The best bird feeder
You don't have to go out into the wilderness to enjoy birdwatching. All you need is a good bird feeder and a little bit of patience. If you want to enjoy the relaxing fun of watching birds in your own yard, then invest in a good bird feeder. We can help you find the perfect one for your space.
Read the following helpful buying guide for the best tips on buying a bird feeder. We've even included reviews of a few favorites, like our choice for Best of the Best, the Brome Squirrel Buster Plus.
Considerations when choosing bird feeders
Type of bird feeder
The most common types: hanging, hopper, window, and platform bird feeders. While hanging and window models are commonly known by most people, some may be less familiar with the other two. Platform bird feeders are trays that are suspended, mounted on a fence post, or placed on a stand. Hopper bird feeders traditionally look like a small house, with a reservoir for the birdseed in the middle.
The size of your bird feeder will impact both the number of birds that can use it at a time, as well as the frequency that you'll need to refill it. If you want to be able to enjoy your bird feeder regularly without constant refilling, then you may want to choose a larger option.
Type of seeds/feed
Depending on the kind of birds you want to attract, you'll want to pick the right type of seed or feed to put into your bird feeder. The most common bird feeds are the following:
Peanuts are great for enticing woodpeckers, jays, and mockingbirds.
Cracked corn is enjoyed mostly by sparrows, pheasants, and quail.
Nyjer seeds will often attract multiple types of finch, as well as redpolls.
Safflower seeds are useful for feeding doves, cardinals, and grosbeaks.
Black oil sunflower seeds tend to attract red-bellied woodpeckers, cardinals, and nuthatches to your area.
You should place your bird feeder in an area of your yard that will make the birds comfortable. This means there should be some sort of foliage in the general vicinity for possible cover. Also, don't place your feeder in an area where there is a lot of human or canine foot traffic, as this will discourage birds from approaching.
The brighter the color of your bird feeder, the more it mimics natural elements such as berries and fruits. While this will attract some birds to your feeder, it may also ward off others as bright colors may not offer them any sort of camouflage.
Wooden bird feeders are classic and attractive. However, if you plan to get one of these, make sure it's well sealed and preferably waterproof. Plastic feeders are light and inexpensive. However, they're not the most durable. Metal bird feeders are easy to clean, but they need to be made out of a rust-free metal in order to justify the cost.
Squirrels are a bird watcher's worst enemy due to seed theft. They will often find a way to "break in" to your bird feeder and get to the seed. Some sort of squirrel proofing is available on a number of bird feeders. Many times, this comes in the form of some sort of cage or cover, which will allow a small bird to access the food, but not a squirrel.
Bird feeders that have clear walls are great for seeing all the action that's happening inside. These are usually made of some sort of plexiglass, and give you an opportunity to see how much feed the birds are consuming each day.
Most bird feeders will cost between $10 and $80. Hanging bird feeders and window bird feeders will be on the less expensive side, while hopper style and platform bird feeders will be available at almost any price between $20 and $80.
Q. Is there anything I can do for my local birds in the winter?
A. The best thing you can do is to keep feeding them on a daily basis throughout the winter. High-fat, nutrient-rich foods are the best options. Giving them access to water is also essential for winter survival.
Q. How do I attract birds to my yard?
A. Some of the most tried and true tactics for attracting birds are to put a birdbath in your yard, position your bird feeder close to trees and shrubs, and to plant foliage densely throughout your yard to encourage a natural environment for the birds to adopt.
Bird feeders we recommend
Best of the best: Brome Squirrel Buster Plus
Our take: Keeps squirrels at bay better than other models.
What we like: Chew-proof material foils would-be squirrel saboteurs. 5-lbs. seed capacity is impressive.
What we dislike: Expensive for a bird feeder.
Best bang for your buck: Perky-Pet Panorama Bird Feeder
Our take: Fits anywhere and comes at a great price.
What we like: Sure-Lock lid keeps seeds safe from squirrels.
What we dislike: Spills often.
Our take: Looks great hanging anywhere in your yard.
What we like: Solid metal construction is more durable than most others.
What we dislike: Doesn't protect seeds from rain.
Adam Reeder is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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