Ornithology: Feeding and Feeders (Types of Bird Feeders)

A Bird feeder is a device placed outside to supply bird food to birds. It is often used for home bird watching and sometimes for observations and experiments. It usually contains seeds or bird food such as sunflower, thistle, rapeseed or canola seed, millet, and safflower.

There are several types of bird feeders, but the most common is the seed feeder. A Seed feeder varies in size and design. It commonly contains sunflower seeds or mixed seeds best for attracting songbirds like finches, cardinals, and chickadees. Commonly, bird feeders are designed to dispense sunflower size seeds, but because some birds are too small to eat sunflower seeds, specialty feeders were made. One of the most commonly used specialty feeders is the finch feeder. It has smaller openings to dispense tiny seeds of Guizotia abyssinica, which is the favourite of smaller finches. Other types of specialty feeders are hummingbird feeders, oriole feeders, and suet feeders.

Hummingbird feeders are specifically made for hummingbirds. It does not dispense seeds, but liquid nourishment in the form of a sugar solution. A Hummingbird feeder requires high maintenance because it is more susceptible to moulds than any other type of feeder. It has to be cleaned frequently to avoid harm to the birds. An Oriole feeder, on the other hand, is a specialty feeder for New World orioles. It supplies artificial nectar and is designed to adapt to the orioles. Moreover, a suet feeder is typically made of metal with plastic coating, best for woodpeckers, flickers, and nuthatches.

Bird feeders are effective tools in taking care of birds. Not only do they help maintain the bird ecology, but they also help to conserve the ecology as a whole.