There are many types of feeders: tube feeders, screened feeders, hoppers and suet feeders.
A “tube feeder” is a hollow cylinder made of plastic with multiple feeding ports and perches. The size of the ports will determine what type of seed to use. Tiny ports would be appropriate for thistle seed while large ports would be better for wild bird or sunflower seed. These feeders generally attract smaller birds such as chickadees, wrens, sparrows and finches.
A “screened feeder” is a cylinder made of wire mesh screen. It’s typically used to hold peanut and sunflower seed. These feeders will attract woodpeckers, blue jays, chickadees and cardinals.
A “suet feeder” is a wire cage that holds a suet cake. These feeders attract woodpeckers, bluebirds, starlings and many more, and can be hung on a hook or tree branch.
A “hopper feeder” is larger in size and comes in many different designs and shapes. Hoppers can hold a large amount of seed and attract both large and small birds such as blue jays, cardinals, woodpeckers and grosbeaks as well as the same smaller species as the tube feeders. These can be pole-mounted or hung from a hook or tree branch, and are easily filled through a lift-off roof or opening in the roof.
To clean this feeder, or any tube feeder, we suggest you use your garden hose and spray inside the tube to get most of the old seeds out. Then, use a bleach/water solution (1/4 cup bleach to two gallons water) and scrub with a long brush to get the feeder clean. Rinse thoroughly and dry completely before refilling the tube.
Your birdfeeder should always be at least 4 to 5 feet above the ground, either hanging or pole mounted. The best way to discourage squirrels is to use a baffle – hang it below the feeder when it is pole-mounted or above the feeder when it is hanging from a tree. Adding cayenne pepper to the birdseed also helps discourage squirrels, as they do not like the taste – and it does not affect the birds. In addition, planting marigolds near your feeders discourages squirrels as well as cats, as they dislike the scent of these pungent flowers.