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Robin On A Feeder

Types Of Bird Feeders

Where to place your feeders

Site your feeders and bird baths away from walls and fences where cats (and other predators) could pounce from and if cats do come into your garden then consider using a bird table rather than putting down ground feeders. Do put them near to hedges, trees and other large dense shrubs. This will allow small birds time to quickly get away to safety if a predator like a magpie or sparrowhawk is hunting them. You could grow more prickly shrubs and trees to help; not only for birds to find safety in but also for nesting sites, as well as making predators move more slowly around the extra obstacles in your garden when hunting giving the small birds time to get away.

What Are The Types Of Feeders

Birds on Bird Feeder

Seed Feeders

Usually found in a transparent tubular container with holes through which the birds are able to get to the seeds. These are designed for sunflower seeds and seed mixes labelled feeder seeds.
Nyjer seeds are smaller and need a special type of feeder with very small holes.


Blue Tits on Peanut Feeder

Nut Feeders

These feeders are made of steel mesh with gaps of about 6mm, this is to allow the birds to gain access with less chance of them hurting their beaks or getting large pieces of the nut on which they may choke.
Please be advised the mesh bags sometimes provided with the nuts are not suitable feeders. The birds can get hurt or stuck in the mesh and is very dangerous for them.
Also small pieces of the bag can get stuck in the birds’ throats or taken back to the nest to injure or choke fledglings.

Sparrows on Fat Fall Feeders

Suet Treats

Can be purchased ready to hang in half coconut shells, or can buy as fat balls or blocks. Please place fat balls in a feeder as the mesh bags provided can trap birds and hurt them. These feeds are very popular especially in winter

Finches on a ground feeder

Open / Ground Feeder

Especially popular with Robins and Thrushes this can be anything from a plate or mesh baskets placed on the floor or on bird feeding stand (as shown in picture).  There is a wide selection from very basic to elaborate ones with cages to protect the birds from predators.


Tits & Nuthatches Feeding from a Bird table

Bird Tables

These can be free standing or hung from trees, they are suitable for most species of birds. They can be purchased or easily made.  All that’s needed is a simple tray with or without a roof. Make sure it has a raised rim to keep the food in with a gap at each end to allow rain water drain out and for cleaning purposes. Be careful not to get an elaborate design that will make cleaning difficult

Feeding Station

If you want to add all the above into one place a feeding station is a good idea. There are plenty of choices on the market to suit your style. They give you hooks to hang individual feeders on and a choice to have an open mesh feeder and some will even have a water bowl which is very important for birds.

Cleaning your feeders

To stop disease spreading we recommend you give your bird table/feeders a quick clean down every night taking away any old and stale food before restocking each morning.  Clean the table with hot water and a cloth.  Do not use any cleaning products as this could harm the birds.

Big Birds

Pigeons are very numerous and don’t need as much special care as smaller birds. If you want to make sure your high-nutrition food is being fed to only the small birds, use hanging feeders and small bird tables that only allow enough room for the small birds to get in.  Songbirds are messy eaters and there will be plenty for the pigeons and other wildlife to clean up from the ground below.



To find out information about the types of food there are please visit our feed the birds page

All birds need water click here to find the best ways to give them some water

Click here to download our Feed the birds guide to find out which birds like what food and how they like to eat them.


SongBird Survival is a charity commissioning research into the decline of Britain’s songbirds. With your support and membership we hope to reverse their decline. 
Click here to find out more……
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