Table, Tray, or Fly Thru Feeders Are My Favourites!
1. General Review
See my top recommendations with gold star ratings further down.
Platform feeders are often referred to as tray feeders, table feeders or fly thru feeders.
Well Made Platform Feeders Create
Many birds love this type of feeder because they are easy to land on and fly away from. If there is mixed seed on the feeder then it is easy for the birds to pick what they want to eat.
Watch how these Common Redpolls are enjoying their meal on a platform feeder.
They can be made to hang, sit on a post or another stationary object such as a deck rail or stand on the ground.
They come in many different sizes and are usually made from wood (cedar or pine) or recycled plastic.
They are appropriately named “fly thru” because they are open allowing the birds to fly in, grab what they like and go.
Fast food bird feeding, a “grab & go” diner!
2. List of Styles
Fly Thru feeders can be purchased or made in many styles:
- Hanging tray feeders.
- Mounted on a pole or deck rail.
- Table Feeders with legs for standing on the ground, which will be a favourite for Thrushes who normally are very shy and will not venture out to a regular feeder mounted higher up.
- Open tray feeders with no top.
- Clear plastic roof which provides protection from weather and allows for unobstructed viewing for you.
- A solid top for protection from weather and for providing a hiding spot from over head predators like Hawks.
My Best Picks Rated With Gold Stars For
Platform, Table, Tray & Fly Thru Feeders
3. What is the Best Seed Choice For A Platform Feeder?
A good quality mixed seed with peanuts’n the shell or shelled and lots of black oil sunflower seed. Kitchen scraps such as breads, donuts, crackers or dried fruit work well with platform feeders too.
I would avoid using fresh fruit or any food that might spoil with any type of feeder used for seed. The seed may become contaminated. Spoiled food, such as fruit, may also leach into feeders made of porous materials like wood.
This could create a health hazard for the birds.
Best Bird Seed Brands
But sophistication is not necessary.
I will explain with a personal backyard story.
An adequate table feeder can be an old rickety picnic table. We had one in our backyard that I used for spreading with bread. I tore the bread in large chunks. At first we had quite a variety of birds lunching there. Then a crow found our open diner.
The crow would land on the table. Then attempt to pick up every last piece on the table, often two dozen pieces. It would stuff as many in it’s beak as it possibly could hold. It would then continue to try to pick up just one more!
In frustration it would drop all of them and begin the process all over again. After several attempts it would finally be satisfied with it’s load (sometimes less than previous attempts) and fly off to a lone tree in the field behind our house.
Later in the season our visiting crow brought young to our table feeder. What a racket they made! I pulled the table off to one side far away from the other feeders. I finally had to stop putting bread out though. Having these large birds so close was far too intimating for the other birds. But what a fun time we had watching them!
4. Positives, Which Make This A Great Feeder
- I love these styles of bird feeders, because they provide the best viewing of the birds.
- The birds themselves seem to love them, probably because they can easily see approaching predators.
- Some birds like Blue Jays and Nuthatches like to land and grab. Platform feeders lend themselves perfectly to this style of eating. The seed they love the most is open and easy to get at so they can pick it out quickly.
- There in lies another reason I love this feeder. All the seed is accessible. This reduces the amount of shoveling food out of the feeder onto the ground that happens alot with other styles of feeders.
- Ground feeding birds will enjoy them too if not placed too high. Ground feeding birds also like the openness allowing them to graze like cattle in their habit of preference.
- This type of feeder is also like taking out an ad in your local paper. It is a great way to let the passing birds see that you are in business.
- Cardinals enjoy table feeders as they prefer to eat facing forward. They do not like to turn their head, as is necessary with some feeders.
- Tray feeders with a roof work well if you live in a snowy area, the seed is not consistently being covered up by snow and wasted. There always seems to be a side open where the birds can start to feed which is all they need.
- I always purchase one that has a screened floor. The seed can dry out faster if it gets wet. This is much healthier for the birds and saves a lot on seed.
- A large one about two feet long and a foot and a half wide will hold a good deal of seed. In the winter it will not need to be filled up as often!
Of course this can happen!
Mourning doves love to use this style of feeder too.
They are grazers, wandering about picking up their favourite morsels.
But sometimes when they are full they will slump down and rest their plump little bodies on the floor of the feeder and have a nap.
They can remain here feeling quite content for a long time.
Our platform feeder was often populated this way.
5. What are the Problems with Platform Feeders?
- The biggest disadvantage to platform feeders is the possibility of the seed getting wet, particularly if it does not have a roof.
- A large version of a platform feeder made of wood can be heavy. Even heavier when filled with seed.
- Very easy feeder for unwanted birds to use such as starlings and blackbirds.
6. User Opinions ~ Well Liked
Our customers loved table feeders too! We couldn’t keep them in stock. We had a very talented man in our community who made them by hand. (See our section on Bird Feeder Plans)
Youmight think it was just because of my enthusiasm that people would buy our platform feeders. That may have been partially true for the initial purchase. But they would come back after using it for more.
After trying one of the many styles of open feeders many people would come back to our store to purchase other styles.
We had lots of customers buy them for gifts to give to relatives and friends.
We had so much positive feedback with platform feeders. Everyone liked them for all the positive reasons listed above.
7. List of Birds Attracted to Platform Feeders
Most seed eating birds will come to table feeders. (See the section titled Seed’n Suet for lists of seed and the birds attracted to them.)
- Finches – House, Purple, Goldfinch (If there isn’t a nyjer seed feeder near by!)
- Cedar Waxwings
- Pine Siskin
- Ground bird feeder if it is not more than five feet off the ground. All types of Sparrows, Junco, Mourning Dove.
- Most seed eating birds
Other Wild Bird Feeder types below & in sidebar further up.
- Thistle Feeders and thistle seed are just what the “bird” doctor ordered if you want to attract Goldfinches to your yard.
- Hummingbird Feeders – There is more effort in maintaining a nectar feeder than a seed feeder, but it is far less expensive to fill and very rewarding.
- Ground Bird Feeder – A ground birdfeeder can be simply a patch of ground scattered with seed. But using a well-designed ground feeder will save your seed from waste.