The 15 BEST Bird Feeders In MY Backyard! (2023)
Trying to find the BEST bird feeders is challenging.
Seriously, there are SO MANY options! With dozens of companies making thousands of unique bird feeders, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and give up. And since it’s impossible to rate, review, and test all the possible feeders for sale, I thought it would be easiest to show you what I use.
So today, I’m sharing the BEST bird feeders in my backyard!
You can even see the bird feeders I’m using RIGHT NOW. Just press PLAY below and watch the LIVE camera that streams my feeding station! I’m always rotating feeders, depending on the season or the birds’ preference, so you never know which of my favorites you will see. 🙂
15 Best Bird Feeders:
- I have also included six questions to ask yourself before buying your next bird feeder, which you can find at the end of the article.
#1. Absolute II Bird Feeder
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This large hopper bird feeder is the centerpiece of my backyard feeding area. It is where I normally put my general birdseed mix (sunflower, peanut pieces, safflower, and white millet) that is designed to attract as many species as possible.
My Absolute II is hanging from a pole, but it can also be mounted. Make sure to use a heavy-duty bird feeding pole. This feeder holds up to 12 pounds (5.4 kg) of seed and is heavy when full!
I love that it is quick to refill as the top lid unlatches easily to open. In addition, the seed is protected from rain. I have had no problems with mold or seed clumping due to moisture or dampness.
Check out the Absolute II in action!
In this video, you can watch multiple Northern Cardinals feeding on the perches.
This feeder is also effective at preventing squirrels!
The perches collapse if too much weight is put on them! Press PLAY below to see how this feature works. 🙂
#2. Aspects Tube Bird Feeder
It’s hard to go wrong with this feeder. It’s made by Aspects, whose products are always high quality, made in the United States, and backed by their Lifetime Warranty. You will pay more for an Aspects bird feeder, but it’s worth the extra cost. I have talked to many people whose Aspects feeders are over 20 years old and still work great!
The BEST part about these tube feeders is that they are EASY to clean! The base comes right out by just pushing two buttons, which makes cleaning super convenient. Honestly, I refuse to use a tube feeder anymore that doesn’t have a quick clean base.
This tube feeder style comes in THREE sizes:
I own all of them, so it’s hard to pick my favorite. Each size serves a different purpose in my backyard. The “Medium” size would probably be best for most feeding stations. (Click on the links below to see the current price)
- Large: 20 inches long, six feeding ports, and a feeding capacity of 1.75 quarts.
- Medium: 16 inches long, four feeding ports, and a feeding capacity of 1.25 quarts.
- Small: 12.5 inches long, two feeding ports, and a feeding capacity of .75 quarts.
One thing to know about tube feeders is that many larger birds have problems fitting on the small perch and then turning their bodies to the feeding port. If you want to offer these bigger species a place to eat, attaching a tray to the bottom of the tube feeder is easy.
Here are two different-sized trays, which both fit on the Aspect tube feeders above:
- 8.5-inch Seed Tray (pictured above)
#3. Audubon Caged Tube Feeder
Buying a caged bird feeder is the BEST way to make sure that small birds have a private place to eat.
These feeders work by wrapping a metal cage around a classic tube feeder, which prevents larger birds AND squirrels from fitting inside. My American Goldfinches and Black-capped Chickadees especially like using this feeder.
My biggest recommendation is to give your birds time to find it and learn how to get inside. I almost gave up on it after a few days because no birds were using it, but once they discovered the delicious sunflower kernels inside the cage, this feeder is now used daily!
As hard as they may try, squirrels, grackles, and starlings can only look at the delicious food inside!
So what’s not to like?
Please know that medium-sized birds, such as Northern Cardinals and Blue Jays, will not be able to use this feeder. The metal cage works incredibly well at keeping birds out except the very smallest. The species that I have observed so far inside the cage include goldfinches, chickadees, finches, sparrows, and small woodpeckers (like the Downy Woodpecker).
#4. Perky Pet Wire Mesh NYJER Seed Feeder
This bird feeder is my favorite for goldfinches!
The feeder is constructed of a fine metal mesh, and the openings for the seeds to fit through are small. It is specially designed ONLY to distribute Nyjer seeds, which are tiny and black and commonly called “thistle.” And in case you weren’t aware, GOLDFINCHES LOVE EATING NYJER SEED. It’s a lot of fun to watch my goldfinches cling all over the sides to get at the seed. I have counted as many as nine eating at once!
Here are some other reasons I like this bird feeder:
- The feeder discriminates against the majority of birds. Most species either don’t enjoy eating Nyjer seed or can’t fit their beak through the small opening. The only birds I’ve seen eating from it are goldfinches, house sparrows, house finches, and chickadees.
- It’s made entirely of metal, which makes it sturdy and resistant to squirrels (and other critters).
- In the pictures above, you will notice two internal baffles inside the mesh tube. This feature helps to distribute the seed evenly throughout the feeder and provides a larger surface area for finches to feed.
- It is super easy to clean! The top and base twist right off.
- There are tiny holes drilled into the bottom tray to help with drainage. The seeds will get wet when it rains due to the open design, but it dries quickly. Make sure to replace any uneaten seed after about two weeks (depending on the weather).
#5. Woodlink 3 in 1 Tray Feeder
This tray feeder is an excellent multi-purpose platform and one of the best bird feeders in my yard. Just spread a mixture of foods and watch the birds and mammals come. My favorite foods for this feeder are peanuts, sunflower seeds, corn, suet nuggets, and mealworms.
- The tray can be used in THREE ways. It can be placed on the ground, hung with a wire, or mounted to a pole. Currently, I have this feeder sitting on the ground underneath my feeders. This location provides food for ground birds, squirrels, opossums, and rabbits. Press PLAY below to watch this tray feeder in action LIVE.
I also have it mounted to my feeder pole to give birds a large area to land and feed!
- The metal screen bottom provides excellent drainage. So your food will never be sitting in standing water. The screen bottom is also removable and slides right out. This feature makes it easy to clean!
- It’s big and can support multiple birds at one time when it’s hanging in the air. (16.4 x 13.2 x 2.4 inches)
Tray feeders cater to the instincts of many birds. For example, certain birds enjoy having lots of space to hop around to eat their food, which a tray feeder provides. The platform also gives lots of visibility for birds to watch for predators, so they feel safer while eating.
#6. Brome Squirrel Buster Plus
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The Brome Squirrel Buster Plus is one of the BEST bird feeders that DON’T let squirrels eat!
It’s weight-sensitive, allowing birds to feed, but it instantly closes with the weight of a squirrel. It features six seed ports, holds about 5 lbs (2.3 kg) of seed, and has one continuous perch around the entire base.
Another thing that I like is that you can adjust the feeding ports to different weight sensitivities. This feature comes in handy if flocks of European Starlings or other large birds are taking over your feeding station. If too many of these birds land on the perch, then it will close access to the food inside.
Here’s a great video of the Squirrel Buster Plus in action!
#7. Netvue Birdfy Feeder Camera
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Have you ever wanted to put a camera next to your feeders to watch the birds up close?
Well, by using this bird feeder, this has never been easier! Netvue was the first company to manufacture an “out of the box” bird feeder with a camera built into the design! The camera is 1080p, giving incredibly clear video and pictures of the visiting birds!
What’s neat about the Birdfy Feeder Camera is that you can watch the birds from your phone! The app makes it easy to record or capture interesting moments that can be shared quickly and easily. In addition, you can set up notifications to be alerted every time a bird comes to the feeder, although this can get annoying quickly if you have a high-traffic feeding station. Also, please note that the bird feeder must be close enough to your house to connect to your Wifi to work.
Although the bird feeder camera is not squirrel-proof, the Birdfy Feeder has an interesting way of discouraging squirrels. The Netvue app and the camera have two-way audio, so if you see a squirrel on the feeder, you can yell at it to go away or set off a built-in siren. 🙂
One negative to this style of bird feeder camera is that you have to recharge the batteries in the camera. During the cold winter months, my feeder lasts about 3 weeks before I have to recharge the batteries, and it lasts a bit longer than that in summer. But Netvue also provides the option to buy a small solar panel, which continuously charges the battery for you (I have not tried the solar panel yet).
- Learn more about the Netvue Birdfy Feeder Camera HERE! (Use Coupon Code BWHQ850 to save 10%!)
#8. Droll Yankees Tray Feeder
- This feeder is versatile and has many purposes in my backyard. Northern Cardinals love it because it provides them with a big, open area to land and feed. In addition, the large tray gives them plenty of space to feel comfortable.
- The dome over the feeding tray helps to keep rain and snow off the seed. And the water that does get onto the seeds will drain away through the small holes in the tray.
- This feeder is constructed of sturdy and durable polycarbonate plastic. It is very tough, sturdy, and resistant to cracking or breaking. No worries if this accidentally falls to the ground.
- It is made by Droll Yankees, who have a fantastic reputation for quality bird products. Made in America (as are all their products!) and backed by their Lifetime Warranty, which covers any defective part or damage caused by squirrels.
- Since it is made from clear plastic, this cardinal bird feeder is not the most decorative or aesthetically pleasing in my yard. However, this is not something that I care about because it works well. Our family calls it the “UFO Feeder” for obvious reasons. 🙂
- The plastic tray doesn’t hold much food. I have to refill this feeder daily.
#9. Aspects HummZinger Nectar Feeder
Hummingbird feeders are easily the most popular style of bird feeders.
Seriously, it’s hard to find someone that doesn’t enjoy having these little avian beauties flying around their yard! To attract hummingbirds, you don’t use seeds like other birds. Instead, you must offer SUGAR WATER, which mimics the nectar that hummingbirds naturally drink from flowers. While you can buy countless hummingbird feeders, the HummZinger is my favorite!
- First, the Hummzinger has a simple dish design, which means that the sugar water sits in the glass dish BELOW the feeding ports. This design makes cleaning the feeder incredibly easy since there are no hard-to-reach areas inside a skinny bottle. Another benefit of dish-style hummingbird feeders is they DON’T LEAK!
- This 12 oz model has four feeding ports. The HummZinger also comes in a 16 oz model with six feeding ports if you want a larger option.
- There is a built-in ant moat, which is very effective at preventing these insects from accessing the nectar. Just make sure to remember to fill it with water. (Speaking from experience 🙂 )
This product is definitely one of the BEST hummingbird feeders on the market. It’s a bit more expensive than other options, but it’s worth the extra cost. You should have no hassle or frustration with cleaning or leaking nectar. It just works!
Before buying a hummingbird feeder, you need to realize that feeding hummingbirds can be quite a commitment. You must change the sugar water frequently or risk getting your hummingbirds sick!
#10. Double Fruit Oriole Feeder
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This bright orange feeder is one of the best feeders for attracting orioles!
Orioles are bright orange birds that are incredibly beautiful and amazing to see visiting feeders. The problem is that they don’t eat normal feeder foods, like peanuts and sunflower seeds. Interestingly, the best way to attract orioles is to use oranges and jelly. And luckily, the Double Fruit Oriole Feeder is perfect for these two foods. 🙂
- First, You can see that it holds two orange halves on each side on the permanently mounted fruit stakes.
- Second, the glass dish can be filled with grape jelly, which orioles can’t resist.
Check out this oriole bird feeder in action in my yard!
In the above video, you can watch a male Baltimore Oriole feasting on grape jelly in my backyard! The fact that this feeder is completely orange helps attract the interest of orioles passing by.
I like that this feeder is tall and skinny, so it doesn’t take up much room hanging from my feeding station. In addition, it’s made from recycled poly lumber and is guaranteed never to crack, split, or fade!
Just remember that orioles typically will only eat oranges in the spring and fall. During the summer, their diet switches to insects that provide protein for breeding and raising their young. Luckily, the glass cup gives a perfect place to offer mealworms once they switch foods.
#11. Suet Cage
Having a feeder dedicated to offering suet is an excellent addition to any backyard. Suet provides birds with a huge energy boost and is especially crucial in the cold winter months. They are also great if you want to attract woodpeckers!
If you’re looking for a suet feeder that works and doesn’t cost much money, then this one (or any similar cage feeder) is a great choice. Birds can cling to the metal sides and slowly eat the suet. Once it’s gone, the feeder unlatches easily to place another suet cake inside.
Even giant Pileated Woodpeckers enjoy using this suet feeder!
#12. Stokes Select Caged Suet Feeder
Offering suet at your feeding station is a great thing to do. The only problem is that at certain times of the year, European Starlings will GO CRAZY over suet. Seriously, I have had dozens of birds swarming around my suet feeders, eating an entire suet cake in less than an hour.
This caged feeder is a great solution if starlings, squirrels, raccoons, or other critters won’t leave your suet alone! They can’t fit their bodies through the outer cage to get to the suet.
- This feeder has a two-cake capacity, meaning there will be plenty of suet for all the small birds that need a bite! Make sure to have patience, as your birds need time to figure out they must go inside the cage to eat.
- Its all-metal design and screw-top lid make it a great low-maintenance choice for a suet feeder.
- You might notice one or two determined starlings stretching their neck to get a small bit of food. But don’t worry; this feeder will prevent flocks of starlings all showing up and once and decimating the suet within an hour!
One drawback to using this feeder is that only smaller woodpeckers, like Downy Woodpeckers, can fit inside. Most larger woodpeckers won’t be able to get to the suet.
#13. Droll Yankees Metal Mesh Feeder
The first thing you need to know about this metal mesh feeder is that you will need to fill it up with suet nuggets or peanuts.
Since there are no perches, the only way for a bird to eat is to cling to the metal mesh. The birds I see most often using this feeder are woodpeckers, chickadees, jays, and starlings.
The food that is put inside this feeder typically lasts a long time. This is because birds can access the food, but they can’t devour it quickly since they are forced to take a little chunk at a time.
Also, the feeder discriminates against some bird species that either can’t cling (Mourning Doves) or don’t have a bill that can fit in between the metal mesh (Northern Cardinals).
Below is a short video of a Red-bellied Woodpecker using this feeder!
#14. Acrylic Window Bird Feeder
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Putting up a window bird feeder outside our kitchen was one of my best decisions. My kids love watching the birds up close, and anyone that visits is immediately attracted to the back windows to see the action. If I am quiet, I can easily get next to the window to observe each bird’s beautiful plumage or feeding habits.
This window bird feeder consistently has birds feeding on it and works as advertised. There is a removable tray that sits inside the plastic housing that suctions to your window, which makes it easy to refill the seed and clean.
It’s big enough to fit 4 or 5 birds at once easily. Most birds use the perches, but a few species (House Finches, for example) tend to sit right on top of all the seeds to eat and relax.
And don’t worry. The FOUR suction cups do a great job of keeping the feeder attached. I have NEVER had it fall from my window.
*If you have never used a window bird feeder before, PLEASE BE PATIENT! It can take the birds a while to find the new location and feel comfortable enough coming that close to your home.
#15. Perky-Pet Metal Tube Bird Feeder
This blue tube feeder was the first bird feeder that I ever purchased! I bought it more than 10 years ago, mostly because it was cheap (around $15), and it still is!
I’m happy to report that it still hangs in my backyard today. Most days, it can be seen on a window hook outside our kitchen window and serves as an excellent window bird feeder. As you can see in the picture above, goldfinches love visiting daily to eat sunflower kernels.
There are better overall tube feeders available, such as the Aspect ones above (#2), but this one has too much sentimental value not to be included on my list. Plus, it’s inexpensive and works well. I have never once dealt with moisture inside. It’s also easy to open and clean. My only complaint is that since the feeder is not transparent, I can’t check the seed level without opening the top and looking inside.
7 Questions to Ask Before Buying a New Bird Feeder
It’s worth considering the following questions before purchasing a new bird feeder. These are the features that I have found valuable in the feeders I own. This list is not all-inclusive, so please give me some more ideas in the comments section below.
What species of birds do you want to feed and attract?
Please give this question some serious thought. Do you want to see the widest variety of species possible? Are you hoping to see lots of colorful goldfinches? Do you love watching woodpeckers? Once you are clear on your birding goals, it will help narrow down the best bird feeders for you.
Is the feeder easy to clean?
Trust me; you will appreciate an easy-to-clean bird feeder!
Can water drain easily?
It rains. It snows. Nothing ruins birdseed faster than sitting in water.
Can I see the amount of food from a distance?
I like to check food levels from the comfort of my own home, especially during the cold winter months. I don’t want my feeders sitting empty for long!
How easy is the bird feeder to fill?
This question doesn’t seem relevant until it’s incredibly cold and you just want to get back inside. My preference is that I can easily unhinge a lid WITH my gloves on.
Is the feeder well constructed?
No one likes cheap stuff. So spend a few more dollars and get a sturdy bird feeder.
Which company manufactures the feeder?
Many companies have been in business for a long time and have excellent reputations for making high-quality bird feeders. Therefore, these companies are my preference! Also, check out any warranties that are offered.
What is the best bird feeder in your backyard?
Or, put another way, if you could only keep one feeder, which one would it be and why?
Thanks again for reading. Happy backyard birding!
The birds in my yard go nuts for Pine Tree Farms 12oz Peanut Butter Suet Cake. I no longer have japanese beetles because the birds eat them, and since I have a ton of roses and raspberries I can really see the difference. I use the Brome 2 sided bird feeder and some days I have to replace the two cakes twice a week.
All my feeders are made by Brome. They are guaranteed for life. Not cheap, but fantastic. I have four, the suet feeder, two for black oil sunflower seed that were a two for one special (a major hit) and a mixed seed one. The suet feeder and general seed feeder are hanging from a sour cherry tree that is next to 4 double file viburnums. They fly from one to the other. The two feeders in which I have black oil sunflower seeds are on shepherd’s hooks with baffles under them.
I have lots of squirrels and chipmunks but they can’t negotiate the feeders with baffles or of course the other two, but they party on the seed that falls to the ground.
Droll Yankees Tray Feeder
– does not hold up in the wind, easily broken.
Woodlink 3 in 1 Tray Feeder
– any kind of hanging platform feeder gets taken over by pigeons. This would include platform feeders that are much too small for pigeons. Any kind of feeder on the ground will be quickly emptied by squirrels.
– birds only like homemade suet. The birds never eat any suet cake I buy from a store, even the most expensive stuff. The one exception is pigeons. If I take the cake, and put it on the ground, the pigeons will eat it.
Audubon Caged Tube Feeder
– I don’t want to watch birds in a cage
Which birdfeeder would you recommend that dispenses food as slowly as possible? My dad’s in a nursing home and I’m wanting to find the best birdfeeder that won’t run out of food super quickly.
Good information. I will look into the Woodlink-Absolute ll. Thanks.
I’d love to see a picture! This is a fantastic idea! I have a feeder my birds love but I hate because the rain ruins the seeds…also hard to clean.
As far as caged tube feeders, I have found the Woodlink (copper) to be the best. It has an 11″ diameter instead of the 8-9″ that most are. It also has a cage bottom so there is not the accumulation of feed on the bottom the larger birds can get to. The smaller diameter do not keep the feed safe from cowbird or red winged blackbirds which are a problem in my area. They just hang on the outside and stick there heads through to grids. With the larger diameter, they can’t reach the food by sticking their heads in. I also have the Woodlink Absolute II which became a hit within 2 days of installing.
Consider the Wingscapes AutoFeeder™. What is an AutoFeeder? It is an automatic bird feeder, featuring a battery-powered, time-release system that allows you to program not only the amount of seed released, but also the time of day that you would like to see birds visit your backyard feeder.
ThNk you Mary. What kind of tube feeder do you use?
I mix dried mealworms in with my regular seed. The bluebirds will eat them from the tube feeders. I also found a special bluebird feeder at our co-op with a rubber opening and small perches. They love it.
I have several wonderful Brome products but the Squirrel Buster Suet may be my favorite. The other day I watched a frustrated squirrel try to get the suet, and the unit closed. He tried several times. I love this feeder because it is two-sided, and very easy to fill and clean. During the year woodpeckers in particular love it, but now that the weather is really awful birds of all sizes come to it, and because it is two sided, they can share suet, and sometimes I will have large and small birds on it simultaneously. And, OK, this is absurd, its really attractive.
Thoughts on how to put out dried mealworms for the bluebirds without having starlings dominate the feeder? I like the idea of the “size exclusion” mesh and could make my own, but what size opening would allow bluebirds and not starlings?
If you can’t dissemble the feeder to wash it thoroughly, every couple weeks, then it’s not a qualified candidate on my selection list. Droll Yankee (#3) failed that test after the lack of washing inner niches left a residue of moldy seed that birds avoided.
Some of these, such as the “Woodlink Hopper Bird Feeder” are a nightmare in terms of cleaning. I have the Woodlink Hopper Bird Feeder and it gets really disgusting in the bottom part. I soak it in a large enzyme bath, but the design is poor.
Any thoughts on how to put out dried mealworms for the bluebirds and Carolina wrens without having starlings dominate the feeder? I like the idea of the “size exclusion” mesh and could make my own, but what size opening would allow bluebirds and not starlings?
Hey Scott, you really go all out to feed our little feathered friends. I have one of the tube feeders that works quite well . I had to drill a small hole in the bottom support piece and hooked an aluminum pie plate under it to catch all the seed that the little guys throw all over. It’s surprising how much ends up in that tray. I also have some very inexpensive “drop tray” type feeders that I’ve built covers for so as to keep the seed dry, and have them in an enclosure with a large tray under to catch seed. Trying to prevent rats. Have to diligent re: cleaning tray , as seed there gets wet and sprouts if left too long. Recent “salmonella” scare, which was killing some birds, so am being extra careful . I also have a suet hanger out there. Regards , John Turner
I have 2 squirrel-proof tube feeders that work well for small birds but the cardinals and blue jays are too large to use it. The squirrels are still getting some seeds but not easily. They and the big birds browse under the feeders. I’ve been putting out peanuts for the squirrels and the blue jays love them. I read on one of your posted articles about putting pepper on the bird seeds. It’s not supposed to hurt the birds but squirrels apparently don’t like it and stay away. So I filled a tray with seeds and peanuts, (provided another source of peanuts for the squirrels,) added cayenne pepper and pepper seeds. My local squirrels love pepper. Not only were they sitting in the tray feasting but they tipped it over. Any ideas why this didn’t work? I can’t really afford those nice poles and baffles but do want to feed all of the birds, especially during winter.
Thank you for this article! I bought the medium sized Droll Yankee Tube Feeder after reading this and think I should have sprung for the largest. The birds love this feeder! I should also thank you for your live webcam. It is a peaceful haven in the most unusual and chaotic year. This winter I bought some sturdy, clear plastic salad bowls (https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B07NKPKNSS/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1) for roofs over my bird feeders. They give some protection for the birds during stormy weather and keep the seed a little drier. I just dremeled a custom slot across the “bottom” of each bowl to fit over the different sized hangers. I wrote a 5 star “salad bowl review” on Amazon but wasn’t sure how many bird lovers would see it. I would love to share a couple of pictures of how they are working out.
i would not put Vaseline on anything because if it melts, it can drip on birds’ feathers and damage their waterproof coating! Not good!!
Hi, I live in Ohio too and really love your bird site. It is very informative and you really did justice for the birds. I too love feeding birds and love to watch them come to my yard. Thank you so much for sharing all you know.
Judy in Medina
You should be fine with regular store bought/homemade suet, although you can use no melt if it gets up in the 90s. I live down in Tacoma and the worst my suet has melted is only enough to make your hands a little slippery.
do you need to use no melt suet in the summer or is regular suet fine in vancouver?
I was wondering how to keep the pigeons off the tube feeders I have. I have mesh trays under the feeders so the sunflower chips don’t get on the ground, we had a couple of rats! The pigeons land on the trays and get the droppings and try to get at the openings. Any ideas? I have considered feeding them some where else in my yard. Thanks
Thanks for the great article! I live in Vancouver, British Columbia, in the city, and enjoy backyard birding very much. I have been bird feeding for a number of years and have slow built up a number of bird feeders. In my backyard I now have 18 bird feeders. They are positioned on a number of poles. The setup changes through the year but this is how it is now. Through-out the year I try to create a setup that stops the squirrels and crows. I do not get House Sparrows, Starlings or an appreciable number of blackbirds.
On one pole I have four caged feeders. One has a gelatin bound seed cylinder in a cage. Another feeder on this pole has dried mealworms. Also on this pole I have I have caged suet cakes. Lastly on this pole I have a caged tube feeder in which I place hulled sunflower chips.
On another pole have a squirrel proof suet feeder with a weight activated mechanism to protect the suet. I generally put regular fatty suet cakes in this feeder or a suet, peanut butter and corn mix into this feeder. I also have a peanut feeder on this pole that has a weight activated mechanism to stop the squirrels. I put suet nuggets in it.
Another pole I have has a very large pole mounted hopper on top and hanging below it are two hanging trays and one small tube feeder. This pole has a baffle below the feeders. The hopper has black oil sunflower in it. The two trays have mixed seed. The small tube feeder has sunflower chips.
On another pole I have three feeders. Two of the feeders are tray feeders with a cage. One of the feeders has shelled peanuts and the other tray feeder has mixed seed. The third feeder on this pole has a weight activated squirrel proof mechanism. In this feeder I put hulled sunflower. On this pole there is squirrel baffle but the cages and the squirrel proof mechanism is really to stop the crows.
I have another pole with two nyger feeders. Both have yellow accents to draw in the goldfinches. One is a mesh feeder and the other has perches.
One more pole has two more feeders. One is a small tube feeder with a tray in which I run hot pepper bird seed. And the other feeder is designed for clinging birds and again I put hot pepper bird seed in it.
Finally I have a hummingbird feeder on a pole.
It rains more than you can believe here in the Pacific Northwest so many of my feeders have roofs.
Thanks for the info. To answer your questions, if I could only keep one of my feeds, it would be the lifetime warranty tube feeder that is indestructible. It’s at least 20 years old and no markings as to manufacturer, but everything from finches to red bellied woodpeckers keep it busy. Currently I have 7 hanging feeders plus I ground feed scratch and seed for crows, etc.
I am thinking of putting in a 4×4 inch pole with a gazebo type feeder on top. It has a plastic cylinder in the center. Roof comes off so it is easy to fill, good construction, but I don’t know if this type of feeder is practical and if cardinals will like it. Have you tried one?
Judy, I don’t have any experience with those types of feeders, but my guess would be that cardinals will like it. They seem to have a big open area to eat if I’m picturing it correctly.
I read you can put a ring of Vaseline on the pole that holds the feeder and it would stop ants from getting to the bird feed – it works! I just refresh it several times/ yr. (Plenty of ants in N.C., too. )
Scott, thanks for the great list. How do you keep the ants out of the Oriole feeder? I am in South Florida and we always had Baltimore Orioles around when I was a kids, trying to attract them to my yard has proven futile thus far.
central iowa now using hopper feeder home made-platform feeder old plastic garbage can lid-ear corn in jar also on platform on tree,peanut butter mixed with bird seed on tree.small cover feeder. mesh plastic covered wire for finch feed.hanging suet feeder.all work good. favorite is platform feeder.
I have one. Didn’t take the squirrels any time at all to figure out how not to step on the bar and emptied it out onto the ground within a day. Simply hanging it on a tree doesn’t work.
I never knew that the type of bird feeders that we place in our backyard actually plays a role in attracting certain species of birds. My younger children developed an interest in birding, so I am positive that a bird feeder that attracts a variety of species will be best. I am going to do some research and see if the option is available in animal-themed seeing how it is for my younger children.
I probably have purchased thirty-five feeders trying to find the perfect one. There is no such thing of course because of the different birds I like to feed and the types of feed I use. One of my faves that you didn’t mention is the Roller Feeder (rollerfeeder.com). I have two and they are in constant use. They are squirrel proof, weather proof, and larger bird proof. Absolutely love them.
I have several feeders in my yard. Two of them are in my front yard and one is in my back yard. The first is a post mount hopper feeder with plexi-glass so I can see the seed. The other two are home-made tube-feeders using 1/4″ screen, large mason jar rings, 8″ pot lids and metal pie pans. The birds just love all three feeders.
It takes time for them to learn. And if there’s an easier way for them to get to the seed, they’ll eat that. Mine became more used when the number of birds went up. The goldfinches like the small holed feeder.
We currently have a hanging feeder, a window feeder that we made (it’s nailed to the outside sill instead of suctioned to the window), four seasonal Hummingbird feeders (including one that suctions to the window and is exceptionally interesting to observe), two suet cages and a homemade platform feeder on the ground for the wrens, mourning doves and other birds who prefer to eat down there. We have our window feeder, hanging feeder, two hummingbird feeders and a suet cage all outside our second story windows because that’s where we spend a lot of time. A little inconvenient to fill the hanging feeder, but the birds seem to like being up in the trees where many of the feral cats around here can’t easily access them, also the cover of the treetops seems to make them feel secure by providing them a good view of the area.
If I could only keep one of these feeders, I’d opt for my homemade window feeder because I like the variety of birds that visit and that I’m able to photograph and observe very closely with this one. I would have to plant mass quantities of flowers in the area though, so that the hummingbirds would still visit me since I chose not to keep their feeders in the scenario where I could only keep one. Thankfully that’s just a hypothetical question posed to promote interesting conversations and/or comments!
Thanks for your great article sharing your feeder experiences and research. I found it informative, well written, and interesting.
I like your feeder set-up. I put out at least 6 different kinds of feeders beginning now (November) thru March. I have a 2.5 acre yard and MANY critters. I can “squirrle-deter” most feeders, but they learn quick. Unfortunately, I have many raccoons that love bird seed. I finally learned to use heavy-duty wire and clips to prevent them from ripping off feeders at night. I throw unshelled peanuts on ground in winter, and the Jays & crows go bonkers.
I like the global feeders that can close when larger Birds or animals get on the feeders
Thank you for a very informative article. My husband and I are just beginning to add to our feeder area, so this gives us a lot choices to ponder over. Do the ground boxes have a solid bottom or have holes to allow rain to filter through? I really enjoyed watching the reactions of the birds and the squirrel to the skunk. They were extremely cautious in approaching to get food. HAHA!
Hey Melissa! yes, it’s a screen bottom so the water goes right through!
My backyard is about 45×55 minus approx 1/4 for a room addition and deck. Currently I have a covered platform feeder hanging from the trunk of a maple tree. On a large lower branch I have another small platform feeder, uncovered. I have these filled with a combination bushy tail mix for the squirrels and chipmunks (and raccoons, possum, whatever else is out there at night) and a patio/deck mix that contains no shell. Next to it I have a 15″ screen thistle feeder filled with nijer and sunflower hearts. Woodpeckers as well as finches love this so I recommend if you have a finch feeder you have metal reinforced ports or the woodeckers will make sure you have more hole than feeder. Beside it I have a screened feeder holding a soft shelled safflower seed. Wow!! I knew when the finches came back!!Next to that Is a hopper filled with whole mixed nuts (from a bird food company) that are currently too big to easily get out of the hopper so I may switch to a cardinal blend. It also has a suet feeder on each side usually filled with peanut suet. Finally, sitting on a pole, is a covered platform feeder that is adjustable. I recently put it in so I’m not sure anyone besides a few sparrows know that it’s there. I have the too chunky mixed nuts in there along with some patio/deck mix.
There are many feeders out there I’d like to try I’m considering putting up some more. Throughout the summer I’m gifted not by starlings or grackels but morning doves. (so stupid sometimes they’re entertaining.) I’m looking forward to seeing the cardinals and jays back. I get many woodpeckers, some of the “what the heck is that?” variety, chickadees, junco’s nuthatches, finches, wrens and an occasional guest star. I hope my neighbors will appreciate the splash of color on a snow filled day.
I have the Droll Yankees Njyer feeder you recommend (#5), but the finches where I live (New York) don’t seem to know how to use it. If I put seed in the catch tray, they eat that, but they haven’t learned to sit on the perches and pull seed from the holes. Any tips for encouraging/training them?
THE SCREEN FEEDERS IMO ARE DANGEROUS FOR BIRDS TO USE. ON 2 OCCASIONS IN FOUND ONE DEAD FINCH AND ONE NEAR DEATH BECAUSE THEIR FOOT/FEET NAILS GOT HUNG UP IN THE MESH. I ALSO HAD A LARGER BIRD, NOT SURE THE TYPE SNAGGED ON ONE BUT IT FREED ITSELF. THE FEEDERS I HAD ONLY BEEN USING FOR A FEW WEEKS WHEN THIS HAPPENED. VERY NICE SITE. LOTS OF GOOD INFO. THANK YOU
The live feeds are amazing! Thanks for sharing.
What is the peanut feeder that the woodpeckers are loving on the right of my screen? I didn’t see that one listed. 🙂
Looks like I need to update this article. 🙂 Here is a link to Amazon for the feeder – https://amzn.to/2XeBhO3
Loved all the well thought out information. Only thing missing was …. I was searching for input on best feeders for my free ranging peafowl. I WISH someone who loves peafowl would do an article like you did this one. Thank-you. Though none of these target my tall, independent, stand on the ground or a perch, my favorites, I may try one or two of your suggestions. Like the peanut wreath or ??? I’ll read this again and I’ll but through your link.
Thank you! Unfortunately, I do not have much experience with peafowl.
Which feeder is best for all types of birds that has rain protection, and also very importantly, a feature that keeps so many seeds from dropping to the ground below and sprouting?
I think the Absolute II would be perfect! It would fit all your requirements.
Is it possible for you to test a specific feeder? If so what is my next step?
Hey Jeff! Maybe, what feeder are you wondering about?