When you are looking to accommodate birds in your yard, and you want a bird feeder, it can be a little overwhelming when you look at what is out there. You can buy a full fledged, no pun intended, bird feeder with camera. Additionally, you could put up a modern sculptural bird feeder, and so on. You might be thinking, I just want a normal bird feeder, nothing fancy. If that’s the case, you may be a good candidate for a standard bird feeder tray.
How Does A Bird Feeder Tray Work?
Tray style bird feeders have been around for a very long time. It’s the kind of bird feeder I grew up with in Vermont. We had a simple piece of wood about 1’ x 2’ with 1×4 sides. The feeder was simple and the birds really seem to like it.
One thing you’ll notice when you have a tray style feeder is the social aspect of the bird feeder tray. The birds no longer go one at a time, but will instead hang out in a group. If you have grosbeaks or bluejays, they’ll tend to take over the bird feeder tray and push everyone out. Eventually however, they’ll fly back up into the trees and you’ll get a glimpse of how the rest of the birds get along.
Bird Feeder Tray Benefits
The bird feeder tray is a great way to watch how birds socialize and you can get an idea of what their preferences are. You can mix bird seed types when you have a tray. After all, why not put two or three kinds of seed down and watch who eats what?
You’ll be surprised at which birds prefer red milo, which like white millet, and who wants safflower, and good old black sunflower. You can even see a preference between black sunflower and striped sunflower if you want to do the experiment. Basically, a tray style bird feeder allows you to put out a buffet for the birds if you so choose.
A bird feeder tray will give your birds the space to feed together, while giving them some variation if you so choose. But why else are these feeders ideal? Well, there’s the cost of a bird feeder tray. They can be a simple wood shop project for you to do in the home if you so desire. When you see how inexpensive a well made bird feeder tray is though, you may want to just go out and buy one and move on to feeding the birds!
Best Bird Feeder Tray Reviews
Wild Wings WWCF23 Review
First up, we reviewed the Wild Wings WWCF23. We like this feeder because it’s inexpensive, yet well made. It has been a favorite since it arrived on the market. Simple design and it comes in two sizes. We’d recommend the 12” x 12” if you can get your hands on one, though they tend to sell out quick. These are made of cedar which is a good wood that’ll last last out in the elements.
- Removable fresh seed tray allows rain drainage, helps to eliminate seed waste, and keeps seed fresher longer
- Made with premium cedar
- Made to resist fading and water damage
Like most wood bird feeders however, the birds feet eventually chip away and sand down the edges of the feeder. But this will take a few years at least, and frankly, I like to imagine the softer feel of wood under foot gives the birds a sure footing, much like they’re used to up in the trees.
MIXXIDEA Bird Feeder Hanging Tray
Next, we tested the MIXXIDEA Bird Feeder Hanging Tray. This is a painted wood tray, which will help it last a bit longer out in the elements than non-painted trays. However, this tray will not look its best over time, as the birds feet will chip away the paint, and leave you with an uneven look to the feeder. However, it’s a bird feeder, let’s not get too caught up in aesthetics! You do get a color option however, between red and green, so whichever tickles your fancy will give you and the birds something to look at.
- [Hanging Bird Feeder for the Attraction of Birds]: The bird platform tray has large feeding area that accommodates small and large birds as well….
- [Great Gift Design]: Do you want to gift something to someone special who is also a nature lover on their birthday or on any other special occasion….
- [Very Easy to Refill & Clean humming bird feeder]: We have created the design keeping out lovely community in mind. The bird feeders for outdoors…
This feeder is a 13” x 13” making it excellent for larger gatherings of birds and for witnessing the social aspects of different species and how they interact. Like most tray feeders this feeder also has a metal mesh base which allows water to trickle through when it rains, and air movement to keep the seeds from rotting on those warmer spring days.
Gray Bunny Ground Bird Feeder Tray Review
The Gray Bunny Ground Bird Feeder Tray is the only bird feeder tray on our list which is not intended to be hung or pole mounted. This ‘bird feeder’ may end up being a squirrel feeder, rat feeder, mouse feeder, and/or chipmunk feeder. That’s just to name a few of the species who may show up when you have this out! This feeder is small at 7” x 7”.
- A GIFT FOR BIRD LOVERS: Attract wild birds to your patio, deck, rooftop or backyard by placing this premium quality platform bird feeder station and…
- DURABLE AND PRACTICAL: This bird feeder tray is crafted from heavy duty steel mesh and coated with rust-resistant black powder for maximum all-weather…
- NO MESS, NO SPILLAGE: The raised edges prevent the seeds from spilling on your deck, patio, garden, aviary, or lawn. The mesh is small enough to keep…
However, if you have a good vantage point to watch the birds, this is an excellent feeder. It’s a metal feeder which means it won’t be prone to the wear and tear of the bird’s feet on wood like the other feeders on this list. However, the ground feeder also puts birds at risk. Make sure you don’t have a cat, and your neighbor’s cat isn’t around when you put this feeder out. House cats are the greatest risk to the bird population.
Woodlink 3-in-1 Platform Bird Feeder Tray Review
The last feeder on our list, and our ultimate favorite is the Woodlink 3 in 1 Platform Bird Feeder Tray. This bird feeder tray is the largest feeder on our list at 16.38” x 13.25”. Though it looks much like the other wood trays, this feeder has a few additional features we like.
- The feeder is constructed of reforested, kiln dried, inland red cedar
- Powder coated metal screen bottom allows for drainage and is also removable
- Holds up to 3-pound of mixed seed
First, it’s versatile. It can be installed hanging from a tree limb much like the other bird feeder trays on the list, but that’s not all. It can also be mounted on a fixed pole. The bird feeder tray can also be a ground feeder if that’s what you’d like it to be.
Popular Bird Feeder Accessories
Additionally, one of our favorite features are the accessories which are available. You can buy a ground mount pole with auger and pre-made squirrel baffle to perfectly fit this feeder. You’d be surprised how frustrating pole mounting a bird feeder can be, but the Woodlink 3 in 1 makes it a cinch. This is a more expensive option for sure. However, if you weigh it against how many times you’ll watch the birds feed and over how many years you expect the feeder to last, it may be a good investment for you.
Bird Feeder Tray Summary
The one thing to remember if you’re having trouble deciding on a bird feeder. Having a bird feeder is better than no bird feeder. If you can’t decide, just buy the least expensive one, put it up and enjoy the bird show. If you don’t have a tree to mount the feeder, you have two choices. First, consider one of the ground mount options we outlined. Second, buy a feeder like the Woodlink 3 in 1 which has purpose built accessories which can make installation easy.