What bird feeder is right for me?
 
Here in Wisconsin, we are fortunate to have a wide array of wild birds to watch year-round. If you enjoy watching birds, setting up a few bird feeders is a great way to attract them to your yard, balcony, or patio. The right type of bird feeder to purchase depends on what type of birds you're hoping to attract and how much space you have at your disposal. Here is a list of the most common types of bird feeders available, what types of seed work best in each feeder, and some of the Wisconsin birds you can expect to see at your feeder.
TUBE FEEDER- Tube bird feeders are excellent feeders for attracting smaller song birds. They are a cylindrical tube with tiny openings for releasing small bird seed; the openings are generally small enough that large birds cannot fit their beaks in to extract the seed. Generally, the perches are too small for larger birds, or the feeders may entirely lack purchases in the case of mesh feeders. The feeders can be plastic, wire mesh, or sometimes just a hanging sack of cloth mesh.



Best seed- Thistle, Nyjer, sunflower chips (if seed opening is big enough), Finch blends

Common birds- Goldfinch, House Finch, Chipping Sparrow, House Sparrow, Purple Finch
 

HOPPER FEEDER- A hopper bird feeder is more or less a reservoir that holds seed, and gravity causes the seed to disperse onto a flat tray (hopper). This type of feeder is great for larger birds that cannot perch on tube style feeders, and a more versatile seed blend can be selected.  Spillage from this feeder will attract other birds on the ground as well. 


 

Best seed- Sunflower seeds, whole corn, millet, peanuts, safflower, insects, cracked corn, thistle

Common birds- Cardinal, Mourning Dove, Blue Jay, Nuthatch, Finches, Sparrows, Woodpecker, Chickadee

SUET FEEDER- Suet bird feeders are generally hung to attract woodpeckers. Suet is a cake made of animal fat, and often has seed, fruit or insects blended into the cake. A suet feeder is usually just a wire cage which holds the suet cake and prevents hungry possums and raccoons from running away with it. Suet is very important to Wisconsin birds, as it provides them with the necessary fat content, they require year-round. A suet feeder should be incorporated into any bird feeder setup when possible. 

Best feed- Store bought suet, homemade suet

Common birds- Blue Jay, Cardinal, Nuthatch, Wren, Starling, Redheaded Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker


ORIOLE FEEDER- Oriole feeders come in several different varieties. Some oriole feeders simply contain nectar syrup, much like a hummingbird feeder. They are larger to accommodate the larger size of the bird. Some feeders simply contain a spike on which to spear an orange, oriole’s favorite food.  Many commercial oriole feeders will incorporate orange slices, jelly, and nectar into one feeder.

Best feed- orange slices/halves, jelly, oriole nectar

Common birds- Orioles