Updated at: 18-06-2023 - By: Jane Brody

Bird seed feeders can have their lids completely removed so that even a kid can fill it, or they can have the lid remain connected so that the seed can be poured in.

To fill a bird feeder, just lift the cover and set it to one side, revealing the clear tube container. In a similar vein, a screw-top lid can be opened and closed by unscrewing it entirely. It’s easy to lose a few seeds in the re-filling term, but you won’t squander much of them.

Bird Feeder Spill Tray (1)

You should use the simplest bird feeder you can manage in your yard so that you can easily restock the birds’ food supply.

You can get complete access to the contents by unscrewing the lid, but a pop-open lid will normally remain attached to the metal hook used to suspend it from a bracket or a tree branch.

You can expect some of the seeds you put into bird feeders to be wasted, no matter what kinds of seeds you use.

The disadvantage of seed feeders, I believe, is the waste that occurs when filling them, especially if the cover is removed or tipped to one side.

Seeds will fall out of the port wells, where birds’ bills generally go to get their favorite foods, and into the ground below, where they will attract birds. This is best done outdoors.

When rehanging the seed feeder in the yard, the seeds may fall out of the port wells again if you don’t take care to ensure that they aren’t tilted at too sharp of an angle.

Since bird seed feeders rely on the pressure created by the seed load, tilting the feeder in any direction other than straight up will cause the seeds to pour out.

All the seed feeders I’ve used have been made of clear plastic tubes, thus any wooden hopper feeders would need removing the entire top to fill.

The worst thing that can happen once you’ve filled a seed feeder with bird seed is that some of the seeds may fall through the port wells itself; however, this is quite unlikely.

Unfortunately, clumped seeds at the feeder’s openings can prevent wild birds from getting the food they need, and only loose seeds can be dispensed successfully.

If you use a loose seed mix that is appropriate for the feeder, you don’t need to check the seeds too quickly after you put them in.

Lift up or screw open lid only

The beauty of any model of wild bird seed feeder is that it allows you to quickly and easily add new seeds whenever they run out.

The lid of the typical bird seed feeder can be opened in two ways: by lifting it up and popping it open, or by pushing it to one side.

The second, less common alternative is a screw-off lid that opens clockwise and must be screwed closed in the opposite way.

In reality, either choice is extremely safe, as you wouldn’t often hang or place a bird seed feeder at an angle where the lid might open and the seeds fall to the ground.

Keep in mind that the pop-up lids that are intended to stay attached to the hanging bar are not meant to be removed completely.

These instructions are for the typical pole-mounted, low-cost bird seed feeder; squirrel-proof seed bird feeders may alter slightly.

Squirrels can get to the seeds in your feeder via the cage you put around it, but the feeder itself will still be in one piece.

If your seed feeder is enclosed in a cage, you can unscrew the cover and hoist it up this time, however the Squirrel Be Gone Max and Squirrel Buster Classic may use a simple lift up mechanism instead.

Cover ports when tipped right way up

Bird Feeder Spill Tray (2)

In order to prevent spilling, you should only fill seed bird feeders outside on a flat surface and do it with the cover off or set aside.

Unlike seed bird feeders, which can only be filled from the top, other types of feeders allow food to be inserted from the bottom.

Because it is likely that some seeds will fall to the ground as you pour the mixture into the clear tube seed bird feeder, you should do it outside.

While filling the feeder, some seeds will inevitably fall down the port wells, which isn’t an accident but is difficult to prevent. It’s a hole in the tube where the perches are affixed, and the seeds within require time to settle before they may fall out.

Unfortunately, most people forget about the complexities until it’s too late.

It’s likely that you’ll have to hang the seed bird feeder at an angle while re-mounting it on the pole or branch of the bird feeding station.

Even if you manage to get the feeder back up, you can have additional seeds fall to the ground if you hang it at the wrong angle.

To avoid seeds falling to the ground when the feeder is tilted to one side, it should be kept at a 90 degree or zero degree angle. Swinging bird feeders cause a lot of wasted bird food, so it’s crucial to keep them from moving about.

Spill seeds in available seed tray

Bird Feeder Spill Tray (3)

The seed feeder’s cover can be popped off completely or left attached to the feeder’s hanging ring, depending on your preference for filling the feeder with bird seed.

Once that is done, the lid can be unscrewed the standard method, as has become customary, and this time it will be taken off completely.

Access to the interior to pour in seeds is standard across many seed bird feeders, whether you’re looking at a super inexpensive seed feeder or a specialized, more costly Nyjer seed bird feeder you can buy.

The tray you’ve attached to your seed bird feeder might just be the most efficient way to collect the seeds.

Attached at the bottom of a seed feeder, the tray keeps seeds from falling to the ground as birds snack.

A benefit of this arrangement is that larger birds, such as Cardinals or Blue Jays, won’t have as much trouble getting to the seeds as they would on a seed feeder.

Using the seed tray to its maximum potential is essential when filling a bird feeder with bird seed. To begin, pour some seeds into the tube and tilt it so that some of the seeds fall onto the tray below.


The cover of a bird seed feeder can be popped open or unscrewed to allow the seed to be added.

Common seed feeders have a lid and a hanger, so there are two methods to access the feeder’s contents. The second choice involves using the lid’s screw to open and then closing it using the screw.

It is important to get the lid out of the way before pouring in the seeds since some lids come off completely while others, especially those that pop off, remain connected.

Wild birds will typically perch outside of the feeder to eat the accessible seeds, so you may expect some bird seeds to be lost in the process and more seeds to be spilled in the pouring operation.

You could try to conceal these port wells in any way you find most convenient, but given how few bird seeds would be lost, it seems pointless.

As if dropping seeds when filling the feeder wasn’t bad enough, you might drop even more as you remount the feeder to its support.

When seed bird feeders are not hung vertically or at a 90 degree angle, the seeds will fall out of the port wells.

Seeds should be intentionally spilled in the seed tray, if one is attached, after being placed in the clear tube.

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