Tube bird feeders adapt to
small habitats and expansive gardens.

When the words tube bird feeder are used, many backyard bird watchers think of a finch feeder.  These terms have been used interchangeably.  But with designs becoming more and more complex to efficiently serve differing feeding needs, the traditional tube feeder has morphed from a few basic to many specialized styles.

The Basic Tube Bird Feeder

Let's start out by examining the basic tube feeder.  As you might imagine, it's a cylindrical shape.  These feeders are generally made to hang from one end and have multiple feed dispensing holes, each with its own perch, so wild birds can belly up and have their own, individual feeding ports.  The size of the ports depends on the type of feed to be offered.  For example, larger ports offer sunflower seeds while smaller ports offer Nyjer.

Tube Feeder Size

Inviting more of the smaller birds is accomplished by adding length to the feeder and increasing the number of ports and perches.  The smallest tube feeder has only two ports, one on either side, making it practical to hang from a shepherd hook pole in a container garden pot or near a patio.  Also consider a mounted hook attached to deck or balcony rails.  The longest of these feeders may have as many as 20 ports and are suitable for hanging in mature trees and on large poles.

Feeding Port Placement

The feeding ports along the length of a tube bird feeder are staggered so birds can perch in various positions up and down the feeder without competing for space.  Because the length of the perches and the space between ports on tube feeders is most usually at a premium, this type of bird feeder is most attractive to smaller birds. 

Some tubes place all the feeding ports at their base rather than up and down along the entire length of the cylinder.  They are often larger tubes able to hold more seed and accommodate medium size birds.  And, they may offer more complex features such as weight-triggered mechanisms that squirrel proof the feeder and close the ports to less desirable large bird species.

Tube Feeders For Clinging Birds

The position of ports either above or below the pegs can limit the bird species using the feeder.  Most tube feeders, logically, place the feeding station port over the perch so birds can stand upright on the pegs and eat.  But some bird species can comfortably hang upside down from those pegs for long periods while they dine.  Tube feeders with ports beneath the perches allow exclusive use by small clinging birds.  Gold Finches, Pine Siskins, and Redpolls are among the few who enjoy their exclusivity at these specialized tube feeders with holes placed beneath perches.

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