There are all sorts of feeder types adapted to food type and feeding habits of small birds:

Seed Feeders

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

Peanut Feeders

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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 choking on large pieces of nut. Please be advised that the mesh bags sometimes provided with nuts are not suitable feeders as birds can get hurt or stuck in the mesh. Small pieces of the bag can get stuck in birds’ throats, or if taken back to the nest, may injure or choke fledglings. 

Suet Treats

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Can be purchased ready to hang in half coconut shells, or you can buy as fat balls or blocks. You can also make these yourself. 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, as they are a high energy food. 

Open / Ground Feeder

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Especially popular with robins and thrushes, this can be anything from a plate or mesh basket placed on the floor or on a bird feeding stand. They come in many different forms, from very basic to elaborate ones with cages to protect the birds from predators

Bird Table

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These can be free standing or hung from trees. They are suitable for most species of birds. Bird tables 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 too elaborate a design, as it will make cleaning difficult! We do recommend tables with a low roof – not only to keep the food dry, but the lower the gap between the roof and the tray will make it harder for larger birds and predators to gain access. 

Feeding Station

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

Why not make your own feeder? Here is a handy guide for how to make one from recycled plastic bottles.