Feeding birds is a great way to view them up close and draw their attention to your yard. Having birds present on your property can provide you with many unique benefits including weed and pest control and flower pollination. Birds are also a budget-friendly option for those wanting an outdoor pet.
If you’re new to bird feeding, it can be difficult to know which bird feeder is the best option for your needs. Bird feeders come in different shapes and sizes and cater best to different types of yards and environments.
We’ve compiled this list of the five best bird feeders available on the market today to help you narrow down your options, and we’ve also included a buying guide to help you make the most informed decision for your needs.
Top 5: Bird Feeders Review
Product Image & Rating (Out Of 10)
The Woodlink Going Green Platform Bird Feeder has a metal mesh screen bottom that is powder coated and allows for drainage to escape the feeder. This powder-coated screen bottom also allows you to serve any type of bird seed or fruit.
The Woodlink Going Green Platform Bird Feeder is made out of up to 90% post-consumer recycled plastic (PCR Plastic). PCR plastic is plastic that was used for another consumer product and would have been disposed of as waste if it weren’t recycled to be used again.
This highly-rated bird feeder sticks to its name “Going Green,” without sacrificing sturdiness and reliability. This bird feeder’s durable construction will keep it lasting for years to come making it well worth its already highly-affordable price.
Made in the USA, this Woodlink bird feeder comes with an included hanging cable. The recycled plastic that makes up this bird feeder can stand its ground against water making it less likely to mold. This environment-friendly bird feeder can also withstand tough dirt and bacteria, so it is easy to clean.
One drawback to this great bird feeder is that you may need to make or purchase a cover or dome to protect the seeds in this feeder from rain water. If, however, your home or porch has a cover or overhanging roof, placing this feeder underneath it will solve this minor problem. An upside down funnel could also do the trick.
The inside dimensions of the Woodlink Going Green Platform Bird Feeder are 11.5” x 11.5”, while the outside dimensions are 12.75” x 12.75” x 3”.
The Entirely Zen Window Bird Feeder has four strong suction cups that are dedicated to keeping this feeder glued to your window. The durability of this feeder and its suction cups is so strong that this bird feeder can double as a feeder for squirrels.
With this Entirely Zen Window Bird Feeder, you can get up close and personal with your neighborhood birds thanks to its crystal-clear design.
Unlike many other bird feeders, the Entirely Zen Window Bird Feeder has easy-lift removable trays to keep your birds’ seeds in place rather than frustrating slide-out trays that can slip out and spill seeds everywhere. It also has raised drainage holes that help keep your birds’ seeds dry.
Two beautifully illustrated eBooks are available free with any purchase of this bird feeder so that you can turn your bird feeding hobby into an educational experience. With a purchase of this feeder, you can learn about the various species of wild birds as you feed and observe them from your home or yard.
A reflective two-way mirror film is included on this bird feeder so that your feathered guests stay longer and feel comfortable as you watch them eat. *This film is available on the 11.75” bird feeder only.
The Brome Squirrel Buster Plus Squirrel-proof Bird Feeder is designed to keep squirrels and other rodents away. This durable bird feeder comes with a lifetime warranty and a free cardinal ring to attract beautiful Northern Cardinals (also known as “the redbird”) to your yard.
These small songbirds may enjoy feeding from this chew proof bird feeder that can be dismantled without the need for tools.
The patented seed ventilation system that is present in this feeder keeps seeds fresh longer which may go a long way in keeping your yard the handout for all of the birds in your neighborhood.
Weight adjustable, the included patented spring system allows you to control which birds feed in your yard.
The Nature’s Hangout Window Bird Feeder allows you to feed birds and enjoy their beauty up close. This bird feeder is made from durable see-through acrylic, so it is highly-transparent and potentially ideal for those who enjoy watching birds.
The included removable bird tray makes this feeder easy to clean and fill. Cats, children, and you can enjoy watching birds feed without disturbing the wild creatures.
This highly-rated and affordable bird feeder comes with a full lifetime warranty that allows you to get your money back if your bird feeder ever falls down due to its suction cups.
The Tranquil Outdoors Large Acrylic Window Bird Feeder is designed for many types of birds. This all-weather feeder is made out of durable acrylic and has a rubber perch tray. It comes with a reliable steel hook and durable suction cups.
This bird feeder can withstand being placed high on your windows to prevent squirrels from reaching it. The innovative birdhouses that are integrated into this feeder make it easy to view the birds as they eat.
This Tranquil Outdoors bird feeder has a large mouth that is open so that birds can enter it easily. Drainage holes are included in this feeder to keep seeds dry.
This easy to use and lean feeder is highly rated, well made, and affordable.
Overall, every bird feeder on our list is a great option for anyone wanting to feed birds, but depending on your specific budget and desires, one bird feeder may be more perfect for you than another.
The best value bird feeder on our list is the Woodlink Going green Platform Bird Feeder. This bird feeder is one of the most affordable feeders on our list, and it also has the distinction of being one of the best rated.
Made in the USA, this environment-friendly bird feeder may be the best option for anyone unsure of the types of birds in their area and which foods they should eat. Since this bird feeder can hold just about any type of bird food, this feeder is great for those who need to experiment with different foods to find what works best for their area.
The Entirely Zen Window Bird Feeder is the most versatile feeder on our list thanks to its ability to feed both birds and squirrels. This feature may be ideal for those who want to enjoy the presence of a variety of animals in their yard.
The Entirely Zen bird feeder is also a great option for those who enjoy bird watching and feeding for educational purposes. The included downloadable eBooks make this a great investment for those who enjoy bird watching and feeding as more than an idle hobby.
Fans of the Northern Cardinal may particularly enjoy the Brome Squirrel Buster Plus Squirrel-proof Bird Feeder for its free included cardinal ring and squirrel-proof design. This is the most expensive bird feeder on our list by far, but it is also worth its price.
High in patented technology to keep squirrels away, this bird feeder can be a great option for those who have had to go toe-to-toe with squirrels scaring away birds from their yard or destroying their other bird feeders.
The Nature’s Hangout Window Bird Feeder is the best gift option on our list thanks to its beautiful design, durability, and affordable price point. If you have numerous bird-loving friends or family in your social circle you can buy a number of these bird feeders without breaking the bank and without sacrificing quality.
The Nature’s Hangout Window Bird Feeder comes with a full lifetime warranty so should problems arise, you can get a full refund or a new bird feeder without issue.
The Tranquil Outdoors Large Acrylic Window Bird Feeder is a highly-recommended bird feeder that is easy to install and affordable for any budget. This durable bird feeder is see-through and has a large open mouth so that you can view birds eating all day from the comfort of your yard or home.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which bird feeder attracts more birds?
To attract the most variety of birds to your yard, it is best to have multiple types of bird feeders with different types of foods, but if you’re feeding on a budget, the best bird feeder to attract multiple birds is a tray or platform feeder,
The best tray feeders have a screened bottom to allow for drainage rather than a solid bottom. The first bird feeder on our list, the Woodlink Going Green Platform Bird Feeder is a great bird feeder for attracting a large variety of birds.
Where and how high should I hang my bird feeder?
You can hang your bird feeder just about anywhere and at any height, but it’s important to take into consideration your home and yard design as well as the type of birds you want to feed.
Different birds are comfortable feeding at different heights. Also, if your bird feeder doesn’t have a cover, it’s best to hang it somewhere in your yard or around your home exterior that will offer protection during rainstorms. Wet and soggy seeds aren’t appealing to most birds.
If squirrels are an issue in your hard, and your bird feeder isn’t equipped to handle them, hanging your bird feeder out of their reach is best, so avoid trees and areas close to your home where squirrels frequent.
Different bird feeders have different designs and setups. They tend to attract different species, and each unique design might have its own maintenance needs.
Some of the most common types of bird feeders on the market are:
- Platform and tray feeders
- Birdhouse and hopper feeders
- Tube feeders
- Window feeders
- Suet feeders
- Nyjer feeders
Each category comes with its own advantages and disadvantages. If you want to attract hummingbirds, you'll need a nectar feeder instead of a traditional bird feeder.
When you picture bird feeders, there's a good chance that you're imagining a platform or tray feeder. These types of feeders are the most popular among backyard birders because they attract a huge variety of different bird species.
A tray feeder is easy for birds to access since the seeds rest in a tray that they can perch on. However, this means that the seeds aren't protected from snow or rain. In fact, if your seeds become wet enough before being eaten, they might start to sprout roots or grow fungus.
In addition, birds can ruin the birdseed by leaving droppings in it.
Because of all of these issues, the most effective platform feeders have screens on the bottom. This allows moisture to drain after rain and snow. Designs with solid bottoms can hold large amounts of water. If you do use a solid-bottomed design, it ought to have some drainage holes.
Another ideal feature of these feeders is to have a removable bottom. This lets you hose the material down to get rid of any bacteria, fungus, or droppings that may have been left.
Tray feeders are extremely appealing to squirrels and other wild rodents. You might have to take measures to deter them.
House and hopper feeders tend to have fairly good protection against bird droppings and rain, so they're good for people who live in unpredictable climates. That said, the feeder can breed fungus and bacteria if the seed inside becomes moist. Like tray feeders, hoppers tend to be targeted by squirrels.
Window feeders, as the name implies, are designed to fit against windows. These small plastic feeders attach to the glass using suction cups, or larger platform feeders attach to the windowsill with hooks. They attract only a limited number of bird species, but you get to see the birds up close.
The positioning of a window feeder helps to prevent birds from colliding with the glass. One potential drawback is that the seed can easily become soiled by bird droppings, since birds stand in it as they eat. It does tend to be easy to clean and fill window feeders, though.
Tube feeders use hollow tubes to store the food. This helps to keep the seed dry and clean, since the birds don't directly stand in it. Designs with metal ports are often difficult for squirrels to access, though determined rodents might chew through the plastic barring them.
Some tube feeders have perches that are above the ports instead of below them. These are specifically made for birds that eat while upside down. As such, they attract a limited number of species. The type of seed used varies depending on how large the tubes are.
There is a risk that the tubes themselves will become clogged with bacteria and fungi. This can be mitigated by blocking the open tube from being accessed.
Tube feeders come in many shapes and sizes. Some are similarly sized to the average platform feeder. But there are also large options that can feed up to a dozen birds simultaneously. Larger options work best if you already have a huge bird population. With smaller populations, a smaller feeder doesn't need refilling as frequently.
Nyjer feeders are named for the type of seed they use. They're also called thistle feeders. There are two types of nyjer feeders on the market: extremely small-ported tube feeders, and "socks."
Thistle socks are bags made of fine mesh that contain the seeds. Birds cling to the outside and extract the food through the mesh. The fabric often retains moisture, so the seed tends to become very wet when it rains. Because of this, it's best not to overfill the feeder.
A suet feeder is made of some kind of mesh. Usually it's wire mesh that might be coated in plastic, although there are inexpensive DIY designs that just use the mesh bag for your onions. You can tie or nail the mesh to a tree, affix the mesh to the side of your hopper feeder, or suspend the bag.
There have been rare cases in which birds became tangled in mesh onion bags, which can be fatal if they aren't freed. The safest suet feeding option is a suet cage.
What birds are attracted to each type of bird feeder?
With platform feeders, you'll typically attract birds including:
Platforms hung close to the ground attract additional ground feeding species like:
House feeders tend to attract most seed-eating birds, including:
- Red-winged blackbirds
Window feeders attract more limited species, but they offer an up-close view of:
- Some sparrow varieties
Tube feeders tend to attract:
- Pine siskins
- House finches
Nyjer feeders attract only birds who eat Nyjer seeds. These species include:
- House finches
- Pine siskins
Suet feeders attract bird species that eat suet. The specific feeder design might affect what birds can feed there. Some of the most common suet-eating species are:
Rather than eating seeds, hummingbirds consume nectar. Hummingbird feeders are set up with food specifically formulated for hummingbirds rather than for other species.
There are two main types of hummingbird feeder on the market: vacuums and saucers.
Many people make vacuum feeders themselves at home. These designs use an inverted bottle that has a feeding port or a tray underneath. The bottle is then filled with nectar for the hummingbird. The trapped air inside the feeder creates a pressure vacuum that holds the nectar inside.
Vacuum feeders tend to be easy to refill and clean. When the design is functioning properly, they take a long time to empty. However, if the vacuum pressure doesn't work, the nectar will leak out due to gravity.
Saucer feeders don't rely on pressure or gravity. Instead, they look like bowls of nectar. The birds feed by probing their beaks downward into the feeding ports. Saucer feeders don't tend to leak, but they can be occasionally hard to clean.
With both types of feeder, the hummingbirds drink from feeding ports. This means that the design must have ports that are the right size for the hummingbird to use, without being so big that they leak nectar.
Some designs include plastic flowers that you can use to "highlight" the feeding ports. That's a quick and easy way of telling the hummingbirds where to look. If you want to avoid insects looking inside, though, you'd need to use a bee guard over the port instead.
If you're looking for a hummingbird feeder, these are the best guidelines to keep in mind:
- Take into consideration the number of birds you'll be feeding. If this is your first hummingbird feeder, start small and then upgrade later.
- The best feeder designs have easy mechanisms for cleaning and maintenance. It's important to clean bird feeders regularly to avoid making the birds sick.
- A hummingbird feeder should be functional before beautiful. Get one that works, not one that looks like a pretty garden decoration.
- Hummingbirds don't need perches, but larger nectar-eating birds might use them. You can also see hummingbirds more clearly if they use a perch.
- You can set up cameras or observe in real time to see which feeders are getting the most attention from hummingbirds - that's how you know which designs are most effective.
Unfortunately, many of the most versatile bird feeder designs are also easy for squirrels to access. Chipmunks and squirrels are extremely determined, and they may work together to "crack" a bird feeder like a safe.
One of the fastest and easiest ways to deter squirrels is to use a squirrel-proof feeder pole. You place the pole in the middle of your lawn or another open space, and the feeder is mounted on top.
There are two types of "squirrel-proof" pole on the market. One is specifically designed to keep squirrels from climbing. This type of design might include a squirrel baffle, which keeps creatures from climbing the pole.
The other type of pole is one that you create yourself. You take your existing feeder pole and attach your own baffles. Baffles can be purchased by themselves, or you can follow a DIY tutorial at home.
It's also important to be conscious of where you place your feeders. A squirrel is capable of leaping up to ten feet. That means that if there's anything within a ten-foot radius of your feeder, it's vulnerable to rodents.
Some bird feeder designs are specifically made to prevent squirrels from partaking without preventing birds from feeding. Feeders might employ squirrel-deterring mechanisms like:
- Having perches that dump the creature sitting if it weighs more than a bird
- Being enclosed by cages that can't be penetrated by squirrels but can be penetrated by birds
- Having battery-operated motors that spin the feeder when a squirrel is detected
If you're new to birding, there are a few common mistakes that you should avoid. It's important to use the right food and clean your bird feeders regularly, but there are other errors that you might not consider.
One potential mistake, especially if you're an avid birdwatcher, is to buy only one feeder. There are many different types of feeders, and different birds eat different foods. Most open tray designs will attract several species, but to bring the most variety into your yard, you'll need different types of feeders.
Another mistake is to leave your feeders empty for too long. For birds to be attracted to the feeder, they need to know that it's a consistent source of food. If the feeder is empty for a few days, you generally won't lose your bird population. But frequently-empty feeders will be ignored by birds.
Many beginners buy the cheapest birdseed on the market when they get started. But even if a seed mix isn't actively harmful to birds, it might not be very nutritious for them, either. Inexpensive birdseed tends to have fillers that aren't appealing to birds.
You also shouldn't feed bread or baked goods to birds. It might seem harmless, since bread and seeds are both wheat-related. But processed human food does not have the nutrition that birds need.
If you have hummingbird feeders, using the wrong nectar can be dangerous. Hummingbirds have very sensitive digestive systems, and they cannot process many materials. Nectar should only be sweetened with white sugar, and it should not be dyed artificially.
Some sweeteners that hummingbirds can't process include:
- Brown sugar
- Artificial sweeteners
- Fruit juices
Not only do these sweeteners mess with a hummingbird's nutritional balance, but they can cause mold to grow. Hummingbirds that eat mold can die.
It's also important to consider how your backyard naturally attracts birds. Do you have a garden that produces nectar? Do you have fruit-producing trees? These are natural places that birds forage for food.
Some birds eat insects. If you use insecticides to kill the insects in your yard, you're depriving the birds of a vital food source. Certain insecticides can also make the birds themselves sick if they come into contact with the chemicals.
Do birds still visit bird feeders in the winter?
Many birds do fly south during the winter. Depending on where you live, you might believe that all the birds have vanished. It's common to hear less birdsong on winter mornings than spring ones.
But there are actually dozens of species of birds that might populate your backyard in the winter. Some of these birds won't be looking for food during the warmer months, so the winter is the only time you'll get to see them.
Winter is a dangerous time for birds. They have to eat more so that their bodies stay warm when the temperature drops. Ice also makes it hard to find drinking water. Many birds are dependent on backyard feeders during the fraught winter months.
When you keep filling your feeders in the winter, you're doing more than just opening an opportunity to see more birds. You're helping your local ecosystem survive and thrive.
These are some elements of bird-friendly winter backyards:
- Feeders provide nutrition and calories when there are no flowers blooming or insects outside. Suet, nuts, peanut butter, and other high-calorie foods are particularly prized.
- Bird baths give birds a steady source of drinking water. A flowing bird bath won't freeze when other sources of water do. Some bird bath models are also heated, which helps birds fight the cold.
- Bird shelters give birds places to weather the elements when the trees have lost their leaves and aren't providing cover.
- If you have nesting sites, winter birds will remember them and come revisit you in the spring.
As a general rule, you should only give birds food specifically certified for them. Some particularly harmful foods include:
- Salted peanuts and other salted foods
- Any foods with mold growths
- Milk and other lactose products
In the spring and summer, chicks hatch. During these times, you need to be careful about the foods you offer. Large hunks of food, loose peanuts, and hard foods are all too difficult for chicks to break down. The little birds might choke and die if the food is too big.
If you’re interested in owning one of these great bird feeders for yourself or giving one away as a gift, then you should check them out today.