The 10 Best Bird Feeders to Add to Your Garden

Our favorite is the Best Choice Products 4-Hook Bird Feeder Station for its versatility.

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Whether you're a seasoned bird watcher or just looking to invite more wildlife into your yard, a bird feeder is a great way to attract new animals and spruce up your outdoor space. Bird feeders come in all different shapes, sizes, and types, so not only should you be able to find one in a decor style that you like, but also one that'll suit your personal needs.

"The most important thing for taking care of birds that come to feed in your bird feeder is being able to see that they have enough food," says Kate Staab, the Livestock Supervisor at Marsh Farm in Essex, England. Though there are many cute bird feeders available to buy (i.e., the ones that look like little houses), it's not possible to check the level of seeds from afar. "A clearly visible food container is best for ensuring there is always enough bird food," Staab says.

We researched dozens of bird feeders, evaluating them on size, material, style, function, and ease of cleaning. Our top pick is the Best Choice Products 4-Hook Bird Feeder Station, which stands out for its versatility, ease of assembly, durability, and affordable price. One important thing to note: Many states have reported an increasing number of avian flu cases. Before setting out bird feeders, birdbaths, or birdhouses, please check with your state's department of natural resources.

Read on for the best bird feeders for every type of yard.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall Bird Feeder: Best Choice Products 4-Hook Bird Feeder Station

bird feeders
amazon.com

Also available at Home Depot and Walmart.

Who it's for: Nature lovers who want a vast array of wild birds visiting their yard.

Who it isn't for: Anyone who doesn't want to spend more than an hour a month on bird feeder cleaning and maintenance.

The Best Choice Products 4-Hook Bird Feeder Station is ideal for anyone who is undecided on what type of bird feeder to get since it's (almost) every kind of bird feeder in one handy unit. It has two hooks to hang the included tube and suet bird feeders, as well as two extra hooks to hang your own (perhaps a feeder for hummingbirds?). It also has two slots for the birdbath or water tray, and an extra mesh bird seed tray, both of which come with the set. It's also really easy to put together—all you have to do is tighten the wingnuts at each section.

This bird feeder stand has four long prongs at its base that dig deep into the soil to ensure it won't tip over, and it's made of rust-resistant steel that can withstand the elements. At 84 inches tall when installed, it's unreachable by cats from the ground, but squirrels, with their superior climbing abilities, will have no problem getting into it and having a snack. If you'd rather not have squirrels around, you can use the base and hang squirrel-safe feeders on it instead.

Product Details:

  • Style: Pole mounted
  • Size: 21.25 x 91 inches
  • Material: Steel (pole), plastic (water bowl and tube feeder)

Best Budget Bird Feeder: Perky-Pet Panorama Wild Bird Feeder

bird feeders
walmart.com

Also available at Walmart and Home Depot.

Who it's for: People who want a budget-friendly feeder that'll keep squirrels out.

Who it isn't for: People who want a heavy duty bird feeder.

This best-selling, budget-friendly bird feeder features a cylindrical design and large seed tray that allows birds to feed from all angles. Plus, it's weather-proof and rust-resistant thanks to the glass seed casing and powder-coated finish, and has a "Sure-Lock" cap that keeps squirrels, chipmunks, and other rodents out. The feeder holds up to two pounds of seeds and attracts a variety of birds including titmice and cardinals.

It is designed not to waste seed as it automatically dispenses feed when the tray is empty and stops once it is full. The large clear seed container makes it easy to see when the food has run out, even if you're far away, and it has a wide mouth for easy refilling. It's available in four different shades including metallic red and blue, though they're slightly more expensive than this attractive version with an antique copper finish.

Product Details:

  • Style: Hanging
  • Size: 8 x 8 x 9 inches
  • Material: Metal, shatter-resistant plastic

Best Bird Feeder with Stand: Alcott Hill Judith Gap Verdant Pavilion Bird Feeder

bird feeders
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Who it's for: People with no suitable place to hang a bird feeder.

Who it isn't for: People who want to deter squirrels passing through or people who own cats.

This beautiful and traditional-style model is perhaps the easiest type of bird feeder around—just place it in the garden, fill it regularly, and enjoy watching the birds come and dine. At 14.5 inches, the platform is big enough to hold many birds at once, and though it looks like metal due to its rustic metallic paint job, it's actually made of a hard and durable plastic that is totally rust-proof. Plus, the green hue blends into natural surroundings and goes with just about any outdoor space color scheme.

While it might not be heavy enough to withstand extremely windy areas, you can fill the pole with sand or gravel to weigh it down. Burying the base slightly in the soil, or even anchoring it into the ground with garden stakes, is also recommended for extra security. This unit is easy to assemble, but it doesn't have an easy refill top, so if you don't want to have to clear away bird seed husks you can buy shelled seeds instead. Just remember to put out only a day or two's worth of shelled seeds so that the birds won't have to fight insects off for a morsel.

Product Details:

  • Style: Stand
  • Size: 39.75 x 14.5 x 14.5 inches
  • Material: Plastic

RELATED: The 9 Best Hammocks for Lounging Outside

Best Hopper Bird Feeder: Nature's Way Bird Products Cedar Hopper with Suet

Bird Feeder
homedepot.com

Who it's for: People who want to keep insects away from the bird food.

Who it isn't for: People who want clear visibility of feed levels.

For a cross between a traditional birdhouse-style feeder and a modern and safer hanging model, opt for the Nature's Way Cedar Hopper. This cute little house is made from premium cedar wood that is completely rot- and corrosion-resistant—but the best thing about it is that it is naturally insect-repelling.

This house bird feeder has a mesh tray that allows for aeration and water drainage, so the bird feed is always fresh. The cedar prevents rot, excess water, and mold, is fade-resistant, and comes with rust-free stainless-steel hardware to last you longer than just one season. It's also designed to provide space for both large birds and smaller birds. Plus, the suet block can be moved from the bottom to the side for more versatility. It isn't squirrel-proof, however.

Product Details:

  • Style: Hanging, hopper
  • Size: 7.5 x 9.25 inches
  • Material: Cedar wood

Best Bird Feeder for Decks: Arlmont & Co. Deck Mounted Tray Bird Feeder

bird feeders
wayfair.com

Who it's for: Anyone with a deck who would like to bring birds closer to the house for a better view, and those who don't have anywhere to hang a bird feeder.

Who it isn't for: People who want to watch birds from a distance.

If enjoying your morning cup of coffee on the porch with birds feasting almost at arm's reach seems right up your alley, then this mounted bird feeder is for you. This feeder consists of a durable, rust-resistant steel clamp and two tray holders with different trays: a steel mesh tray for food and a clear plastic one for water. It affixes easily to any deck with the incorporated large screw, and its simple black design goes with any house style.

Sure, it's a deck bird feeder, but that doesn't mean you can only place it on a deck—if you have thick and sturdy fencing, you can attach it there too. It's easy to fill and empty, and it can hold plenty of food to bring an array of birds, both large and small, to your yard, and you'll likely even see them splashing around in the water tray. To clean, simply tip the contents out of the trays, run them under a tap, and wipe dry.

Product Details:

  • Style: Deck-mounted
  • Size: 17 x 7 x 10 inches
  • Material: Steel, plastic water bowl

RELATED: The 6 Best Patio Dining Sets for Outdoor Entertaining

Best Bird Feeder for Windows: Foxup Large Window Bird Feeder

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Who it's for: People who live in apartments or people who want to watch birds up close.

Who it isn't for: People who have windows with shutters (or anyone who would like to be able to close those shutters).

A sure-fire way to bring a smile to any bird lover's face, this clear bird feeder made from a heavy-duty and sturdy acrylic material is the perfect option for anyone who loves the idea of observing wild birds up close and personal. The Foxup feeder doesn't come with suction cups like other similar window feeders but instead utilizes super strong adhesive stickers that keep the feeder securely glued to your window, even during rain, snow, or heatwaves.

When attached to the window, the feeder is semi-enclosed so that the seeds are kept dry and protected. It also features a deep tray feeder that can hold up to four cups of seeds, built-in drainage to keep seeds dry after a rainstorm, and a sliding tray that can be removed to dry or refill as needed. It's also quite a large feeder, so it can fit several birds at once. It might take a while for the birds to find it since it's clear and located right on the house, but they'll be sure to keep coming back for more once they do.

Product Details:

  • Style: Window
  • Size: 11 x 4.5 inches
  • Material: Acrylic

Best Bird Feeder for Hummingbirds: Perky-Pet Hobnail Vintage Hummingbird Feeder

bird feeders
amazon.com

Also available at Wayfair and Home Depot.

Who it's for: People who don't want to deal with seed mess clean-up.

Who it isn't for: People who want a variety of birds to visit.

Featuring a unique style, this elegant glass nectar feeder will add a touch of color to your patio and attract plenty of gorgeous hummingbirds. Hummingbirds don't eat bird seed, so they're one of the most economical birds to take care of. Though you can buy hummingbird nectar, all you have to do to make it is create a mixture of sugar and water at a 1:4 ratio, bring it to a boil, and put it in the feeder once it's cooled down.

It has a wide opening so you can effortlessly pour in up to 16 ounces of nectar with a jug, and it's easy to take apart and clean. This particular hummingbird feeder doesn't come with mounting hardware or a pole, so you'd have to buy those separately unless you own some already. You can hang it from a tree, an overhead gutter, or awning, on a deck using an extendable arm, or anywhere else you'd hang a regular bird feeder, preferably with 10–15 feet of clearance to be safe from cats and other predators.

Product Details:

  • Style: Hanging
  • Size: 8.63 x 5.5 x 5.5 inches
  • Material: Glass, metal

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Best Squirrel-Proof Bird Feeder: Brome Squirrel Buster Bird Feeder

bird feeders
amazon.com

Also available at Walmart.

Who it's for: People who want a heavy duty feeder that keeps squirrels out.

Who it isn't for: People who want a more budget-friendly bird feeder.

If you're a seasoned bird watcher, you'll know that nothing can ward off potential visitors quite like squirrels. Unfortunately, the very seeds that attract birds also seem to attract other critters too. This tube feeder, however—aptly named the Squirrel Buster—detects when a squirrel is trying to feed (based on its weight) and automatically closes the feeding holes. Plus, it's made of a chew-proof material in case the squirrel tries to gnaw its way in. You can even customize the spring mechanism depending on if you want larger birds to be able to perch and snack too.

This bird feeder might be more expensive than other styles but it will save you money in the long run since squirrels will no longer be able to steal the bird feed (which, depending on the type you buy, can be rather expensive). What's more, the manufacturer will send you any replacement part needed under its warranty (for free, and with free shipping too), making this bird feeder likely to last a very long time.

Product Details:

  • Style: Hanging
  • Size: 5.5 x 5.5 x 16 inches
  • Material: Metal

Best Tube-Style Bird Feeder: Gray Bunny 4-Port Hanging Tube Bird Feeder

bird feeders
amazon.com

Who it's for: People who want a straightforward yet durable and affordable bird feeder.

Who it isn't for: People who don't want to spend a lot of time cleaning their feeder.

Tube feeders like this one from Gray Bunny are a great inexpensive option for smaller and larger birds alike. The hanging feeder is 15.5 inches tall and made of durable polycarbonate plastic that won't bend or break and can hold up to six cups of seeds. Its clear design allows you to see in to know when it's time to replace the seeds to make sure your little winged friends always have enough to peck at.

The feeder is also weatherproof so it can stand up to the elements, and it's chew-proof too, so even though squirrels will be able to get to it and grab some food, they won't be able to destroy it with their teeth. It has four feeding ports, and it disperses the seeds slowly to conserve feed (and protect birds from overeating in the process). A six-port version is also available for only around a dollar more, but be prepared to have to replace the seed more regularly with that one.

Product Details:

  • Style: Hanging, tube
  • Size: 15 x 5 x 5 inches
  • Material: Metal, plastic

Best Bird Feeder for Small Birds: Woodlink Caged 6-Port Seed Tube Feeder

bird feeders
lowes.com

Also available at Walmart.

Who it's for: People who don't mind spending a bit more for a good, squirrel-proof bird feeder that is built to last.

Who it isn't for: People who would like to attract larger birds to their garden.

The innovative design of this bird feeder makes it only suitable for feeding small or slender birds like finches, sparrows, chickadees, and woodpeckers. The protective cage that surrounds the tube feeder has small holes that are 1.5 inches big so only little birds can fit through—crows, starlings, pigeons, and squirrels stand no chance. Though it's a bit on the pricier side, this feeder is made from a sturdy die-cast steel that squirrels won't be able to chew through to reach the bird seed (this won't stop them from trying, however).

The cage is designed to keep little birds safe from predators when eating from the six feeding ports, and there is more than enough space for many little birds to move around. The unit comes fully assembled so all you have to do is hang it up and fill it with seeds via the easy slide-up lid. It's equally easy to clean, as the base simply pops out and the bottom is made of mesh so that seed husks can fall through and won't gather around the base.

Product Details:

  • Style: Hanging
  • Size: 11 x 11 x 16.5 inches
  • Material: Metal, plastic

Final Verdict

For nature lovers who want a versatile bird feeder, the Best Choice Products 4-Hook Bird Feeder Station is our recommendation. It comes with a tube feeder, a suet feeder, a seed tray, and a water tray that doubles up as a bird bath, plus it comes with all the hardware needed to set it up. It features a durable build and a reasonable price point, and it has two extra hooks so you can add more bird feeders down the line as well.

How to Shop for Bird Feeders Like a Pro

Bird Species

If you want to attract a certain type of bird into your garden, you should opt for the best type of bird feeder for that particular species. For example, sparrows and finches love tube and hopper feeders, whereas birds like starlings, nuthatches, and woodpeckers are attracted to suet feeders. If you opt for a ground bird feeder, you can expect blue jays, cardinals, and grosbeaks. For hummingbirds, however, specially designed nectar feeders are necessary for them to be able to access the feed (not seeds, only nectar).

Type

Platform: A platform or tray feeder is a hanging style that features a hanging tray for birds to rest on. This type attracts the largest variety of birds, but is also the least protectant against the elements, squirrels, and chipmunks. This type of feeder will also need to be cleaned frequently, even if it has a mesh bottom for rain drainage. A feeder like this is probably best for dry, warm climates.

Tube: This is a great type of feeder for attracting lots of smaller birds, like sparrows or chickadees. It's also weather-proof (and mostly critter-proof) since the seeds are completely housed behind a glass or shatterproof plastic tube. Because the seeds are stacked on top of each other, be sure to clean the feeder often, as the bottom layer can be prone to bacteria and mold.

Hopper: Also known as a "house" bird feeder, a hopper feeder holds the seeds inside a house-shaped receptacle, allowing birds to perch on the sides to feed. Like the tube bird feeder, this type will need to be cleaned frequently to resist mold and seed damage. Some hopper feeders also feature a suet, which is a mesh bottom that birds hang upside down from to feed on.

Mounting Style

Hanging: To hang your bird feeder from trees or decks, you'll need to attach a bracket or a pole with mounting hardware such as railing clamp mounts, screw mounts, or baluster mounts.

Stand: These are freestanding styles that usually house the bird feeder on top of a stand with a heavy base that will ensure the feeder doesn't tip over or get blown away in the wind.

Window: These feeders attach to a window via strong suction pads or adhesive stickers. The glass needs to be thoroughly clean and dry before affixing the feeder to ensure it will stick and stay put.

Food Type

There are different types of bird food specific to each bird species, depending on what type of bird you want to attract to your garden. In addition, some birds even like a bit of salad, like grated carrot. However, not all birds are able to eat this so Staab advises sticking to a general bird mix that is suitable for all birds. Black oil sunflower seed is widely considered the best type of feed for all birds, and it attracts the widest variety as well. This seed has a very thin shell so it's easy for nearly all birds to open.

If you'd rather not have to clean up seed husks, you can opt for shelled seeds, although these are more expensive and will attract insects and squirrels too. It also spoils much quicker than the in-the-shell variety, so you'll only want to put out a day or two's worth of feed at a time. For hummingbirds, you'll have to buy nectar, but a more affordable option is making some yourself by mixing a 1:4 ratio of refined white sugar and water (i.e., quarter-cup sugar in 1-cup water), bringing the solution to a boil, and letting it cool before filling your hummingbird feeder.

Questions You Might Ask

How do you clean a bird feeder?

"Cleaning the husks out of the bird feeder every one or two days is important so that you can also check the food level and that ants or other insects haven't taken it over," says Staab. In addition to briefly checking the feeder regularly throughout the week, Staab advises a thorough clean every two weeks. "You'll want to tip all the feed out and replace it with fresh feed," she says. Veterinary disinfectants are available to buy that can kill off bugs and germs, but you must ensure that they are bird-safe. At the farm, Staab cleans out the aviary bird feeders every 1-2 weeks with an animal-friendly spray and wipes them down with a sponge.

How do birds find bird feeders?

"Birds are nosy little things," says Staab. "They tend to sit in trees and look around or venture off and see what they can find." Since they don't have a strong sense of smell, birds rely on their sight to find food, so a bird feeder with clearly visible feed is necessary. "As soon as they find a bird feeder that they enjoy and that they can get adequate food from, they will remember where it is and keep going back to the same one," says Staab.

How do you keep ants out of bird feeders?

"Unless you have a hanging bird feeder, you'll not only get ants, but also slugs and other insects," Staab says. "Ground feeders and ones with stands are quite hard to manage in this aspect." In fact, ants are so crafty, they can often find their way to a hanging bird feeder, so you'll need to opt for different tactics like purchasing an ant moat or hanging the feeder on a fishing line which can be difficult and rather slippery for ants to get across.

The best way to deter ants from your bird feeder is to use a light insecticide called Permethrin. It isn't harmful to birds or other animals and doesn't actually kill the ants, but puts them off going in the direction of the insecticide. Bay leaves and mint leaves are also known to be natural ant deterrents, as are cayenne pepper, lemon juice, and vinegar. "Keeping the bird feeder clean, as well as the area around and under it, will greatly contribute to keeping ants and other insects away," Staab advises.

Where should you hang a bird feeder?

"Hanging a bird feeder in a tree from a branch is the best place for it as it's more in line with the birds' natural environment, is a little hidden away, and will make them feel safe from predators," says Staab. A squirrel-safe feeder is important if you plan to hang it from a tree, as your feeder will be easily accessible to the furry little rodents. If you don't have a tree in your garden, you can hang it from anywhere sturdy but try to avoid open or noisy areas that could make the birds feel unsafe. You also want to make sure that the bird feeder is out of the reach of cats.

Take Our Word for It

This article was written by Kat de Naoum, who has over 10 years of commerce-writing experience. Kat is also the Commerce Editor-at-Large at Thomas-Xometry, the leading US online platform for supplier discovery and product sourcing. For this article, Kat reviewed and tested multiple bird feeders, spoke to Kate Staab, the Livestock Supervisor at Marsh Farm in Essex, England, and researched and considered factors such as each bird feeder's size, material, style, and how easy it is to clean.

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