Just as there are hummingbird feeders to attract delicate hummingbirds, there are specific feeders for other species of birds as well. Right now, you probably see plenty of small birds like sparrows and finches at your feeders. If you’re looking to attract larger birds, a platform feeder is your best bet.
Platform feeders are a great way to get started feeding birds. They offer new birdwatchers an opportunity to find out what birds frequent the area they live in. Having the freedom to experiment with different types of foods will quickly let new birders see what attracts the most and diverse birds to their backyard. Plus, adding a platform feeder at ground level will help attract ground feeding birds who don’t visit feeders hanging from trees.
See also: Offering Ground Feeders in Winter
What Are Platform Feeders?
Platform feeders are typically constructed of wood or a durable weather-resistant plastic. These feeders are one of the simplest and most functional of feeder choices. A platform feeder's open flat tray has a wall on each side to prevent seeds from spilling out. Small holes in the tray allow for water drainage. You might see these feeders referred to as ‘fly through’ feeders since their openness allows birds of many species, especially large birds, to enter comfortably to feed. Platform feeders are also available with roofs, ideal for feeding during inclement weather.
Which Birds Do Platform Feeders Attract?
If you’re interested in expanding the diversity of birds visiting your backyard and hoping to attract larger birds, adding a platform feeder will attract birds you may not be seeing already. According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, 98 species of birds seek out backyard feeders. Out of those, they have discovered that 88 species feed at platform feeders. Some of the larger species a platform feeder attracts are:
- blue jays
Why Do Larger Birds Prefer Platform Feeders?
Larger birds prefer platform feeders for several reasons. Because platform feeders can be mounted on a platform, hung from a tree branch, or positioned at ground level, they offer a larger bird more room to eat. Larger birds often have issues with squeezing onto small perches meant for sparrows and finches. Platform feeders offer larger birds a more comfortable way to access seed feeders. These feeders are also more stable under sudden jerky movements from a heavier, larger bird.
See also: Where to Hang Seed Feeders for Birds
What Types of Foods Can You Offer at Platform Feeders?
Platform feeders enable you to offer birds a variety of foods. Any type of seed is suitable for platform feeders. However, you can also offer birds suet in your platform feeder. As with all suet feeders, once the suet has been consumed, it’s a good idea to clean the feeder.
Platform feeders are also perfect for offering fruits such as orange or apple halves, or animal protein like mealworms. You might also want to experiment by offering your birds small cups of peanut butter to attract nuthatches and woodpeckers. Small cups of grape jelly may even attract orioles!
See also: How to Attract Orioles
Maintaining Platform Feeders
It’s important to keep the weather in mind when using platform feeders. You should not let your seed get wet, so hold off on filling your platform feeder on rainy days. However, if your feeders do get soaked in a sudden downpour, it’s important to throw out the wet seeds as they will spoil (the wet promotes bacteria or mold growth). By doing so you are helping keep your backyard birds healthy.
While platform feeders have more pros than cons, be advised that their open construction makes access to seeds easy for wildlife such as deer, raccoons, and squirrels. Experimenting with food sources will help you to discover what foods might be attracting these intruders.
Once one bird finds your platform feeder, it’s inevitable that others of the same species will follow. Over time, you will begin to see other species of birds frequenting it. Simple to install and maintain, the benefits of a platform feeder will grow as a variety of birds begin to make it a regular pit stop.