When buying a bird feeder, always consider the types of birds you are trying to attract, as well as whether or not you want to feed the neighborhood squirrels as well.
A suet bird feeder is one of the easiest bird feeders to use, with a simple wire basket that holds pre-packaged suet cakes. Woodpeckers and other birds that eat bugs from the holes in trees will visit a suet bird feeder. When the suet has all been eaten, simply open the basket and put another suet cake inside.
A hopper bird feeder, also known as a wood feeder, has a container which holds bird seed and an opening on the sides at the bottom, where the seeds spill out as birds consume them. A hopper bird feeder is easy to fill; seeds are simply poured into an opening in the top. Nearly any bird will visit a hopper bird feeder, including chickadees, blue jays, and starlings.
A bowl bird feeder is simply a hanging bowl with a plastic dome-shaped cover to keep the weather out. Like the hopper bird feeder, this type of feeder is popular with many types of birds.
A platform bird feeder is, as the name implies, a flat table raised off the ground. Some platform feeders have a roof-type cover to protect them from the weather, but many do not. Ground feeding birds such as doves, cardinals and robins will show interest in a platform bird feeder. A ground bird feeder is just like the platform feeder, but it sits directly on the ground.
A tube bird feeder is a vertical tube with various openings on the sides and tiny perches for smaller birds such as chickadees and finches. Seeds are poured in through an opening in the top, and then move down the tube as seeds are consumed.
Always keep your bird feeder clean. Wet seeds and hulls become moldy and need to be shaken out at least once a week. Usually, just cleaning your bird feeder with water is good enough, but if it is especially dirty, use a mixture of one part bleach to twenty parts water.
If you want to keep squirrels out of your bird feeder, consider mounting it on a tall pole in the center of your yard, away from any trees. The pole must be at least five feet high and at least ten feet away from any tree or other surface from which a squirrel may jump. Squirrel baffles can also be purchased for further protection.