Every animal deserves a high quality, easily accessible diet. This diet will allow them to grow to be healthy and strong and keep living a high quality life. Of course our pets receive this high-quality diet, but what about the animals in nature around us? Even the birds flying over our heads and living in the trees outside deserve a higher-quality diet than the sparse nuts, fruits, and bugs they manage to find.
Bird feeders have allowed us to provide these beautiful wild birds with the quality food that they need without interfering with their lives. They also give us an amazing opportunity to observe these birds in a natural, intimate way. Bird feeders come in many different shapes, colors, and styles, and they’ve become a staple of a bustling natural garden or backyard.
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OUR #1 RATED
Nature’s HangoutWindow Bird Feeder
An excellent bird feeder that can be added to any flat, non-porous surface that features a clear design for easy bird viewing.
Brome1015 Squirrel Buster
Fending squirrels off effectively, this feeder has a solid, long-lasting build that can contain a large amount of seeds.
Nature GearWindow Bird Feeder
Another window feeder that features strong suction cups, a nice clear design, and a dual feeding tray for diverse feeding.
NibbleWeather-Proof Bird Feeder
A weather-proof feeder that performs excellently in all climates that’s also very durable and easy to clean and refill.
Perky-Pet312 Panorama Bird Feeder
Although it’s very affordable, this feeder is good quality, doesn’t rust, and can feed many birds at one time.
Why Buy A Bird Feeder?
If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance that you already know why you’re buying a bird feeder. However, it never hurts to go over he benefits of bird feeders, as more people should own one.
The big thing to remember here is that birds being free in the wild doesn’t necessarily mean they’re living an easy life. While freedom is great, these birds are exposed to several different problems. Wild birds aren’t very high on the food chain, meaning that they’re subject to attack from other birds or any of their many predators. These other animals may not try and eat the bird, but they may eat the same food as birds, creating a lot of competition.
Also, humans have made food collection for birds more difficult as pollution and chemicals have damaged some of the natural food of a bird.
By providing birds with a consistent, exclusive, high-quality source of food in your own backyard, you’re increasing their quality of life in a massive way. Plus, you get the benefit of having all of these birds within feet of you so that you can watch them… Need we say more?
What Are The Types Of Bird Feeders?
There is a massive variety of different bird feeders available on the market today. This variety doesn’t exist just to confuse you, though. Each kind of bird feeder is crafted to cater to different bird eating habits and environmental scenarios. If you’re looking to attract a certain kind of bird, or if you want to cater to the needs of the most common bird around your home, knowing what to look for is very important.
- Platform feeders – These feeders are great for birds such as pigeons, sparrows, jays, doves, juncos, blackbirds, starlings, and grosbeaks. The thing about these feeders is that they are very exposed. They don’t provide any protection from weather, and the seeds are available for any creature to come and take.
- House feeders – These feeders work great for cardinals, chickadees, buntings, titmice, finches, grosbeaks, jays, sparrows, and other feeder birds. These feeders attract a lot of squirrels and would require means of squirrel deterrent.
- Window feeders – These feeders provide an excellent bird-viewing experience. You can mount window feeders against most nonporous surfaces, but they’re commonly installed on windows to allow for a clear view of the eating birds. Finches, titmice, and chickadees are frequently seen using these feeders.
- Tube feeders – Tube feeders live up to their name, and they are cylindrical tubes that do an excellent job at protecting seeds from both weather and squirrels. They achieve this security by having feeding ports that only open when a bird lands on it. Lighter birds such as sparrows, finches, chickadees, titmice, and grosbeaks love these feeders, with heavier birds generally not using them.
- Nyjer feeders – Designed specifically for pine siskins, common redpolls, and American goldfinches – birds that love thistles and Nyjer seeds.
- Suet feeders – A simple feeding system that is mostly made of wire mesh and suspended from a stake or even nailed to a tree. These feeders are beloved by woodpeckers, chickadees, jays, starlings, nuthatches, titmice, and jays.
Which Seeds Attracts Which Birds?
While it’s one thing to understand what types of feeders work best for certain kinds of birds, it’s also important to know what food attracts what birds. You could have the perfect bird feeder setup, but if it doesn’t contain the specific food that the birds around you eat, you’ll have no takers!
- Sunflower seeds – These seeds are really the “ultimate bird feeder seed”, with pretty much every bird absolutely loving them. However, birds aren’t the only ones that love them, as squirrels go crazy for these seeds. So, if you’re supplying these seeds, you’ll need to put in the effort to prevent squirrels from reaching it.
- Safflower seeds – These seeds are pretty difficult to crack open, so squirrels as well as most house sparrows don’t go for them. They’re loved by doves, chickadees, native sparrows, and grosbeaks, however.
- White proso millet – As long as you’re using low tray feeders, millet is a great food for quails, doves, towhees, juncos, American sparrows, and cardinals.
- Thistle / nyjer – Small finches absolutely love these kinds of seeds.
- Corn – With corn, you need to be careful. Not only is it loved by bears, deer, and raccoons, but it can also be contaminated with aflatoxin. Therefore, you’ll want to avoid dyed corn, buttered popcorn, or corn that’s meant to be used in farming. Once you’ve avoided these problems, corn makes a great food for grouse, quails, cardinals, jays, doves, crows, turkeys, pheasants, cranes, ravens, and ducks.
- Peanuts – Peanuts are another food that are prone to aflatoxin, so they should be kept dry and eaten quickly. Bears, squirrels, and raccoons love these, in addition to crows, titmice, jays, woodpeckers, and chickadees.
- Canary seeds / rapeseed – Doves, juncos, finches, and quails love these. However, they also attract house sparrows and cowbirds, which most people want to avoid.
- Sorghum / milo – In low-tray feeders, this attracts cowbirds, curved-bill thrashers, Gambel’s quails, and Steller’s jays.
How To Protect Bird Feeders
Bird feeders aren’t generally set up to feed wild raccoons and squirrels, so keeping these animals from eating the bird seed is definitely optimal. There are a few ways that you can pest-proof your bird feeders to give birds most of the grub.
One thing to do is reduce foraging, and this means removing the option for these pests to get any spilled seeds. This can be done through either adding a basin under the feeder to catch spilled seeds, or by using a single type of seed to prevent selective feeding by the birds and having them dump the unwanted seeds on the ground.
While this works for some people and not others, it’s still worth a shot – mix cayenne pepper into the bird seed. Birds’ bodies do not view the pepper as an irritant, while squirrels and rats are very sensitive to it. Mixing in the right amount should be enough to keep most pests away.
Finally, you can modify the actual bird feeder in whichever way is best for your situation. Keep the feeder at least 6 feet off the ground and 10 feet away from any branches or structures. Baffle cones can be added to the poles of feeders, and these prevent pests from climbing up to access the feeder.
Specialty squirrel-resistant feeders exist, too, and they’re mostly effective at preventing pests from getting any sort of reward from feeders.
What Defines The Best Bird Feeders?
All bird feeders are not created equal, and some are definitely much better than others. While we’ve already established that there are many different kinds of bird feeders, each feeder should have most if not all of the traits listed here:
- Sturdy – Bird feeders are placed outside with little to no upkeep and protection, meaning that they have to be built to last. The best bird cages are weather-proof and pest-proof, withstanding harsh rain, wind, and the attacks of pests as they try and eat the seed.
- Tightly-built – Constant water contact with the seeds is not good, as it could make the seeds go bad quickly. Your bird cage should be tightly-built to where little to no water can get inside of it and onto the seeds.
- Easy to assemble – Nobody wants an unnecessarily difficult bird feeder build. The best bird feeders are easy to put together and easy to keep stocked with fresh seeds. This should be a pleasurable investment for you, not a stressful one.
- Easy to keep clean – Because your bird feeder is supplying food to an animal, the health of the animal must be considered. The biggest way that you’re going to do that is by making sure that the bird feeder is kept clean by removing old seed and wiping away any grime. Feeders that readily open and are easy to access make the cleaning process a lot more painless.
What Are The Best Bird Feeders?
There are so many bird feeders available, and they all boast different features and benefits. It can definitely be overwhelming looking at all of them and trying to decide on the perfect one for your garden. Fortunately, we aim to help bird enthusiasts like you by giving you the above guide and compiling a list of the 5 best bird feeders below.
Remember, each type of bird feeder has its perks, so make sure you know which birds you’re trying to feed before making a decision.
our #1 rated
OUR TOP PICK
Window Bird Feeder
This Window Bird Feeder by Nature’s Hangout is a perfect choice for both people that don’t have the garden space to hang a bird feeder and people that up close and personal viewing of the birds. Made of highly durable acrylic, this feeder is extremely resilient and scratch-resistant to keep the clear construction looking neat. Don’t worry about this feeder staying attached, as it has 3 extremely strong suction cups that prove themselves able to withstand harsh weather conditions. The inside of this window feeder has some thought put into it as well, as a dividing wall in the middle of the feeding tray allows for two different seeds to be used. Also, drain holes under the seeds keep them dry and safe for birds to eat.Owners of this bird feeders have great things to say about. Primarily, they say that birds absolutely love it! A wide variety of birds have been noted to visit it, such as cardinals, chickadees, and even purple finches. Many owners note the quality to be great, stating that it definitely won’t come off of a window on its own and that the acrylic remains transparent and easy to see through. The amount of feed that this feeder holds is also great (4 cups), which means that it can go several days without being filled again.While an overwhelming majority of customers note that the bird feeder attracts plenty of birds easily, a handful have trouble getting birds to come to them. This could be due to several things such as a bad location or not the right type of seed, but it’s safe to say most of the time these feeders are a great success.
- Easy and secure hanging
- Clear, transparent construction
- Holds a lot of seed
- Effective drainage holes
- Sometimes birds don’t like it
our #2 rated
1015 Squirrel Buster
For gardens with plentiful squirrels, this 1015 Squirrel Buster feeder by Brome is an excellent way to make sure that only birds are getting the seeds. This feeder works based off of weight – with the weight of a squirrel closing the seed access ports while birds get free access. The outer cage around the tube is strong and adds a great level of security to the feeder. Despite the security, Brome prides themselves on the fact that this feeder is very easy to fill and clean, with the cage coming right off for easy access. With the feeder holding 1.4 quarts of bird seed, it provides a hands-free and easy to maintain bird feeding experience for anyone.Every owner of this feeder notes that it truly does keep squirrels away. Squirrels may jump onto it and knock a few seeds out onto the ground, but they quickly realize they’ll get nothing more than that. Birds themselves love the feeder (especially since they have no competition) and can easily perch and eat as much as they want.The only issue a couple of owners had was with the cage itself, with one owner saying that it sometimes would get stuck closed (easily fixed by pushing it back up) while another says that there isn’t too much room for birds to perch. Most owners don’t note these problems, though, and simply find that it provides a great feeding experience to the birds.
- Holds lots of seed
- Easy to clean
- Cage may get stuck closed
our #3 rated
Window Bird Feeder
Nature Gear has created a window feeder that is extremely similar to the one from Nature’s Hangout. However, there are a few key differences. This window feeder comes with an extended roof, and this helps to protect birds from the rain in addition to keeping the seeds dry. There are also 4 suction cups on this feeder instead of 3, and this could definitely help with the security of the feeder. However, a lot of aspects are the same. There is still a dividing wall in the feeding tray, there are built-in drainage holes, and the entire design is transparent.Owners that went with this feeder see a lot of the same benefits that the Nature’s Hangout feeder brings. The feeder attaches strongly and securely to a window and can withstand some average squirrel abuse without falling down. All types of birds visit the feeders frequently, and the large seed tray accommodates this large volume well.This window feeder also has a lack of problems, which is obviously a plus. A few owners have stated that it’s a little smaller than they would typically like, and others note that birds aren’t frequently coming to it. These concerns are few and far between, so this feeder would also make a great addition to any window.
- Easy and secure hanging
- Clear, transparent construction
- Holds a lot of seed
- Effective drainage holes
- Slightly small
our #4 rated
Weather-Proof Bird Feeder
If squirrels aren’t going to be a big concern for you, then this Weather-Proof Bird Feeder by Nibble would make an excellent addition to your garden. This feeder is optimized to take on anything nature has to throw at it. Sunproof UV-stabilized polycarbonate coating ensures that it doesn’t turn yellow or dingy, weather-proof parts keep it from rusting and cracking, and an anti-bacterial coating makes sure that this feeder doesn’t get you or the birds sick. In addition to the great quality, this feeder is very easy to clean and holds 350g of seeds, making it simple and low maintenance.Some common points made by owners of this feeder are that it’s easy to clean, easy to load, and very durable. The seeds are kept dry and mold-free, which is excellent for rainy environments. Owners have reported that finches, cardinals, painted buntings, and even woodpeckers eat from this feeder, and with a squirrel baffle placed above it, truly makes for an effective and affordable feeder.This feeder is decently small, which does have its perks, but also has its drawbacks. The main thing that some owners have pointed out is that the top of the feeder doesn’t attach but instead rests on top. This is for easy refilling, but can result in some spills here and there. Additionally, this feeder is not squirrel-proof, so if squirrels run rampant in your yard you may want to steer clear.
- Very weather-resistant
- Easy to refill and clean
- Great value
- Decently small
- Not squirrel-proof
our #5 rated
312 Panorama Bird Feeder
A strong contender in the running for the best bird feeders, this 312 Panorama Bird Feeder by Perky-Pet does a great job of supplying seeds to your neighborhood birds. The tray style feeding port and circular perch allows for birds to feed from all angles, which is great for high-volume areas. The overall quality of the feeder is strong, with a brown powder coated finish to help it reduce rust and increase its lifespan. The sure-lock cap is secure, ensuring that seeds stay contained in the feeder even if it’s jumped on by squirrels.Many owners of this feeder say how quickly birds start flocking to it, with many different kinds eating from it within days. The design is very simple for everybody to handle, and this makes cleaning and maintaining the feeder easy as well. For such an affordable bird feeder, it has surprised many customers with how well it holds up over time. Another small feature is that, well… It’s small! This means that large birds such as doves can’t hog it, and squirrels have a difficult time hanging on to it (especially if you spray it with canola oil).This feeder has occasional spillage, with lower food quantities making it slightly easier to spill. Additionally, the hole that holds the wire of the bird feeder allows some water to get into the seeds, and this can cause mold growth. This problem is not very prominent if you have a lot of birds eating the seed quickly, but it can become an issue if seed sits in the feeder for longer periods.
- Excellent value
- Very appealing to birds
- Easy to clean and hang
- Water can get to seeds
- Spills when unbalanced
Whether you decide to go with a sophisticated cylindrical tube feeder or a basic platform feeder, you’re ultimately making the world a better place by providing all kinds of birds with a healthy and consistent food source. Being able to help these creatures in such a major way is great motivation towards finding and purchasing the perfect bird feeder.
So, after carefully reviewing all of the bird feeders available, we’ve determined that the best bird feeder is the Nature’s Hangout Window Bird Feeder.
Not only is this feeder a great value for the money, but it provides such a unique bird watching experience with ease. While this feeder is the best of the best, any of the feeders we’ve presented in this post would make an excellent addition to your garden or window. Make sure that you read our guide thoroughly so that you can ensure you’re getting the best bird feeder for your personal situation.