Which feeders are best for which birds?

Thursday 4th April 2019
Birdhouse Bird Feeder in Winter

Bird Tables:

Ground level tables and elevated tables are suitable for breeds such as Robins, Dunnock. Buntings and Finches prefer to be on the ground so feeding trays work well for them. Wooden trays or tables should be treated with a preservative that is not harmful to wildlife. Metal and plastic tables are easy to keep clean and are more difficult for rats and squirrels to climb. Many birds also prefer an open feeding tray and will avoid a feeder with a roof.


Bird Feeders:

There are two main types of feeder:

  • Mesh – designed to hold nuts. The design means that birds can feed on the contents without being able to fly off with the contents. These feeders are likely to be used by most species of Tits, Greenfinches, Woodpeckers and Nuthatches. Squirrels can often outsmart the mesh feeders.
  • Plastic tube – These come in a wide range of sizes and are easy to clean. Some of the tube feeders have a tray at the bottom for messy feeders! Seed trays also have another use and that is it provides an opportunity for the bird to sort through a seed mix for its preferred food.

Top tip!

It is preferable not to fill feeders with seed mixes, but rather to have as many different designs of feeder as possible. Each species has its own favourite food and way of feeding.


Bird Cakes:

These include fat balls and often coconut halves that can be hung out ready-made. Suet is high energy food and is useful for birds during the winter. There are many different designs for homemade versions including smearing the mixture in a pine cone, drilling holes into a suspended log and filling them with the mix and also using half a coconut. The plastic netting used to hold some bird cakes can pose a risk to small birds as well as having an impact on the environment.