Every animal deserves a diet that is healthy, as well as easily accessible. While our pets and farm animals do get such diet, the birds surrounding us may not. Even those that go from over our heads, roofs, and trees in the lawn need a healthier diet than the rare items they can find.
Feeding these flying creatures is not that easy. However, there is a simple and safe way to feed them well and watch them roam around your home or society instead of planning a tour to a bird-watching park or a destination.
You can lure birds to your home by placing a bird feeder at a safe distance. Through a feeder and the type of seeds you use to feed, you can easily attract a myriad of bird species.
As an ardent bird watcher, you can easily spend a few hours watching them and taking their photographs just from your window while they thank you for your bird feeder. Bird feeders enable us to provide quality food to these pretty wild birds without interfering with their lives.
The feeders provide us with an excellent opportunity to watch these beautiful flying creatures closely. By providing a consistent and elite source of food to birds, you are boosting their quality of life in a great way.
Placing a bird feeder within reach of these birds encourage more birds to come into your vision. A high-quality feeder with healthy food can attract all kinds of species, ranging from finches to cardinals.
Apart from that, you can also boost the overall mood of your backyard with a stylish design, provided it is apt for your requirements. Available in different shapes, styles, and colors, feeders for birds are now a staple of a lively garden or backyard.
This guide aims to help you in selecting the best bird feeder by introducing the reviews of the top 5 feeders and sharing a comprehensive buying guide.
Reviews of 2020’s 5 Best Bird Feeders
Nature Gear Window Bird Feeder – Best bird feeder for cardinals and other big birds
With 100% crystal clear structure having a design of a home and facilitating close-up watching, this best window bird feeder from Nature Gear is worth considering. The feeder boasts the Rain or Shine design due to which birds feed well in any season, may it be winter or summer.
The weatherproof design makes this feeder reliable in diverse weather conditions! The sidewalls and roof keep squirrels and other animals out of this feeder.
It also keeps water out; laser-drilled holes at the bottom of the removable feed tray help in doing so. Hence the seeds remain dry to keep the mold away. The tray is easy to clean or refill, as it is removable. You can refill it in a few seconds without losing your homey comfort.
Thus, you need not remove the full feeder for refilling. The tray is split into two sections, which means you can keep different seeds in each to lure more birds.
The wide perch and the pitched roof make it possible for the feeder to accommodate more seeds at once. Four suction cups improve the feeder’s security. Large size is suitable for big birds like the Cardinal, Robin, Blue Jay, and Wood Pecker to feed along with smaller songbirds like the Sparrow, Gold Finch, Nuthatch, Titmouse, and Chickadee.
They are of industrial-grade and are large enough to hold the feeder in place throughout its lifespan. Both the cups and feeders are sturdy and transparent, as they are made from premium acrylic.
- Good feed capacity suitable for big and small birds
- Easy and secure hanging
- Durable suction cups to prevent falling
- All-weather design
- Drainage holes to keep mold and moisture away
- Comfortable, padded perches
- Easiest to clean and refill
- Not for feeding too many birds at the same time
Nibble Weather Proof Anti-Bacterial Bird Feeder
This is another weather-proof feeder to consider if you will be doing something to keep squirrels and other away. It hangs well and has a feed-holding tube made up of thick plastic that has a feel and looks of a sturdy glass. The remaining parts are made using hard metallic alloy coated in green color.
This feeder is designed to take on anything that the weather has to throw. The tube has a polycarbonate coating that is UV-stabilized and sun-proof so that it does not get discolored. This coating, along with polypropylene fittings and metallic alloy coated with powder, keeps rusting and cracking at bay.
Further, there is also an anti-bacterial coating to prevent the growth of bacteria. This means that your birds will not have any bacterial-induced disease while chirping or feeding.
You can easily clean the tube and other parts by just unscrewing the perches and popping out the two ports along with the base. The tube can hold up to 350g of seed mix or seeds that remain free due to no way for the rainwater to go inside.
- Dry seeds
- Easy to clean and refill
- Not for blue jays or areas having bad storms
GrayBunny GB-6847M6P Classic Metal Tube Feeder
Consider this feeder if you want more ports as well as perches than the Nibble bird feeder. Unlike the latter, this one also ensures you some protection from squirrels. This feeder is an ideal choice for small birds.
At first glance, you will be happy to see the transparent design of the tube. This feed-holding tube is made up of premium-grade metal that retains all seeds well. It is not going to bend or flex at all regardless of the weather.
The weather-resistant and waterproof circular tube can accommodate up to four cups of fresh seeds. You need not worry about mold or water accumulating inside to spoil the seeds.
The contoured base takes care of the distribution of seeds towards the outer walls. It is easy to refill the tube, as you only need to raise the top lid.
The transparent elongated tube allows you to see both the birds and seeds. This means you can easily make out the time to refill the seeds. Six nicely placed feeding ports have perches at the bottom so that more than one bird can eat simultaneously.
Above all, the metallic ports, perches, base, and the top lid are chew-proof. This means that the squirrels will be unable to ruin this feeder even if they manage to reach it. Cleaning is easy, as you only have to remove a screw inside the lower holes.
- Sturdy design
- Dry seeds
- Easy to refill and clean
- Not for big birds
- Less grippy perches
More Birds Ruby Hummingbird Feeder – Best hummingbird feeder
Keep fresh nectar for 48 hours in this 10-ounce feeder having a red top as well as a base, and you will easily attract many hummingbirds from your surroundings. This time for nectar to stay fresh inside the glass bottle is fine, as anyways, you have to change the nectar at least three times a week.
The top and basin are purposely red so that more hummingbirds can come to feed themselves. The glass quality is commendable, along with its wide mouth. However, the plastic base and those small yellow flowers are okay.
There are five ports and perches so that many hummingbirds can feed simultaneously. Above all, this is a distinct hummingbird feeder due to its integrated ant moat. This guard is the recessed top that you simply have to fill with water.
This will prevent ants and other bugs from clogging the ports or contaminating the nectar. Even bees cannot reach the nectar as it is far down and that the holes are small for them.
The detachable flat base and wide opening facilitate easy refilling as well as cleaning. For cleaning, you just have to unscrew the bottom part that then separates it from the top part. With your cleaning at regular intervals, mold can never be a problem.
- Large nectar capacity
- Red base and top to attract more hummingbirds
- Wide mouth
- Seven ports
- Ant moat
- Easy to refill and clean
- Tough to clean flowers
Brome Squirrel Solution 200 Squirrel-proof Bird Feeder – Best squirrel proof bird feeder
Consider this bird feeder if you are looking for a 100% squirrel-proof model that has more than four ports and a large feed capacity of 3.4 lbs. An adult squirrel’s weight automatically shuts the ports due to which it does not get access to seeds. This mechanism also does not harm the squirrel in any way.
A core chamber inside contains the feed and has holes for feeding, which are in alignment with the holes in the outer covering of metallic mesh. The covering hangs from a spring that goes down when the two birds at once are applied.
Then, the ornamental metal leaves cover the ports from that heavy intruder. This is how squirrel pilfering is stopped! Well, it is the weight of a squirrel that activates the closing mechanism.
So, if it can reach without placing the weight on the feeder, it can easily access the seeds. However, this can be rare if you place the feeder well. For this, keep a clearance of at least 18 inches around the feeder. Such an arrangement will force the squirrel to ascend the feeder.
Squirrels also cannot chew any of the feeder parts, as they are made using chew-proof material resin. This material is also UV-stabilized to keep the new look intact, rustproof, and waterproof. The outer cage is made using powder-coated steel and has leaf designs. The inside one is plastic. This makes up for a sturdy structure.
This feeder comes with a ventilation system that allows hot air or humidity to go out via the vents. These vents are available atop the feeder and let fresh air to go in so that the food remains fresh and does not spoil due to mold. You get a free seed funnel with this feeder. It makes it easy to fill the feeder.
- Large feed capacity
- Genuinely squirrel-proof
- Ventilation system
- Funnel included
- Easy to clean and refill
- Lifetime service
- A bit costly
How to Choose the Best Bird Feeder for Your Backyard
Selecting the most appropriate bird feeder influences the volume and types of birds, you can see flocking around your home. Selecting one such feeder requires you to know the different factors based on which you make your choice.
Mapping these factors with your requirements and budget makes you easily choose the best feeder. Some of these factors include the location of the feeder, species to attract, and the present climate. Let’s explore all these factors in the form of answers to commonly asked questions.
Which birds do you want to attract and feed?
Consider this as a serious question, as the answer to it will help you choose the right bird feeder along with the right food. Is it so that you want to see a variety of species? Or are you just willing to spot only colorful goldfinches? Do you wish to allure hummingbirds?
Once you know which birds you want to feed or watch nearby along with how much space you have for the feeder, you can quickly jot down your requirements as per the different factors discussed from the next question below.
Which is the best type of bird feeder for me?
This is dependent on which birds you want nearby and which feeder design is the most suitable for you as per the available space. Following are the different types of feeders for you to consider:
- Ground/Platform/Tray: As the name suggests, these feeders are set up on the ground. They attract cardinals, sparrows, doves, pigeons, starlings, goldfinches, towhees, and juncos. However, they also attract the nearby predators of these birds. Thus, it is safe to place one such feeder 10 feet away from the spot where a predator is hiding. Do not go with a ground feeder if there are cats nearby. These feeders do not protect from rain, snow, and bird droppings. They also usually have no drainage facility. As a result, wet seeds promote fungal and bacterial growth. The best models boast a screened bottom to facilitate full drainage and come with a roof to provide weather protection to some extent. You can mount such feeders on railings or posts apart from suspending them.
- Hopper: A hopper feeder is ideal for those who want a large capacity for holding seeds for a variety of birds, want to get rid of challenging refilling of an existing feeder, and want to keep those troublesome squirrels away. Such a feeder releases the seeds for eating when a bird sits on it. This means there is no constant flow of food, which is ideal for keeping squirrels away. Seeds are enclosed in the core chamber, which then comes out gradually and falls into a tray. Consider this style of bird feeder for red-winged blackbirds, cardinals, siskins, jays, goldfinches, titmice, jays, grackles, and nuthatches. These models often protect from weather and bird droppings. You can suspend or mount them. However, they are hard to clean as compared to tray bird feeders.
- Hummingbird: As the name suggests, these feeders are exclusively for hummingbirds who have a habit of flying into windows and harm themselves. It is wise to set one such feeder a few feet away from a window to keep this collision at bay. You may even consider keeping a hummingbird feeder in a shaded area to preserve the nectar/sugar water.
- Suet: A suet feeder is made up of a typical suet brick that is compact and tight and is held by honey or any other sugary substance. You can easily hang it from a tree branch. For vegans and animal lovers, it is highly recommended to make a suet brick at home using the regular bird seeds and peanut butter and add the mix in the gaps of a pine cone. Then, just hang this cone. These feeders attract nuthatches, woodpeckers, titmice, and chickadees.
- Window: A window feeder is the best medium to get a close view of the birds you wish to allure without startling them or putting them at the risk of collision with the window. The latter is ensured, as a window feeder is attached to a window. Birds are likely to stand atop the seeds that can result in blemish seeds due to droppings. Thus, consider changing the seeds daily. These feeders attract sparrows, chickadees, finches, and titmice. They are easiest to fill and clean.
- Tube: A tube feeder typically has a hollow tube that retains dry and clean seeds. If the feeding port is made up of metal, it also resists squirrels to a great extent, although squirrels can chew the finished end caps. Depending on the configuration (with or without perches or tray) and size of the perches above the ports that feed, a tuber feeder is likely to allure small birds such as titmice, sparrows, finches, and grosbeaks instead of large ones like jays. Perches are meant for seed lovers that eat by hanging upside down. As per the ports’ size, you can place small or big seeds. In most models, the seed-holding tube lengthens to an inch or more below the ports at the bottom. Seeds that remain here are likely to cause mold and bacteria. Thus, it is ideal for blocking this area. A few tubes are huge to allow several birds to feed simultaneously. Consider using small ones if there are not too many birds in your surroundings.
- Nyjer/Thistle: A nyjer feeder is ideal for siskins, finches, and redpolls. Such feeders are available in two styles, namely, a tube feeder with small ports and a sock or fine-mesh design to hold the thistle to which birds hang for extracting seeds. Squirrels will not bother you or your birds, as they do not eat thistle seeds.
- Oriole: This feeder is ideal for alluring orioles by placing grape jelly, nectar, and oranges on it.
What should be the size of my bird feeder?
Feeder sizes tend to differ due to the different seeds and nuts that it can accommodate to allure birds of various sizes. For example, if you wish to fill food nuggets or peanuts, a feeder that can hold them in large quantities is suitable.
Similarly, for smaller birds, a feeder that can hold smaller seeds is ideal. It should be kept in mind that a small feeder does not indicate that it can hold only a tiny amount of food and vice-versa.
How do I install a bird feeder?
Choosing a place for setting a bird feeder influences your feeder choice and the birds you attract. Do you wish to hang a feeder? Well, this way of setting up eliminates all other feeders that are set on flat ground or mounted to a window. Further, all hanging feeders are not meant to perform well with any hanging location.
Following are some ways to set up a bird feeder:
- Hanging: From a hook, tree branch, or from under a gazebo; Shepard’s hook is usually desired for hanging bird feeders
- Table or Ground: Set on a table or the ground.
- Pole or Post Mount: Attached to the top of a post or a pole
- Window: Mounted using window sill or suction cups
- Wall: Installed on a barn’s wall, usually or any other exterior sturdy structure.
If you wish to install against a window, ensure that squirrels and rats will not easily reach this area. Small mammals easily find ways to bird seeds. Their nearby presence will not only scare the birds but also ruin the property by their waste.
If you wish to go for a hanging model, consider the different hanging mechanisms. Some come with a single cord or twin wires due to which you need to hang them from bigger overhead areas. For hanging a feeder close to your window, ensure that the model you choose is not bulky and large enough to result in window cracks amidst harsh winds.
What kind of material should a bird feeder be made of?
Bird feeders are designed using a myriad of strong materials as per the birds they attract and the style. Following are these build materials to consider:
- Glass: For hummingbird feeders to provide spouts from where the nectar can be had.
- Wood: For many birds but should be stained, painted, or made up of weather-resistant cedar, or else the feeder will get ruined quickly
- Plastic: For many birds but also attract squirrels that nibble fittings of plastic; plastic famous for light and affordable design; plastic with metal perches for keeping squirrels away
- Metal: For many birds and is easy to clean and durable; should be a rust-free metal
Plexiglass or acrylic plastic is commonly used for making window sill feeders. It is a type of thermoplastic that is considered as an alternative to glass due to being lighter and shatter-resistant. Hanging feeders are usually composed of a wire mesh that should be coated with rust-resistant material for longevity.
What type of food should I choose for my bird feeder?
Most bird feeders will hold different bird seeds. However, to attract specific birds of your choice, you need to choose seeds suitable for them. Just as human food differs from that of pets, each bird species prefers certain types of seeds or fruits.
There are many types of bird seeds and other foods available with several blends that seed companies make and sell. A few feeders will work with different such mixes or seed varieties, while the rest are exclusively made to release a few types of seed.
For first-time buyers, a mixed seed feeder is a sensible option. With these facts in mind, here are the food options.
- Sunflower Seeds: Almost all birds love them! However, even squirrels love these seeds. While it is the only option to attract all types of birds, it is also a squirrel magnet. So, you will have to consider an anti-squirrel feeder if you are planning to feed sunflower seeds to the birds. Choose those with specifically black oil. These black oil seeds boast thin shells that all birds can easily crack. The seeds’ kernels contain high-fat content due to which they are ideal winter food for birds. There are striped seeds, but they are a bit more difficult to crack due to tougher shells. Consider shelled sunflower seeds instead of unshelled ones, as they are more affordable, and scraps on the ground will be consumed quickly. The unshelled ones tend to degrade rapidly in outdoors. However, shelled seeds require you to clear the feed every two days.
- Safflower Seeds: Most house sparrows and all squirrels do not like these seeds, as it is tough to crack them. However, grosbeaks, chickadees, doves, and native sparrows love them.
- White Proso Millet: This is ideal for doves, juncos, American sparrows, doves, cardinals, quails, and towhees. You should be, however, using it in a low tray feeder. Millet is usually the favorite of small-beaked species that feed on the ground.
- Corn: – This is ideal for ducks, cranes, crows, cardinals, doves, ravens, quails, jays, pheasants, and turkeys. However, it should not be contaminated with aflatoxin. Further, do not use buttered popcorn, dyed corn, or corn that is meant for farming use. Corn is also what bears, and raccoons love. Thus, you need to be extra careful. Ground-feeding birds love corn that is moderately cracked, but it is likely to rot.
- Thistle Seeds: This is ideal for small finches.
- Peanuts: They are ideal for chickadees, jays, woodpeckers, titmice, and crows. However, they are also susceptible to aflatoxin contamination. Thus, it is necessary to keep these nuts dry. Further, they should be eaten quickly due to which you need to use them daily. Just keep feeder holding peanuts away from its other eaters such as squirrels, bears, and raccoons.
- Canary/Rapeseeds: They are ideal quails, juncos, doves, and finches. Cowbirds and house sparrows also love them.
- Sorghum/Milo: This food attracts Gambel’s quails, cowbirds, curved-bill thrashers, and Steller’s jays when putting in a low tray feeder. However, milo attracts rodents. So, you need to place the feeder strategically.
How to ensure that a bird feeder is durable?
The term ‘durability’ is an umbrella term, which means you need to keep an eye on a few aspects to ensure it. In the case of bird feeders, following are the aspects for you to consider to know how durable a bird feeder is:
- Sturdy and Tight Build: Feeders for birds are set outside with no or little protection and maintenance. This means the feeders must be designed to last. Durable feeders are made up of weather-resistant materials. The build material chosen is usually then coated to ensure these abilities. Such feeders withstand harsh wind and rain. Constant water exposure is not good for seeds, as they can turn bad. Thus, the feeder you choose should be tight enough to keep water out.
- Ability to Deter Pests: An outdoor space is home to several more things and living beings apart from birds. There can be chipmunks, squirrels, raccoons, and other animals who too love bird seeds and suet. They are likely to ruin your bird feeder with time. Thus, your feeder should be able to discourage or prevent these animals from gaining access to seeds inside. For this, feeders may come with a cage, lock, pressure-sensitive perches, or some other engineered curbs. If nothing is there, you can consider placing a baffle, a dome set below, above, or both areas of a feeder to make any animal fall after trying to ascend the feeder.
How is a bird feeder with a venting mechanism beneficial for me?
Venting is a desirable feature to have in any bird feeder. It ensures good airflow throughout the feed area so that it remains dry. Otherwise, the feed can quickly get a coating of mold if the seeds stay for long inside.
Should I buy a bird feeder that has a funnel?
Yes! Having a funnel is beneficial, as it prevents wasted feed and spillage. It works by directing the food to the feeding ports. While some feeders come with a funnel, others demand a separate funnel.
Which feeder should I consider for ease of cleaning?
As your feeder is feeding a bird, it is likely to become messy if you do not clean it thoroughly. It is essential to ensure that the feeder is kept clean. Cleaning typically involves removing old seeds and mopping away bird droppings or dirt.
Keeping this in mind, you choose a bird feeder that opens quickly and gives easy access for a hassle-free cleaning process. Trust me, you will be thankful to have a feeder that is easy to clean!
The feeders are available in different designs for refilling and cleaning, right from pop-off to screw-off tops. Of all, window sill feeders are the easiest to refill, as you only need to pour the seeds in its bottom. However, they may not be the easiest to clean. Further, feeders made up of plastic, glass, metal, or glazed ceramic are easy to clean. The wooden ones are a bit tough to clean.
How do I keep squirrels away from my bird feeder?
Regarded as the antagonists of bird feeders, squirrels can eat through, take apart, and ruin your feeder while attempting to east the feed inside it. To keep them away, you should look for feeders that tend to deter squirrels. In case you already have one bird feeder, you too can keep them apart.
There are two ways to do so, namely, appeasing squirrels and isolating the feeders. The former involves feeding the squirrels with something more economical yet suitable than the feed for birds. Peanuts and corn ears are ideal options. A well-fed squirrel is beneficial to you, as it will safeguard the lawn or garden from other squirrels.
Isolating a bird feeder means to place it strategically such that squirrels do not reach it. Squirrels can jump up to 8 feet horizontally and leap 5 feet horizontally in any direction. Keeping this in mind, you should place your feeder. Even keeping a baffle on your feeder will keep squirrels away.
Which kind of bird feeder do I choose for observing the feed level from a distance?
It is wise to keep an eye on the food levels from your home, particularly during winter. After all, you do not want the feeder to remain empty for a long time. In that case, look for a transparent feeder that is made up of glass or acrylic plastic.
The bird feeders for you are the ones that attract the birds whom you want to feed safely and healthily. Keeping the factors mentioned above in mind, we recommend getting started with the Nature Gear window feeder, especially if you are buying for the first time. It has all the features and pros a beginner would expect. Although it may sound small, it is worthy of your money.
If squirrels are a problem, then you should consider the mesh feeder from Brome. Consider the hummingbird feeder if you only want to watch and feed hummingbirds.