A quick web search will yield millions of platform bird feeders and food to fill them with to choose from. Choosing the best one depends almost entirely on which birds you want to bring into your yard. Let’s take a look at what platform feeders are and which one you will want to choose.
What is a platform bird feeder?
Platform feeders, also known as tray feeders, are simple flat bases with short sides to keep the food from slipping off. This type of feeder is perfect for most birds who prefer seed. Platform feeders will attract pigeons, starlings, sparrows, Blue Jays and many others, depending on the bird seed that is used.
Pros of using tray bird feeders
The great thing about tray feeders is their versatility and ease of installation. All you need is an open piece of ground (although trays can be pole mounted and hung as well). Place your feeder on the ground to attract juncos, jays, blackbirds and most sparrows. Hang your feeder to attract smaller and less hardy birds.
Cons of platform bird feeders
The most obvious drawback of platform feeders is their lack of protection from the elements. Rain and snow can ruin food, especially if the feeder does not have exceptional drainage capabilities. Wet birdseed can mold, sprout or attract pests. To prevent this from becoming a problem, look for platform feeders with mesh bottoms and drainage holes near the edges.
Platform bird feeders require regular cleaning, usually at least weekly, to make sure no mold or sprouting happens. When using this type of feeder, only add enough seed to feed your birds for a few days, that way seed will never sit too long.
Choosing seed for a tray feeder
Sunflower seed attracts the largest variety of birds so it is usually the most popular type of seed used on tray feeders. If you’re only placing out one feeder and looking to attract many types of birds, sunflower is definitely the seed you want.
Avoid birdseed with lots of filler–usually the cheaper kinds–such as oats and millet. Most birds will not eat it. Wasted seed causes a mess on the ground and bacteria in the feeder which might cause harm to your backyard friends.
Sunflower seeds are almost as popular with squirrels as with birds, so if you don’t want them stealing your birdseed, be sure to either provide a separate squirrel feeder or install a squirrel baffle on the pole or hanger of your feeder. Opinions vary on whether squirrels are pests or friends, either way, you’ll want to have a game plan for keeping bird feeders squirrel free. In most areas, it is unlikely they’ll leave your feeder entirely alone if you don’t have a way to deter them.
Platform bird feeders are the perfect way to begin your backyard birding experience!