10 Types of Bird Feeders You Need in Your Backyard

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You can never have enough bird feeders. Learn about the different types of bird feeders available, and make plans to add a new one to your yard.

suet feederVia Amazon.com

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.

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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 types of bird 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.

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oriole feederVia Amazon.com

Oriole Fruit Feeder

To attract orioles, tanagers, grosbeaks and catbirds, look for fruit feeders that hold 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.

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Hummingbird feederVia Amazon.com

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, this type of bird feeder will be a magnet for those glorious little flyers we call hummingbirds. Here’s how to make your own sugar water. Also look for orange-colored oriole sugar water feeders.

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Check out 16 hummingbird feeders and accessories your birds will love.

Squirrel Buster FeederVia Amazon.com

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.

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mesh thistle seed finch feederVia Chewy.com

Nyjer Finch Feeder

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

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Cardinal Tray FeederVia Amazon.com

Tray or Platform Feeder

These types of bird 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 squirrel feeders.

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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 types of bird feeders in the shape of a house or a barn. Sometimes you can even find hopper feeders with suet cake holders 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.

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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. 

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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 bluebird feeder. Try a small glass dish or a domed feeder. Here’s our guide to feeding mealworms.

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