Updated at: 06-06-2023 - By: Jane Brody

Most backyard birds can use a feeder, but as you may discover, a perch is necessary since it serves a practical purpose rather from being merely ornamental.

Only seed feeders require a perch, which is not the case for other types of bird feeders. Seed feeders are much more limiting than mesh feeders or cage suet feeders, which birds use for grip. Because most birds won’t bother to feed unless they have somewhere to perch, obviously.

Bird Feeder Perch

Bird homes, but not feeders, may include a perch, and experts will tell you that perches serve no use other than to aid predators.

Having a perch or multiple perches on a bird feeder changes this, as perches are always used by the birds.

A seed feeder is inaccessible without the accompanying perch, which is permanently affixed to the wall near the feeding port. The birds won’t be able to secure their grip on the plastic tube feeder without the aforementioned perch.

The mesh surrounding a mesh bird feeder serves as a perch, therefore more birds may feed with fewer obstacles than at a traditional feeder.

The same holds true for caged suet feeders, which allow birds to feed from all six sides if necessary but don’t have a perch.

In the absence of a bottom tray, birds can perch on the base of the feeder itself, therefore a perch is not necessary for most designs.

Every feeder, whether it’s designed with a perch or not, provides a landing spot for birds.

Birds will figure out how to utilize a feeder, but a perch will attract a wider variety of birds and make it easier for them to feed.

Hummingbird feeders are one type of perchless feeder because hummingbirds hover while they eat.

Seed feeders DO need a perch

You’re not very likely to come across a seed bird feeder without perches, whether you already own one or intend to get one in the near future.

The majority of these feeders are comprised of a transparent plastic tube with feeding openings.

Under each opening, a perch will provide a landing spot for birds to enjoy unrestricted seed consumption.

Now picture these seed feeders, but without the perches normally found next to each port hole, making it impossible for birds to perch as they eat.

Since birds are unable to perch on the translucent, slippery plastic tubing used in tube feeders, the seeds within are inaccessible to them.

Mealworms can be stored in tube feeders that also feature perches.

Only seed feeders, as opposed to bird houses, actually need a perch for the birds to perch on while they eat. Perches on bird houses are only cosmetic.

No perch for MESH-type feeder

Bird Feeder Perch-2

It’s a bit of an odd design choice if your mesh-style bird feeder also has a perch, given that mesh can naturally serve as a perch.

The most likely candidates to use a mesh feeder full of nuts are the ubiquitous backyard birds that eat peanuts, with birds usually seen to perch on the metal mesh rather than a perch, if one is provided.

True wooden peanut or seed feeders include a perch attached to the base, but this feature serves more as a decorative feed surround than a functional perch.

A larger peanut feeder will make it simpler for birds of all sizes to eat.

However, it gets more challenging for birds to use the feeder as the mesh size decreases. Even if birds continue to feed off the mesh surround, only the more nimble ones in the yard will be able to reach the food.

A twig or branch from the yard can be threaded through the mesh to create a perch on both sides if you’re concerned about the birds in your area going hungry.

A mesh-style feeder isn’t going to have any perches, and if it does, you can rest assured that it’s only helping to attract more birds, or at least larger, less nimble ones.

Perch always applicable

It doesn’t matter if the feeder comes with a perch or not; providing your birds with a place to perch will help them out in the long run.

Without a perch, only the tiniest birds, like chickadees and woodpeckers, will use the feeder.

However, if your feeder has at least two perches, it will be accessible to a wider variety of birds.

Because there will always be times when perching is more difficult, feeders that include a perch will always be useful to wild birds.

Birds may choose to cling to the side of a swaying feeder rather than try to land on a perch since landing is more difficult when the feeder is in motion.

In contrast to the necessity of a perch on a seed feeder, the lack of such an item on a tube feeder containing mealworms is merely inconvenient.

Metal cage feeders are designed to contain suet and are similar to mesh feeders; these feeders don’t require a perch but it can help more birds if you were to create a perch yourself.

Benefits of perch vs no perch

Bird Feeder Perch-3

Seed feeders are useless without a perch, thus it’s clear that there are advantages to having one.

Although feeders in which a metal mesh serves as the perch are available, there are advantages to using peanut feeders that feature many perches. One of them is providing a secure perch for larger, clumsier birds to eat from.

You may count on the perch to function as a screw if it is attached to a seed or peanut feeder of the long kind.

Simply unscrewing the perch from both ends makes it easy to take the feeder apart for cleaning or maintenance.

Places where perches should be can be spotted instead with chrome screws.

There are advantages to having a mesh feeder with only feeding openings for perch locations, such as attracting more birds.

This is especially true for bird seed feeders that require a perch directly beneath the feeding ports.

Two birds can feed at once from a smaller seed feeder, while a larger one can accommodate a larger flock thanks to its additional portholes and perch.

There is no need for a perch on suet feeders designed to contain suet cakes or fat balls because birds can eat from any direction.

To summarize

Only the clear, long tube seed type feeder requires a perch, as birds cannot perch on the smooth, slippery surface.

While perches are useful for some feeders, birds prefer to perch directly on the mesh of peanut and other feed-specific mesh feeders rather than need a platform.

Still, a twig or branch can serve as a makeshift perch by being strung or roped onto a mesh or suet feeder. To attract less nimble, larger backyard birds, you could try putting out a more spacious feeder.

If you only want select, but likely friendlier, common birds to use your feeder, you can get away without a perch.

Remember that perches can aid pests like squirrels, so eliminating one may make feeding more difficult, but not impossible.

Having a perch on a mesh feeder isn’t as popular as having one on a traditional feeder, but it’s still a useful accessory that brings in more birds.

Without a doubt, a feeder with a perch is preferable to one without.

Certain feeders cannot function without perches, but without them, you may attract a greater variety of birds.

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