to make a DIY peanut bird feeder. But you can also find them in round, wreath shapes. These feeders have large holes, so the birds (and sometimes squirrels) have to work to get peanuts out. Blue jays, nuthatches, tufted titmice and woodpeckers particularly love peanut feeders.

Buy It: Whole Peanut Wreath Feeder, $30 at Duncraft

orange feeder for oriolesCourtesy Spencer Lingenfelter
Baltimore oriole eating oranges at a feeder

Fruit Feeder

To attract orioles, tanagers, grosbeaks and catbirds, look for feeders that hold fruit like oranges, grape jelly and apples. These are great feeders to experiment with, especially in spring and fall, when you’ll see the most migrants. Fruit feeders may also attract butterflies.

Buy It: Oriole Fruit and Jelly Feeder, $40 at Duncraft

Ruby-throated hummingbird at a sugar water feederCourtesy Cindy Spudich
Ruby-throated hummingbird at a sugar water feeder

Sugar Water Feeder

Sugar water feeders are typically found in a few standard shapes, including glass bottle, tube and round dish. Whatever shape you choose, it will be a magnet for those glorious little flyers we call hummingbirds. Here’s how to make your own sugar water. Orange-colored sugar water feeders may also attract orioles.

Buy It: Aspects HummZinger Hummingbird Feeder: $28 at Amazon

rose-breasted grosbeak at a tube feederCourtesy Deborah Buckley
Rose-breasted grosbeak at a tube feeder

Tube Feeder

Fill tube feeders with sunflower seed or safflower seed to attract many birds, including Northern cardinals, tufted titmice, house finches, chickadees, and grosbeaks. To deter squirrels and bully birds like grackles, look for tube feeders that have a weighted contraption that closes off seed access for larger birds and squirrels.

Buy It: Squirrel Buster Classic Bird Feeder: $65 at Amazon

goldfinch eating nyjer seedCourtesy Susan Ferency
American Goldfinch eating nyjer seed.

Nyjer Feeder

Often a tube shaped, nyjer feeders hold the special tiny black thistle seed that American goldfinches love. Some nyjer feeders are a simple mesh sock, while others are made with metal or solid plastic. You can even get nyjer feeders that are several feet long, holding dozens of goldfinches at a time.

Buy It: Droll Yankees 20-Port Finch Feeder, $41 at Chewy

goldfinch on tray feederCourtesy Ashton F.
American goldfinch on tray feeder

Tray or Platform Feeder

These types of feeders can either hang from a hook or sit on your deck or the ground. In both cases, the feeding surface is completely open, so birds have plenty of space to land and eat. Tray feeders are often used to attract larger birds like mourning doves and ground-feeding birds like dark-eyed juncos. Look for feeders with holes or mesh on the bottom to allow for drainage. Some people who love squirrels even offer dried ears of corn on tray feeders.

Buy It: Zenport Platform Tray Bird Feeder, $50 at Walmart

cardinals at a hopper feederCourtesy Gary Walker
Cardinals and finches visit a hopper feeder

Hopper Feeder

The classic hopper feeder is usually covered with a roof and enclosed on all four sides. It’s common to find these feeders in the shape of a house or a barn. Sometimes you can even find options with suet feeders on either end. While they typically don’t deter squirrels, hopper feeders do protect seed from rain and snow. Larger birds such as woodpeckers, grosbeaks and mourning doves frequently visit them. Learn how to clean bird feeders.

Buy It: Bayside Cottage Bird Feeder, $20 at Chewy

Downy woodpecker and bluebird on a log feederCourtesy Evelyn Martin
Downy woodpecker and bluebird on a log feeder

Log Feeder

If you want a thrifty, DIY project, take an old log and drill a few holes in the side. These holes are perfect for stuffing full of suet or peanut butter for the birds. Plus, the log gives woodpeckers, blue jays and nuthatches a built-in perch. 

Buy It: Log Jammer Hardwood Feeder, $22 at Duncraft

bluebirds at a mealworm feederCourtesy CIndy Emery
Bluebirds at a mealworm feeder

Mealworm Feeder

To attract bluebirds and other insect-eating birds like thrushes and wrens, offer live mealworms in a small glass dish or a domed feeder. Here’s our guide to feeding mealworms.

Buy It: Birds Choice Bluebird Flower Feeder, $29 at Amazon