Nothing will bring wild birds to your yard like a good bird feeder. Different kinds of bird seed will attract different species of birds, and the kind of feeder you choose will also appeal to particular birds. Make sure you are using the right kind of bird feeder for the wild birds in your area.
Platform bird feeders are probably the most common and come in a variety of styles. Bird seed is served up on a flat surface and birds can perch along the edges to feed. This kind of bird feeder can be a simple as an uncovered platform, or can be more elaborate with decorative coverings and hoppers. Hoppers are enclosed containers or holders for bird seed, where the seed can flow from the hopper onto the platform as the seed gets eaten. Platform feeders are usually raised on a pole or fence post, but can also be used at ground level to attract different species of birds. Doves, for example, prefer to feed on the ground and aren't likely to frequent a high feeder.
Hanging Tube Feeders
Tube feeders are filled with seed, which is eaten by birds sitting on small perches along the sides of the tube. This is a good choice of feeder for smaller birds. Large (and aggressive) birds like blue jays or crows can't sit on the small perches, which leaves the feeder free for sparrows or chickadees. Niger seed works well in tube feeders and less bird seed will be wasted from birds picking through the seed mixtures.
A recent invention is a tube feeder with a motorized
method of spinning squirrels off. If you keep fresh batteries in it, the
squirrels don't stand a chance of getting to the bird feed.
These are used solely for feeding with cakes of suet (a mix of seeds and fat). The suet is placed within the cage and small birds can perch directly on the wire and access the suet through the bars of the cage. Suet cages can be hung from your regular bird feeder, or attached to a nearby tree trunk.
These are very specific types of bird feeders, and they are really only appealing to hummingbirds. The feeders are usually made from red plastic (hummingbirds love red) and they are filled with a liquid sugar solution that mimics the nectar that hummingbirds eat.
No matter what kind of feeder you choose, you should always keep it clean and filled with fresh seed. Clean out old seed, discarded shells and other debris on a regular basis. If your feeder is raised on a post, you should also keep the area underneath as clean as possible. Many ground-feeding birds will eat from seed tossed from the high feeder.
A very nice e-book with lots of tips on how to attract birds
to your back yard or garden is
Backyard Birds and Butterflies. It tells what to plant in your garden, how
to attract birds and butterflies, and how to deal with squirrels.