Platform bird feeders: Attract more birds to your yard

a cassin's finch and pine siskins sit in a birds choice recycled plastic bird feeder

Many types of bird feeders are specialized to attract a small variety of birds. Nyjer feeders lure finches, suet feeders attract woodpeckers and nuthatches, and nectar feeders attract hummingbirds and orioles. While these targeted feeders are an essential piece to any backyard buffet, the entree element for all bird lovers should be the platform bird feeder, a do-it-all-feeder. Learn more about these long-lasting and multifaceted feeders in this article.

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a steller's jay gives a funny look at the camera while sitting in a red platform feeder

What is a platform bird feeder?

Bird feeders that come in a platform design are among the easiest to use and purchase. (And while the ground may be the most straightforward feeder option, it is not something you can buy at a store.) A platform feeder typically includes four short walls and a base, with the walls keeping the birdseed from spilling and providing a place for birds to perch and feed. The bottom of the feeder is where the seeds are held, waiting to be devoured. A well-made platform feeder usually has a metal mesh base that allows water to drain, which prevents the seeds from retaining moisture and becoming soggy.

Pros and cons of a platform or seed catcher

Learn the pros and cons of using a platform feeder, seed catcher, or hanging tray feeder!

Pros of a platform feeder

The pros of a platform feeder will GREATLY outweigh any cons that can be contrived around these feeder favorites. The size, form, and layout of these outstanding bird feeders provide the space and flexibility for birds of all shapes and sizes to utilize the feeding space. Additionally, the structure of these seed holders allows for all kinds of bird food to be used! See below for a more complete list of potential foods for these feeders! Because of their assembly, simplicity, and structure, platform feeders are long-lasting feeders that can withstand rain, hail, snow, wind, and sunshine when built with quality materials. A final pro of the platform is its ease of cleaning. With minimal to no moving parts, basic shape, and lack of crevices, the platform feeder can be cleaned quickly, efficiently, and easily.

Cons of a platform feeder

The most significant con of the platform feeder is also one of its boons. With the flexibility to offer food to birds, both big and small, the platform feeder can also lure in birds and other organisms that are not always a favorite for bird lovers. Grackles, squirrels, and raccoons are all animals that can take advantage of a platform. Squirrels and raccoons are easily handled by mounting the feeder on a pole with a squirrel baffle. However, grackles and other larger birds can still access the birdseed. While all native birds like grackles and crows can benefit from bird feeders, there is an understandable desire to keep these "bully birds" off backyard feeders. One last potential problem is the refilling. Because platform feeders appeal to more birds, hold more birds (that eat more seed), feeders require more constant refilling (every 3-5 days).

two bully birds, a eurasian collared dove and a common grackle sit on a platform feeder
Bully birds MIGHT visit a platform feeder from time to time, like this Eurasian Collared-Dove (front) and Common Grackle (back).

How to use a platform feeder?

Using a platform bird feeder will not require an engineering degree. These feeders can be mounted on a feeder pole with shepherd's hooks or fitted directly onto the rod with proper attachments. Of course, hanging the feeder comes after placing these feeders in a suitable location. The most important site is in a spot that can be easily viewed! After ensuring an immaculate view, pick a shaded area, if possible. However, only mount the feeder to (or near) trees if squirrels and raccoons are invited guests. No shade? Birds Choice feeder poles come with fitted roofs to offer some level of adjustable protection. Finally, sit back and enjoy watching the birds flock to the feeder! Remember to refill the feeder when it runs low to keep the birds constantly returning. Want some different birds at the feeder? Try a new food!

Which birds use a platform feeder?

This question provides an answer that should bring a smile to all readers' faces. Platform feeders can (and will) attract almost ANY type of bird. The smallest finches, like Pine Siskins and American Goldfinches, will swarm a platform en masse, and the large, intelligent corvids, like crows and magpies, will often visit platform feeders while bringing rewards as a thank you! Northern Cardinals, Evening Grosbeaks, Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, Blue Jays, Baltimore Orioles, Eastern Bluebirds, and almost every other stunning species will visit these buffets. This is only a partial complement of birds that will swarm a platform, but the picture is clear: platforms are a great feeder option for MOST species of birds.

In fact, even the occasional American Robin will make a pitstop in a platform feeder.

an american robin sits on a platform bird feeder after feasting
An American Robin enjoyed a Birds Choice platform feeder!

Which bird food is used in a platform feeder?

As with the above list of diverse bird visitors, many food offerings can be used in a platform! A regular dose of black oil sunflower seed is never a bad idea, or introduce something with some oomph like the Protein Punch or mealworms. These options are great for less common feeder birds! Want an oriole, as mentioned above, to stop by? Put some orange halves or slices on the platform. It will need to be cleaned after the sugary mess has been consumed by the neon-colored orioles, but the enjoyment will be well worth an extra cleaning or two.

Need something to deter squirrels or raccoons? Try adding a little heat with a spicy seed blend. (Adding a little heat is a humane method to prevent mammal invaders.) The list does not end there, as breaking up a suet block or dropping in some suet nuggets will make all the birds go wild! Birds Choice even has a spicy suet nugget option to help limit the bird food bill damage done by furry friends.

an american goldfinch sits in a platform feeder surrounded by cayenne pepper
Check out the pepper around this American Goldfinch!

How to clean a platform feeder?

Birds Choice has a more in-depth article discussing best practices to ensure a safe and healthy feeding environment for birds at feeders. For those wanting a quick answer to this question, here are the most essential steps to clean a platform feeder (in a manner safest for birds).

  • Dispose of any leftover birdseed.
  • Clean your cleaning area!
  • Remove all visible debris using a scrub brush or pressure washer.
  • Wipe down the feeder with a hot, soapy sponge.
  • Soak each feeder in a 10% bleach solution for a minimum of 10 minutes.
  • Rinse the feeder thoroughly.
  • Let the feeder air dry completely.
  • Fill and hang your bird feeder!

These are the most basic steps needed to clean a platform feeder, so please read the full article on keeping bird feeders at maximum cleanliness levels!

Why pick a Birds Choice platform bird feeder?

Platform feeders come in a variety of materials. But Birds Choice takes platform feeders to new heights. We offer platform feeders that are made with recycled poly lumber, which is constructed from 95% recycled plastic! Our feeders serve birds and other wildlife twice by helping remove plastic from landfills and landscapes while also offering a healthy helping of bird food to our backyard visitors. The bases of our platforms are built from stainless steel or aluminum, and the arms and support are either stainless steel or thick nylon rope. When a platform feeder is purchased from Birds Choice, it becomes a bastion of hope that tomorrow will bring more birds.

a steller's jay enjoys the lavender collection platform feeder

See the variety of colors and options in our platform feeders! Keep up with all of Birds Choice's feeder options by registering for our newsletter and product updates!