For the lover of nature, you may be on a bird watch. Especially when it comes to the wide variety of the type of birds we see flying over the hedgerows.
In reality, there’s no such thing as too many bird feeders. There are so many flying friends, big and small who need their own sustenance and their own way of accessing food. For example, a long-beaked hummingbird will be able to access far more food than a broad-beaked cardinal. And that’s why there is such a variety for the different types of bird feeder out there.
In fact, the best thing you can do to ensure you’re setting up the right types of bird feeders is to have a look at the birds flying around your area and the bird breeds native to your garden. This is because you wouldn’t find a seagull strutting around your garden in arrogance if you live in the midlands; you might, however, find yourself hosting a garden party to a family of house sparrows.
With that, the team here at The Hobby Kraze wanted to clear up a few things on your behalf. This way you can be sure you’re getting your hands on the best bird feeders in the UK and our great British wildlife continue to thrive in the cold sun.
Here’s what we’ll be covering in this article to the types of bird feeders:
- When Did the Types of Bird Feeders Rise to Popularity?
- Can I Place Wild Bird Feeders in the British Woodlands?
- What are the Different Food Types to Place in A Platform Bird Feeder?
- How Can You Know Which are the Best Bird Feeders in the UK?
- Are the Different Types of Feeders Easy to Clean, Maintain and Refill?
- What Are the 22 Different Types of Feeders for the Nature Lover?
Before we get going, there’s one thing we’d like to clear up. After all, we are a bit of a myth-busting crew here at The Hobby Kraze.
There are some misconceptions flying around the skies alongside our British birds. One of which is that the various types of bird feeders can prevent birds from migrating around from Winter to Summer.
However, the reality is that even the best bird feeders in the UK won’t stop the natural instincts of the migratory period. So-called ‘internal clocks’ from the temperature and weather patterns act as alarm clocks for our birds to head south for the Winter and back up to their homes in the Summer.
In fact, if this myth were true, the robin wouldn’t appear as a Winter treat and we’d have swifts and swallows in our garden all year long.
When Did the Types of Bird Feeders Rise to Popularity?
People have been feeding birds for centuries, whether it’s leaving a patch of stale breadcrumbs on the ground as wild bird feeders or taking to the streets with a bucket in-hand filled to the brim with grains and goodies.
Because of this love us Brits have for feeding the aviary populations, our birds have increased in numbers. One of the biggest benefiters to the types of bird feeders are the pigeon population. Although, they are becoming a bit of a nuisance as they grow more confident at stealing your sandwich mid-bite on the park bench.
It wasn’t always like this, though. The first written and recorded account of purposefully feeding wild birds for nothing more than sheer joy was by a Brit named James Fisher. He noted there were 6th century monks who would feed pigeons to tame and domesticate them.
Of course, since then, it has only grown in popularity. Even the popular Punch magazine published that it had become a national pastime during the reign of notorious animal kingdom lover Queen Victoria.
In fact, our cousins across the pond love this hobby and their birds so much that they have an entire month dedicated to it! It’s called the Bird-Feeding Month and has been held every year since 1994.
So, in reality, using the different types of bird feeders (including the wild bird feeders) have been a past time slowly growing in popularity after some 6th century monks took it upon them to greet the local pigeons with a meal.
Can I Place Wild Bird Feeders in the British Woodlands?
If you don’t have a garden but still want to be able to feed the birds and even take a few snaps while out birdwatching, there’s nothing to stop you from setting up wild bird feeders.
In the UK, feeding wildlife is not illegal: you can do it to your heart’s content. However, just like anything else from hobbies to adventures, you need to ask the landowner’s permission. If a farmer doesn’t want excess wildlife on his land, you shouldn’t put up some of the types of bird feeders in his field. The same goes for landmarks. Your garden, national trust sites and other open spaces are much more relaxed options you’ll probably want to consider.
While it may be perfectly legal to be placing the best bird feeders in the UK wilderness and woodlands, it can sometimes create some negative changes in the local wildlife and habitats. So, it might be worth jotting down these impacts before pitching up the various types of bird feeders.
For example, diseased birds can feed on your feeders and spread the illnesses to other birds who may subsequently use that feeder.
Here are some other considerations to using the different types of feeders:
- Population Changes
- Habitat Changes
- Garden Territorial Fights
- Nutritional Developments
- Other Animals Saying Hello
What are the Different Food Types to Place in A Platform Bird Feeder?
There’s no point in the team here at The Hobby Kraze walking you through a variety of the best bird feeders in the UK from the platform bird feeder to the caged bird feeder without first explaining about the foods.
You may have some questions floating around such as “What types of food can be placed into a bird feeder?”. And, while this question can vary depending on the different types of feeders you’ve opted for, where you decide to place the bird feeder and the birds that frequent your area, we can help move around some of the clouds.
In fact, we can walk you through all the different types of bird food you can feed the wildlife here in the UK. Watch out, though, there’s quite a few different things you could use:
- Beef Suet
- Bird Feed
- Brazil Nuts
- Dried Meal Worms
- Hickory Nuts
- Macadamia Nuts
- Melted Lard
- Mild Cheeses
- Natural Cereals
- Peanuts (Plain)
- Pine Nuts
- Rye Seed
- Suet Bars
- Sunflower Seeds
- Unsalted Meat Rind
- Wholegrain Breadcrumbs
As you may have noticed, there are a lot of seeds and nuts as a part of this list. This is because they are all-natural ingredients that our British birds will be able to find on the forest floor regardless of whether we serve them on a specific platform bird feeder or not. So, at least you know they’re completely safe.
If you want to know more about these fantastic natural protein and micro-nutrient-packed ingredients of nature, take a look at our other guide: “A Foodie Guide to the Types of Nuts”.
How Can You Know Which are the Best Bird Feeders in the UK?
Finding the best bird feeders in the UK for you, as we’ve already mentioned, can depend on quite a few factors. For example:
- The size of the birds
- The breed of the birds
- The garden space
- The pet situation
- The pest situation
- The woodland area
- The type of food
- The maintenance level
- The size of the feeder
- The feeder decoration
This is because some bird feeders are suited to some birds more than others. As well as this, there are some gardens that might be closer to the homes of pests such as squirrels who sneak some of that delicious food..
But don’t worry, we’ll go through the suitability of each of the 22 types of bird feeders in this article!
Although, these should serve as good factors to look out for when getting your hands on the perfect bird feeder. Always consider the layout of the land and the birds that will glide onto the bird feeder for a snack. Then, it’s time to consider your own part to play such as whether or not you want a feeder that is high off the ground, small, affordable, able to hold liquids, easy to clean and so on.
Here at The Hobby Kraze, if there’s one tip we can share for your adventures into buying the different types of feeders, it’s to go with an easily maintainable feeder: they get a lot dirtier than you could ever expect!
Otherwise, the best bird feeders in the UK will be situated in a quiet place, be in an open environment, have a form of shelter, be mounted away from other eaters and be close to a lookout point. This way your birds are happy, and you get to view them in all their glory from a safe distance.
Are the Different Types of Feeders Easy to Clean, Maintain and Refill?
Again, we’ve already slightly touched on this subject, but it does need more attention (like the types of bird feeders).
The first thing to consider would be how easily your new platform bird feeder comes apart for cleaning. This is because it’s something you should do regularly to prevent the build-up of bacteria and disease in the local aviary population.
Many people will say that a food tray or platform bird feeder is best simply because it’s easier to clean but it does come with an array of other issues such as opening the platform to other pests or weather conditions.
The next step is making sure all food falling to the ground is picked up to avoid attracting unwanted guests to the types of bird feeders such as rats. Then it’s a case of cleaning the different types of feeders using a 5% disinfectant solution. This removes bacteria, droppings and fungi while remaining safe for the birds to come back for another snack.
Finally, if you’re finding that the food supply is taking longer than a few days to clear (or before the next clean), you’ll want to consider putting less food inside. It’ll attract just as many of the British birds without the added concern of wasting food or finding other pests.
What Are the 22 Different Types of Feeders for the Nature Lover?
Now, we’re onto the bit we’ve all been waiting for: the 22 types of bird feeders you can be placing in your garden, on your window or even in the local woodland to help with wildlife far from home.
Bird feeders will differ from where they go and how you mount them to the foods placed inside. They’ll also change depending on the special features you’re looking for and the types of food you want to place inside (hence there being so many variations).
Caged Bird Feeder
First on the list are the caged types of bird feeders. They feature metal bars around the feeder allowing birds inside without other pests or larger birds of prey making their way in, too. The Caged Bird Feeder is great for smaller birds such as a blue jay as well as any feed types (because the inside feeder can be any shape or size). However, they can be a nuisance to clean.
Carved-Wall Bird Feeder
A Carved-Wall Bird Feeder is becoming more and more rare. While the bird feeding hobby is progressing in popularity, the feeders themselves tend to be more modern and temporary. The carved-wall types of bird feeders are actually wild bird feeders as they are specially designed food baths typically carved into old-town brick walls and are mainly a sight throughout Europe.
Dome-Top Bird Feeder
The Dome-Top Bird Feeder is also known as having a weather dome. This is because it is designed to be an umbrella that shelters from the wind and rain. The dome top can be adjusted to be higher or lower depending on the size of birds in the area and the weather conditions. However, they can reach a height of 15 inches and are made using see-through plastic for the best views.
Fly-Through Bird Feeder
The Fly-Through Bird Feeder is any bird feeder such as a platform bird feeder or wild bird feeder that allows birds to – essentially – fly through. Typically speaking, they’ll be the platformed ‘house’ that makes use of a tray and a roof to allow for a variety of foods and birds while sheltering them if they decide to make a stop.
Freestanding Bird Feeder
The Freestanding Bird Feeder is exactly what is says on the tin: a freestanding platform bird feeder. If you’re the bird lover with a large garden missing the focal point, the Freestanding Bird Feeder could be the answer. They’re generally metal or wood fly-through types with reinforced bases burrowing into the ground for stability. Plus, many of them are very ornamental!
Fresh Fruit Bird Feeder
You’re probably realising that many of the types of bird feeders have pretty self-explanatory names. With that, the Fresh Fruit Bird Feeder is a special type of hanging feeder with metal hooks capable of holding pieces of fresh fruit such as orange segments, banana slices, apple slices and currants. These different types of feeders are 2D, have no sharp areas and are very easy to clean!
Ground Bird Feeder
The Ground Bird Feeder isn’t always the best option for areas prone to other hungry pests such as squirrels, rabbits and rats. As well as this, they’re not the best bird feeders in the UK with dogs and cats as they may take their own nibble and become sick. Otherwise, they’re often a wooden type of platform feeder that sit on the ground and can sometimes feature a basket cage on top.
Hanging Bird Feeder
The Hanging Bird Feeder will generally go in place of the hanging basket at the front and back of the house. Or, if you’re after more of woodland treat for birds, they can hang from tree branches as wild bird feeders. With this, they’re easy to use and maintain so have become a common choice among British households. The only issue is that they aren’t very weather-proof for birds.
Home-Made Bird Feeder
These types of bird feeders are also known as the Bottle Bird Feeder simply because they’re typically made using recycled materials around the house such as bottles. To make one, all you need is an empty bottle (with the wrapper taken off) and a small attachment. There is a base and a hook to help your bottle slow-release the bird feed and seeds while being a hanging bird feeder.
Hopper Bird Feeder
Also known as a House Bird Feeder, the Hopper Bird feeder is one of the main variations of the fly-through bird feeder. They typically look like a house (hence the name) and feature a tray on a platform bird feeder. With this, it can be easy to clean and maintain (all you need to do is place a large amount of bird feed in the tray to attract birds of all shapes and sizes!).
Mealworm Bird Feeder
The Mealworm Bird Feeder is very unique in this list of the types of bird feeder simply because it is made using a glass bowl rather than metal or plastic. The glass needs to be slippery enough so that live food such as mealworms and other non-flying insects can’t climb up the sides and escape. They’re typically Hanging Bird Feeders with angular bowls and small metal perches.
Multi-Feeder Bird Feeder
A Multi-Feeder Bird feeder is one of the different types of feeder that can have a multitude of tubes or bowls with many small perches (sometimes next to each other and sometimes on top of each other). They can be a pain to clean and maintain. However, these types of bird feeders are the best for feeding large flocks of birds of varying sizes their meals without constantly topping up!
Nectar Bird Feeder
Of course, we’ve already mentioned that the types of bird feeder are made for the types of feed out there as well as the various flying mammals you might get a visit from. However, one of the best examples is the Nectar Bird Feeder; they’re made for long-beaked birds like the hummingbird, house a liquid like nectar and have long tubes for the beaks to go into and drink the nectar.
Nut and Nibble Bird Feeder
The Nut and Nibble Bird Feeder is also known as a Log Bird Feeder. Plus, they fit within a category of the Home-Made Bird Feeder simply because these are the result of a DIY project. If you’ve got a log, some string and a drill (plus some nuts and peanut butter to stick) you’re good to go. Drill holes into the log and your woodpeckers (and the like) have got a job and some perches.
Nyjer Bird Feeder
The Nyjer Bird feeder features a very fine mesh in a tubular shape while hanging. They hold small black Nyjer and thistle seed feed that the thistle and goldfinch love to nibble at. The reason being that Nyjer seeds are so small and fine, they often fall through the cracks of general different types of feeders. Plus, only certain birds with fine beaks are able to access the Nyjer seeds inside.
Peanut Bird Feeder
The Peanut Bird Feeder is another of the types of bird feeders that adhere to the name on the label. They’re typically made for large peanuts but can be used for other nut types such as macadamia. Particularly loved by woodpeckers, blue jays and other pecking birds, these types of bird feeders feature a spiral tube allow for access while making it a job and a half to do so.
Platform Bird Feeder
We’ve mentioned these different types of feeder a few times because they’re one of the most common types. This is because they’re cheap, easy to assemble, and very easy to clean while being a free-for-all for any type of bird. Plus, they can be hanging, hopper, ground or wild bird feeders. With this, they’re very popular but can attract the attention of other animals, too.
Squirrel-Proof Bird Feeder
A Squirrel-Proof Bird Feeder is one of the best bird feeders in the UK while being much like the Caged Bird Feeder. The idea is to reduce the amount of stolen bird feed from pesky squirrels and rats by housing the bird feeder within a metal cage while hanging off the ground. This means the squirrels can’t climb up the pole and directly access the feed (saving you money and maintenance).
Station Bird Feeder
A Station Bird Feeder is one of the only types of bird feeder whose purpose isn’t quite so obvious. The Station Bird Feeder is generally a large pole that spouts into many different hangers at the top. This means it can hold a variety of different types of hanging feeder such as the Nyjer Bird Feeder, the Nectar Bird Feeder, the Caged Bird Feeder, the Suet Bird Feeder and more.
Suet Bird Feeder
A Suet Bird Feeder is a small cage with a door making it easily accessible and re-fillable for suet blocks. Suet blocks (or suet cakes) can be bought or homemade to offer our birds a nutritious nibble. They consist of a mixture of rendered suet, peanut butter, cornmeal, wheat flour, bird seed, chopped nuts, dried mealworms and some fruits of choice.
Window Bird Feeder
While not types of bird feeders with random tiny windows, they’re lightweight bird feeders than can be securely attached or – for a more temporary solution – suction-cupped to a window. They’re typically small feeders made out of plastic with a tray to hold the seed and a small cover to protect the birds. They’re perfect for apartments and watching visitors up-close and cosy!
Wreath Bird Feeder
If you can picture a slinky with both ends close together, you’ve pretty much got the idea when it comes to the Wreath Bird Feeder. Made of metal, it is a tubular feeder that coils into a wreath with a small gap at the top for easy re-fil. They are typically hung from branches or from a Station Bird Feeder and are filled with pecking nuts such as cased peanuts like in the Peanut Bird Feeder.
Now you know the various types of bird feeders you can stand or hang in your great British garden, you can think about all the other luxurious items you could be including in your bird-friendly space. For example, a nice new bird bath, a bird’s nest in the trees, a shelter from our British grey clouds and more.
If you enjoyed this article, it’s safe to say you’re a true lover of British wildlife and everything nature has to offer on our small island. Luckily, you’re just like the team here at The Hobby Kraze.
So, if you liked this article, why not take a gander at our other nature-infused ultimate guides from the team here at The Hobby Kraze. From walking to identifying, there’s always a hobby in you that takes you back to nature.
- A Foodie Guide to the Types of Nuts
- The Top 51 Native Types of Flowers to Grow in Your Great British Garden
- Discovering the 17 Various Types of Cricket You Can Hear Chirping
- The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Rock Collection & Tumbling
- Ultimate Guide to Hiking for Beginners