Hopper bird feeders have advantages over most other bird feeders. They are the most versatile and the easiest to maintain. Basically, a hopper feeder is shaped like a house and has a platform with a seed reservoir and a roof. It can be either hung or mounted on a pole. Seeds are stored in a holding bin, some with a quite large capacity, and fall down into a tray as birds eat them. The storage bin usually has a roof so seed is protected from the weather. The storage bin, or reservoir, is usually made of either clear plastic or glass so it is easy to see when the bin needs to be refilled. Hopper feeders generally do not need to be filled as often as other feeders and the seed stays fresh and dry. Best of all, most birds love to eat at a hopper feeder. This feeder will draw chickadees, grosbeaks, cardinals, nuthatches, titmice, woodpeckers, finches and jays. If the platform is big enough, the hopper bird feeder may even be visited by ground feeding birds like doves and sparrows.
Many hopper feeders are designed to close to keep squirrels and large birds from feeding. These feeders use the weight of the squirrel or large bird to close off the feeding ports and are great to have if squirrels are a problem. Because hopper feeders are usually big, they are very bird friendly. A large variety of birds is happy to land on them and feed there comfortably. Even birds who are usually shy about approaching bird feeders often will visit a hopper bird feeder. There are also many styles of hopper feeders made of eco-friendly recycled plastic. These are not only good for the environment, but are built to last for many years which make them worth spending the extra money on.
Now is a good time to begin getting ready for winter bird feeding. Suet is the best food to give birds quick energy and build fat reserves for the long, cold winter nights. A great way to offer suet is with a combination hopper feeder and suet feeder. This type of hopper feeder has a reservoir to fill with black oil sunflower seeds and usually 2 suet cages designed to hold commercial suet cakes. Having this bird feeder full all winter long will quite likely attract new visitors as birds are out looking for new food sources. A hopper bird feeder is a wonderful addition to any yard.