Decide what kind of birds you want to attract, such as a wide variety of all kinds of birds, just finches, just small songbirds, etc. Hopper and tray feeders will attract a wide variety, including larger birds, as they have ledges and larger areas for large birds to land. Tube feeders are usually attractive to medium and smaller-sized songbirds. Finch tube feeders have small holes for the small seeds, like Nyjer® (thistle) that finches eat. To attract the greatest variety of birds, use a variety of feeders, and you will have the most fun!

Read the labels on the bird feeders and choose a feeder with quality education on the label that tells you what kind of birds the feeder attracts and what kind of seed to put in the feeder.

Examine the feeder to see if it easy to fill because you will be filling it a lot.

Examine the feeder to see if it is easy to clean. Feeder cleanliness is very important to the health of songbirds. Feeders should be cleaned on a regular basis with hot, soapy water or a mild bleach solution, then rinsed well.

Examine the feeder to see the quality of the construction materials and how easy it is put together. Flimsy materials will not hold up to the weather elements and the feeder will not last long.

To keep squirrels off feeders, choose the Squirrel-X® Grande Squirrel-Proof Feeder, or mount your feeders on the Stokes Select® Bird Feeder Pole and use the Squirrel-X® Squirrel Baffle on the pole below your feeder.

Stokes Select giant combo feederChoose a large capacity feeder, such as the Stokes Select® Giant Combo Feeder, to decrease trips to fill the feeder. This is also helpful when you are going on vacation and will not be able to fill the feeder for awhile.

Make sure you have the right kind of feeder for the right kind of seed. Use hopper, tray and tube feeders for sunflower seed or seed mixes that contain sunflower and other seeds. Use special finch feeders to feed Nyjer® (thistle), Nyjer® Plus (Nyjer® plus sunflower chips) or finch mixes because these are tiny seeds and finch feeders have tiny holes that contain and properly dispense the seeds. Do not use sunflower or sunflower mixes in finch feeders. These large seeds cannot fit through the tiny holes in a finch feeder.

Many birds like to feed as a flock, so using more than one feeder will encourage flock species such as chickadees and finches to visit.

© Don & Lillian Stokes, 2010