Bird feed should be replaced each month if the food is not consumed, and if it gets wet then it should be replaced immediately. Wet bird seed can lead to the spread of bacteria and mould, meaning birds can eat infected seed and become diseased.
- Tray or Platform feeders: these attract a wide variety of birds as they are easily spotted by birds. Also, they hold a large variety of foods, meaning a large range of bird species. These feeders often have drainage so seeds are kept fresher for longer. However, they are also easy access for squirrels.
- Hopper or ‘house’ feeders: as seed is contained inside the ‘house’ the seed is kept fresher for longer. This is important as it can take birds a while to find the feeder, as the seeds are more concealed. Some house feeders have mechanisms built to keep squirrels out. They can hold a large amount of seed but this means a large amount of bird food can get wet (which can encourage the spread of bacteria and mould).
- Window feeders: these feeders are fixed to a window, meaning you can be very connected to nature as you can see birds from the inside, meaning they’re perfect for smaller gardens. They can also help to prevent window collisions, as the feeder makes it obvious to birds that there is a barrier there. But many birds stand on the seeds when eating from this one, therefore seeds can get dirty and may need to be changed daily. Easy access to refill though.
- Tube feeders: these keep seeds clean and dry. They keep larger birds away so smaller birds have a safe space to feed. Some have perches to be accessible for species that feed upside down (e.g. goldfinches). However, some feeders allow seed below the lowest feeding opening, so that seed can spread bacteria which can infect the seeds above and can cause disease in birds. Many of these feeders are huge, which is great for when lots of birds visit, but not for when only a few do, as seed won’t be used up quick enough.
- Nyjer/thistle feeders: designed to hold smaller, thinner Nyjer or thistle seeds. These have port openings that are smaller than those for mixed seed and prevent the seed from falling out. Great for finches that have thin beaks to access smaller feeding ports.
- Suet feeders: these feeders are usually made out of wire/plastic mesh and can often be nailed somewhere or suspended. They attract Woodpeckers, Starlings, Nuthatches, and Chickadees. Many suet cages open at the bottom, which is good for birds that hang upside down, but this design excludes Starlings who can’t perch that way.