Page top image for the wild birds page of Drew's Garden in Eastpointe, Michigan

Wild Birds

Do you enjoy watching and feeding the wild birds in your area? Bird feeders provide a great opportunity to view our feathered friends from the comfort of your home.

Drew’s Garden stocks an amazing variety of seeds and feeds to specifically attract beautiful Michigan songbirds.
Wild birds are our specialty at Drew's Garden Wild birds are our specialty at Drew's Garden Wild birds are our specialty at Drew's Garden Wild birds are our specialty at Drew's Garden
There are a wide variety of feeders to choose from. When food supplies are scarce, such as in the very early spring or during bouts of severe weather, birds will rely more on your feeders. The available habitat and quality of available food will help attract and keep songbirds at your backyard feeders. Pick a location that can be seen from your house, where the seed hulls and bird droppings won’t be a problem, and that you can easily access for filling and cleaning. Avoid placing the feeders in an area that has a lot of ground cover as this provides good places for predators to hide.

Placing bird feeders on a metal pole rather than on a tree limb will help to deter squirrel problems. Locating feeding stations in several areas in the yard can reduce crowding and fighting. Try placing different foods in each feeder to attract the largest variety of birds. If you are able to provide a water source in addition to feeders, this will also help attract birds to an area. Birds find water that is dripping or splashing especially attractive. There is no best time to start feeding birds. Once food is presented and the birds find it, they will visit year–round.

Tube Feeders

Tube feeder example at Drew's Garden Tube feeder example at Drew's Garden
Tube feeders are cylindrical tubes with several slots for feeding. When filled with black oil sunflower seeds, the tube feeders will attract goldfinches, chickadees, purple and house finches, woodpeckers, nut–hatches, titmice, redpolls, and pine siskins. Adding a tray to this feeder will attract larger species that can not perch on the small feeding holes, such as cardinals, jays, crossbills, mourning doves, and white–throated and white–crowned sparrows. A tube feeder containing Niger thistle seed with a tray will attract goldfinches, chickadees, redpolls, pine siskins, purple and house finches, white–throated sparrows, song sparrows, and dark–eyed juncos. In addition, if the tube feeder is an upside–down feeder (has feeding holes below the perches), only goldfinches will use it. When filled with peanuts, a tube feeder with a tray will attract cardinals, chickadees, grackles, house finches, titmice, house sparrows, starlings, mourning doves, white–throated sparrows, jays, and juncos.

Tray Or Platform Feeders

Tray feeder example at Drew's Garden Tray feeder example at Drew's Garden
Tray or tube feeders are open feeders that can either be on the ground or placed higher up on a stand, and have a lip around the edges to help hold seed on the tray. This type of feeder provides easy access for many species of birds. When filled with black oil sunflower seed it is a very general feeder and will attract most backyard bird species. When filled with millet the platform feeder will attract doves, house sparrows, blackbirds, juncos, cowbirds, towhees, chipping, field, and tree sparrows, and white–throated and white–crowned sparrows. When filled with corn the platform feeder may attract starlings, house sparrows, grackles, jays, juncos, doves, white–throated sparrows, bobwhite quail, pheasants, and grouse. When filled with peanuts the platform feeder will attract the same species as those attracted to a tube feeder of peanuts mentioned above. Adding grit to platform feeders will aid birds in digestion as they use it in their crop for grinding food.

Suet Feeders

Suet feeder example at Drew's Garden Suet feeder example at Drew's Garden
Suet feeders contain suet cakes that are made from animal fat generally derived from beef, pork, or deer. It can be set out as just suet, or mixed with seed, dried fruit, or other foods. Suet is most commonly used in the winter as it is a high energy food used in those times when food is the most scarce. There are several ways of displaying suet. It can be placed in a simple hanging bag such as an old onion or potato sack. Or, it can be placed in a feeder that is rectangular and has a grid–like pattern across it for feeding access. This feeder can either be laid out, or suspended. Suet feeders will attract chickadees, downy woodpeckers, hairy woodpeckers, red-bellied woodpeckers, white and red breasted nuthatches, and pileated woodpeckers. A hanging suet feeder will also attract wrens, kinglets, thrashers, creepers, cardinals, and starlings. A feeder containing peanut butter suet will attract woodpeckers, junkos, thrushes, kinglets, wrens, starlings, goldfinches, cardinals, jays, and bluebirds. Suet feeders with access only through the bottom will make it difficult for starlings to feed as they cannot hang upside down very well.

Nectar Feeders

Nectar feeder example at Drew's Garden Nectar feeder example at Drew's Garden
Nectar feeders are glass and plastic feeders that contain a sugar water solution that can be made at home (four parts boiling water to one part sugar), or purchased commercially. These feeders are most popularly used to attract hummingbirds. However, other birds that have been known to feed on nectar include orioles, tanagers, cardinals, finches, woodpeckers, and thrushes. These birds will not eat out of feeders made specifically for hummingbirds, as they need larger perches. However, there are also feeders made with these perches.


Many birds will feed on fruit, such as an orange half, if it is simply placed out on a ledge or speared on a tree limb. Birds that are attracted to fruit are orioles, tanagers, mockingbirds, thrashers, bluebirds, cardinals, woodpeckers, jays, starlings, thrushes, cedar waxwings, and yellow–breasted chats. These birds may also eat grape jelly if it is placed out on small trays. Feeding with fruit is usually done in the summer.

To help avoid the spread of avian diseases, feeders should be properly maintained to prevent bacteria buildup. Help your birds remain healthy by keeping the feeders clean of waste and food droppings, and cleaning them once a month with a mixture of warm, soapy water and a capful or two of household bleach. Clean more often during humid summer months and cool, wet weather to avoid food spoilage.

*Information courtesy of: Sargent, M.S and Carter, K.S., ed. 1999. Managing Michigan Wildlife: A Landowners Guide. Michigan United Conservation Clubs, East Lansing, MI. 297pp.