On the ground
Many species of birds, including sparrows and doves, prefer to feed on large, flat surfaces and may not visit any type of elevated feeder. Song Sparrows, Fox Sparrows, and many towhee species, for instance, will rarely land on a feeder, but they will readily eat fallen seed from the ground beneath your feeders. To attract these species, try spreading seed on the ground or on a large surface like the top of a picnic table.
A hopper feeder is a platform upon which walls and a roof are built, forming a “hopper” that protects seed against the weather. Large hoppers attract most species of feeder birds and will allow larger species, like doves and grackles to feed. If you would prefer to discourage these larger birds, try using a smaller hopper feeder.
A tube feeder is a hollow cylinder, often made of plastic, with multiple feeding ports and perches. Tube feeders keep seed fairly dry. Feeders with short perches accommodate small birds such as finches but exclude larger birds such as grackles and jays. The size of the feeding ports varies as well, depending on the type of seed to be offered.
Nectar feeders are specially made to dispense nectar through small holes. Choose a feeder that is easy to take apart and clean, because the feeder should be washed or run through the dishwasher frequently.
Suet or suet mixes can be placed in an onion bag or a specially made cage. Suet also can be tied to trees or smeared into knotholes. Cages that are only accessible at the bottom tend to be starling-resistent but allow woodpeckers, nuthatches, and chickadees to feed by clinging upside down. Make sure your suet cage lid is secured so that no animals can get stuck inside.
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