This is the complete guide to finding the best bird feeder to attract wild birds to your garden. It covers:
- How to choose a bird feeder
- Where to put a bird feeder
- The 22 best bird feeders on the market
So, if you’re new to bird feeding, and you’re looking to guarantee a glorious range of birds visiting your garden, this is the guide for you.
Let’s get started.
How to Choose a Bird Feeder
The right bird feeder for your garden will depend on two factors.
- What type of bird/birds do you want to attract?
- What is the size and layout of your garden?
Typically made from plastic or metal, a seed feeder is usually hung from a tree or garden shed and will feed small seeds through a hole located at the bottom of a tube. A seed feeder will attract small birds such as sparrows, tits and house finches.
Window/Wall Mounted Bird Feeder
If you're limited on garden space, then a great option is a window or wall mounted bird feeder. These feeders use either screws or suction cups to attach to a wall or window and can be filled with your choice of feed. These feeders are often similar in design to hopper feeders with slanted roofs and multiple perches for birds to rest.
A ground-level feeder, also known as a platform feeder or seed tray, is typically a platform resting on a pole about 1 to 2 feet off the ground. This type of feeder is only suitable for large gardens as cats will often hide in the nearby bushes. A ground feeder will attract blackbirds, house sparrows and wood pigeons.
Squirrel Proof Feeders
Squirrels pose a variety of problems when feeding birds Not only can they gobble up all your food, but they are also messy eaters and will disperse seed on the ground. Seed on the ground can lead to birds eating on the ground, which can make them easy prey for cats. A squirrel proof bird feeder looks like a caged bird feeder (used to deter larger birds) but will also feature weight-activated feeding ports that will drop when too much weight is applied to the platform.
Nut feeders are great if you’re looking to attract tits and woodpeckers. They’re usually made from a large metal mesh with 6mm holes that can be pecked through to break off small, safe nut chunks.
If you’re looking to attract tits and starlings, then a suet feeders or suet cages are an ideal solution. Made from a wide metal mesh, the feeder will hold either fat balls or suet cakes, allowing birds to rest on a platform and feast away.
Where to Put a Bird Feeder
Placing a bird feeder isn’t too complicated, but there are a couple of considerations you should keep in mind. These are:
- Keep bird feeders away from fences or shrubs that could be used as jumping points by cats or other predators.
- Try to hang seed feeders at human eye level or a little above. This should help deter predators while also being easy to refill the feeder in the future.
- Purchase a squirrel proof bird feeder to prevent squirrels from chewing through the cage and dispersing seed on the ground below. Feeding at ground level will make easy prey for local cats.
- If you live in a noisy household (with children, for example!) try to avoid placing the seed feeder too close to the house. The noise will likely scare off skittish birds.
22 Best Bird Feeders
Now that you understand the different types of bird feeders and where to place a feeder, let's take a look at the 22 best bird feeders on the market. Each of these bird feeders has been reviewed for its ability to attract wild birds, its design and aesthetic and its general capability of keeping birds safe.
Best Wall/Window Mounted Bird Feeders
Gothic Arch Feeder
Get up close and personal with your wild birds by using this stylish Gothic Arch Window Feeder. Using innovative suction technology to firmly plant itself to your window, this feeder is designed by the bird lovers at the RSPB and has been successfully tested in both Autumn and Winter weather conditions.
Roamwild Arch Window Bird Feeder
Bring nature closer to your home with this high tech window bird feeder. With a natural arched shaped design, this feeder allows your garden birds to feel safe while also sheltering them from the elements while they eat. It's also quite a stylish modern design, which we'd happily have stuck to one of our back windows.
Crete Window Bird Feeder
Window bird feeders are great for feeding when you have limited garden space. For example, this Crete Window Feeder measures 15cm in width and uses clever suction technology to stick to your window. With a sloped roof design, this feeder ensures your bird food stays dry while also offering birds a little bit of shelter from the rain and wind.
One Way Mirror Bird Feeder
One of the key issues with a window bird feeder is the tendency to scare off birds with noise or activity from within the household. If you have kids or a party lifestyle, a window design feeder may not attract many birds. Fortunately, the clever clogs at Bright Minds have designed this simple one-way mirror bird feeder. Attaching to your window using two suction cups, this feeder has a mirror that allows you to view the bird while the bird can only see itself.
Country Garden Wall Mounted Bird Feeder
If you're not a fan of sticking a feeder to your window, but you still want to enjoy garden birds close to your home, then this rustic style wall mounted bird feeder is a great alternative. Simply screw it into a wall or fence, add your choice of bird food and birds will quickly flock to your backyard. A stylish feeder design that will blend into most contemporary gardens.
Best Seed Feeders
Eva Solo Bird Feeder
For one of the most stylish seed feeders on the market, look no further than the Eva Solo. Made using hand blow glass, this completely transparent circle shape feeder is ideal for attracting small garden birds such as blue tits. Fill with your choice of nyjer seeds, dried mealworms or sunflower hearts and feathered friends will quickly flock to your backyard. This is possibly one of the best bird feeders we trialled.
Dome Bird Bird Feeder
Another stylish seed feeder we love is this Dome Bird Feeder from Crocus. With restricted access slots to stop larger birds muscling out the smaller species, this feeder is ideal for attracting the rarer more exclusive birds to your garden such as the Goldfinch or Siskins. The domed roof of this feeder has also been left untreated, this will help develop a rich plethora of patinas over time.
Terracotta Bird Feeder
For a seed feeder that steps away from the styled contemporary designs and towards a minimalist composition, check out the durable and eco-friendly Terracotta bird feeder from Pidata. We found this feeder to work best using either sunflower seeds or peanuts and attracted a great variety of birds including nuthatches and woodpeckers.
Ivyline Cast Iron Hanging Bird Feeder
Encourage a variety of bird species to flock to your garden with this incredibly decorative bird feeder from John Lewis. Giving us relaxed and cosy country farmhouse vibes, this feeder is easy to use and had no problem attracting a variety of common birds to our garden.
Best Squirrel Proof Bird Feeders
Squirrel Buster Bird Feeder
Squirrels can be a real nuisance when trying to feed your local garden birds. If this is a consistent problem, try out the brilliantly designed squirrel buster from the RSPB. This feeder does away with the need for a guardian as an internal weight-activated mechanism covers the feeding ports whenever a squirrel arrives. We found this to be a simple and effective solution to stop squirrels eating your feathered friend's bird seed.
Roamwild Squirrel Proof Feeder
Another option is this clever squirrel proof tube feeder from Roamwild. Featuring individually spring-loaded feeding stations, this feeder only lets songbirds feed and will leave squirrels baffled at how to get the tasty nyjer seed you've left for your feathered friends. This version is a tad more expensive than the RSPB model, but it is also waterproof, which should prevent seed clogging and requires less effort and time to set up.
Heavy Duty Squirrel Proof Seed Bird Feeder
If you're looking for a heavy-duty bird feeder that will stop even the smartest squirrels from accessing your bird seed, then this option from Gardman is an ideal solution. Featuring a thick cast iron cage, this feeder is ideal for ensuring your smaller birds get the energy they need to thrive throughout the year. As far as caged feeders go, this was one of the most effective and stylish we've tried.
Best Suet Bird Feeders
FORUP Suet Bird Feeder
This suet bird feeder is an ideal solution if you are making suet cakes at home. The feeder is designed to hold exactly one 8cm by 6cm suet cake and has a simple and sleek design that will easily attract all kinds of birds to your garden. What we really liked about this feeder was the open-air casing which allows the feed to breathe and keeps it fresher for longer.
Suet Log Pack
Create a tower of joy and health with Suet Log Pack from CJ Wildlife. With the ability to hold up to six suet logs, this feeder will allow multiple birds to perch and enjoy the nutritious calories they need to thrive and survive. Remember to clean the feeding ports regularly to ensure it doesn't go rank.
Upside-Down Suet Bird Feeder
Keep nuisance 'bully' birds like starlings from gobbling up all your suet with this innovative Upside-Down Feeder from Mardili. The upside-down design naturally helps deters larger undesirable birds that are not comfortable hanging upside. Ideal for ensuring you attract Woodpeckers, titmice, nuthatches, and chickadees that can all feed comfortably upside-down.
National Trust Fat Ball Feeder
This suet feeder is the ideal solution if you're using suet balls or fat balls. Featuring a slim, stylish design, simply drop two or three suet balls into the opening and hang from your nearest tree. This suet feeder is designed and created by the National Trust and is made of 100% recycled material from beverage packaging. This ensures you are feeding your local birds, while also doing your best to protect fledgelings around the world. A bonus at home and abroad.
Best Ground Level Bird Feeder
Glendale Bird Table Feeder
This stylish traditional bird table can be positioned anywhere in your garden to create the perfect feeding station for your local wild birds. Ideal for attracting Robins, Blackbirds and Thrushes, simply scatter ground feeding mixes, such as sunflower hearts, on the tabletop and let the birds feed. We also love the simple wooden design that will make a great centrepiece to any garden.
RSPB Ground Feeding Table
Another great option is this ground feeding table from the RSBP. You will need to ensure this feeder is at least 3 metres from any bushes or general shrubbery. Any closer and birds could easily be attacked by cats or other predators that lurk in your backyard. What we like about this feeder is the solid timber design and the four drainage holes. Not only will this stop water backing up, but the timber design is quite attractive and will match the aesthetic of most gardens.
Mesh Bird Feeder
If you're looking for a cheaper option, check out these simple mesh feeders from the RSBP. Again, you will need to ensure this feeder is at least 3 metres from any bushes or general shrubbery. These feeders are quite simple, featuring a small wire mesh base that allows water to run straight through. They're available in dark green and black, so if you're not too fussed about it looking aesthetically out of place, then this is a great option. A decent ground feeder with many similar tray feeders on the market.
Best Nut Bird Feeders
Acorn Bird Nut Feeder
Peanuts are a perennial favourite for wild garden birds, thanks to the taste and high energy content. If you're looking for a simple way to feed peanuts, then this Acorn Bird Nut Feeder from Garden Gifts is an ideal solution. Featuring a thick mesh cage that should help to deter squirrels, simply drop in your nuts and the birds will be forced to break down the peanuts through the mesh wire holes. This will prevent choking in young or small birds. We also found this to be one of the more stylish bird feeders, featuring a quaint acorn design.
Nut Ball Peanut Feeder
Another option to explore is this Nut Ball Feeder from Gardman. Featuring an unusual bohemian design, this feeder is ideal for hanging from a tree or feeding station and can hold 700g of peanuts. Again, similar to the Acorn Feeder, this design features small holes between the wood, which force the birds to break down the peanuts ensuring there is no choking hazard to young or small birds.
Kingfisher Deluxe Donut Bird Nut Feeder
Another option for feeding peanuts is this Donut Nut Feeder from Kingfisher. Featuring a circular design, this feeder again uses a mesh wire design to force birds to break down the nuts. It looks great in the garden and will also ensure you're feeding peanuts in a safe and appropriate manner.
How to Feed Birds Using a Feeder
So, hopefully, you have now found a feeder that both matches the style of your garden and will also attract the right type of bird. If so, here's some general bird feeding advice.
Place Feeders at Least Two Metres Away from Hedges
Always ensure feeders are placed at least two metres away from hedges or trees to allow birds to escape from predators. This is even more important with ground feeders. Ground feeding birds are common prey for cats and other predators.
Feed in the Morning
Always put food out at the beginning of the day. This ensures that birds can replace the energy they have lost overnight.
Always ensure birds have plenty of fresh clean water
You've just read a list of all the best bird feeders on the market, but you shouldn't forget to ensure your birds are well hydrated too. Leave plenty of clean water in a bowl or bird bath for drinking and bathing. Many of the feeders suggested above will have multiple perches and ports for placing seeds and setting up bird baths.
Don't just buy one feeder
Ok, so if you're new to bird feeding, you may not want to buy multiple bird feeders when you're first starting out. But, as you start to grow your confidence with bird feeding, it's best to have multiple feeding sites in the garden to prevent overcrowding. You can try out different seed mixes like maybe you have a set of nyjer feeders to attract smaller birds, while you have a nut feeder for larger birds. Or maybe look at hummingbird feeders when you really start to build your confidence. An exclusive shot of a hummingbird would set alight your Instagram. Alternatively, just go for a set of two basic tube feeders or suet feeders, this way you can avoid multiple birds fighting over one garden bird feeder.
Clean feeders and drinking areas regularly with a mild disinfectant.
Don't forget to clean your garden feeders with a mild disinfectant. Suet feeders can be a particular problem during the summer when the weather heats up. This often causes the suet to go rank and can breed bacteria. Tube feeders will also need a good clean as birds seeds, depending on the type, can go a bit rank too.
Clear up any spilt bird seeds
Even if you're buying no grow bird seed, it's always smart to clear up any bird seeds that fall on the lawn under a garden feeder. Not only could bird seeds still germinate, but they also attract birds to feed at ground level, which could make them a target for predators.
Only use seeds and nuts from reputable suppliers
Try to only use seeds and nuts from reputable bird seed suppliers. Peanuts can be toxic when not prepared properly, so only use nuts that are certified aflatoxin free. You should also try to avoid using fresh food from your home, such as blueberries and bread.