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astroalex

What Kind of Feeders do you Recommend?

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Hi! I'm looking to attract goldfinches, cardinals, chickadees, titmice, nuthatches, and the such. I'm trying to look through Amazon, but it's all so foreign to me. If you could give me some insight, that'd be really nice! I already have just a regular tube feeder (basically this https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcS8PpAEFyaxTxuTlMI-tNhechM2k6HZSfmdwc50a3_RhEGu7uoF but without the caging, the picture I was going to link was gigantic so I just used this one), but the only feeders I can find on Amazon are big things in the shape of churches and stuff, and I just don't care about that stuff. I just want a normal feeder that will do it's job and hold up nicely. 

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Nothing in this post is an endorsement of particular retailers.  The two models I suggest are available from multiple vendors.

If you don't have squirrels, I suggest this model.  The design ensures seed is available at all ports, and it is very easy to open and clean.  It comes with two styles of ports that can be swapped out for regular seed or niger for goldfinches.

https://www.walmart.com/ip/More-Birds-Abundance-Seed-Feeder-Gray/19631371

If you have squirrels, go with this one.  It can be mounted on a pole, post, tree, or hung up.  It is as close to squirrel-proof as I've found.  Over three decades, I had only two figure out a way to get at the seed, and even then they couldn't get at it quickly.  It's also easy to clean.

https://www.chewy.com/homestead-super-stop-squirrel-green/dp/139820?utm_source=google-product&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=hg&utm_content=Homestead&utm_term=&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIo9iJibqA2AIVjksNCh2i4wIJEAYYBiABEgJSefD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds

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I personally dislike small tube feeders because they tend to be difficult for me to clean.  I recommend feeders that are mostly made of metal.  Plastic breaks too easily and can be chewed by squirrels.  If squirrels are getting to your feeders you should have a baffle, though.

We like to get large feeders since they tend to cost less per pound of capacity.

We have had this giant feeder by Stokes (https://www.amazon.com/Stokes-Select-Outdoor-Compartments-Capacity/dp/B001M7P3N4/ref=sr_1_2?s=lawn-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1512944242&sr=1-2) for a little while now and it has worked well.  The woodpeckers and nuthatches can cling to it as well as the chickadees, titmice, etc.

We really, really liked this feeder (https://www.amazon.com/Perky-Pet-325S-Panorama-Bird-Feeder/dp/B0079GHJWK/ref=sr_1_22?s=lawn-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1498797485&sr=1-22&keywords=metal+bird+feeder) because it could hold a lot of birds at once, no tools are needed to take it apart to clean, and even the Mourning Doves used it, but it was dropped and the plastic broke. :(  This (https://www.amazon.com/Perky-Pet-Copper-Panorama-Bird-Feeder/dp/B0079GHJXY/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1512946803&sr=8-3&keywords=panorama+bird+feeder) is a smaller version which we also really liked but it also broke when it was dropped.  So, as long as they are not dropped they are fantastic feeders! :wacko:

Flock of Evening Grosbeaks at our feeder!

 

Edited by The Bird Nuts
Added more.....
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This is a good question, but hard to answer, and it really comes down to how much effort are you willing to put into feeding birds and maintaining feeders.  First and foremost, if you are going to feed birds you need to be responsible.  This  means you need to regularly clean your feeders and ensure that your station is safe and healthy.  It's just not fair to attract birds to food only to have them get a disease or be easy targets for outdoor cats etc. 

There are a lot of options that will attract the birds you are looking for and a tube feeder is a good start, however as mentioned above cheap plastic feeders are hard to clean and will break very quickly with exposure to the elements.  If I were you I would invest in a really nice tube feeder like a Brome Squirrel Buster (http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/prod_display.cfm?pcatid=12394&cmpid=10cseYY&ref=XXXX&subref=AA&gclid=CjwKCAiAvMPRBRBIEiwABuO6qYGXtY5gbPBHSOdG2QrcQXajDkBwrKL_IoM5s-KdQEnl_oraKS52VxoC0JMQAvD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds).  I would recommend the optional plastic rain guard to help make your seed last long even through rain storms. Avoid using seed mixes as a lot of times they are junk, just plain black oil sunflower seeds work great, and if you're concerned about your lawn and shells get the hulled sunflower seeds. With this feeder I find it is pretty easy to clean and only requires it roughly every time it is depleted which it can go for 2-4 weeks on a fill up. 

The best way to attract the greatest variety of birds would be to use a platform feeder like (http://www.birdschoice.com/our-products/bird-feeders/green-solutions-large-hanging-tray-feeder).  The only downsides are A. you go through more seed and you probably need to fill it daily (it's ok to use mixes in these) and B. it really needs to be cleaned often. When birds are chowing down, they poop, and the poop doesn't fall to the ground like on a tube feeder it stays there and mixes with the food thus if gone unchecked, disease can spread quickly. A good hose down in the morning is usually good, but an actual soap/water wash is necessary every 1-2 weeks. 

This may be more information than you needed, but it's always good to invest in good high quality feeders. 

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I have to agree on the Squirrel Busters. I have 2 Mini's, one front, one back, and a Peanut Feeder Plus in the front yard. Best investment I've made so far in bird feeding. They are a bit pricey, but if you hang them correctly they can save a lot of money to allow you to buy better quality seeds. I feed sunflower hearts and peanuts. If you dont know anything about them, go to Youtube and watch some the many videos of them in action. Theres some negative ones too, but usually if you watch the video, 9 times out of 10 they have it hanging wrong. You're supposed to hang it 16 inches away from anything else that the squirrels can grab onto with their back legs. Also, go read the reviews on Amazon, thats a pretty good place to read about certain feeders. 

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I have a very old feeder that is basically that squirrel busters linked at first, but entirely made of metal that I just fixed up and hung in my backyard today. It's pretty old, it was my aunts that she bought at least 20 years ago, haha. I got a nice, large bag of black oil sunflower seeds today for the feeders, which worked super great and I got a nice look at the song sparrows and white throats living in the bushes out front (I certainly was not aware there was a bush out there that wasn't completely overrun by house sparrows). I put the squirrel blocking feeder in the back where all the goldfinches and cardinals live, but as far as I've seen they haven't come near it yet, though that wasn't very long ago and I put it out pretty late in the afternoon. I know for sure I'll be looking into that platform feeder, thanks! 

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I have so many different feeders.  I do avoid tube feeders because, imho, they seem to harbor more problems than other types.  That's just my opinion, of course.  It's always about trial and error in some respects, but covered platform feeders are a big hit in my yards, even smaller hanging platform feeders are a huge hit.  I also have two feeders that look like houses, one red and one green, that have a special perch that goes down when a squirrel gets on them, and the lowered perch under the weight hides the ports where the seed is.  Squirrels can't access.  I do have those big clear squirrel baffles/weather guards over the top too since those two feeders are hanging from a limb.

In my experience I've found that the more variety of feeders you have the more birds you attract, and even though I don't have tube feeders I get a ton of birds and a very good variety.

Habitat is also a bid deal to birds, so our yards have everything they need, front and back.  Our house sits on a bluff so it's a good thing there are tons of shrubs, trees, with trees and shrubs lining the yards.  The 'shrubby' look is good for them as it provides shelter and safety from predators.  We have hawks around here, so the birds can fly quickly to safety, and they get shelter from rain and storms in the same area.

The most popular feeders in my yard are of the platform variety (covered is best).  The persistent ground feeders that shy away from the covered platform feeders will frequent the small, open hanging ones too.  I also use a cement garden bench seat that is set on the ground to put millet and Nutri-Saff safflower seed on (it's a big hit).

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