Your bird feeder pole system is the true unsung hero in your backyard.
It’s not sexy, glamorous, or exciting. It will never be the center of attention (even though it’s literally located at the center of your backyard feeding station).
It’s easy to show off your new squirrel proof bird feeder or brag about your fancy heated bird bath.
But your bird feeder pole? It is mostly ignored.
Bird Feeder Poles: Table of Contents
Related Reading: The 14 Best Bird Feeders For Your Backyard (2018)
It just sits there every day doing its job. Just like your health or a functioning toilet, you don’t appreciate your bird feeder pole until it’s not working correctly (e.g., leaning, bending, snapping, tipping over).
In my search for the best bird feeder poles, I have concluded there are lots of so-so poles, but not many great ones! This fact makes it hard to sort through all the options and determine which bird feeder pole systems are the best.
Today, I am going to give some tips and questions to ask before purchasing a bird feeder pole. Then I’m going to recommend two pole systems that should meet your feeding needs.
7 Tips When Purchasing Bird Feeder Poles
1. Check to see if the bird feeder pole is squirrel proof.
It’s hard to explain to someone that has never done battle with squirrels in their backyard just how smart, athletic, and daring they can be. Squirrels will do almost anything to reach the easy meals located in your feeders.
Hopefully, you are one of the lucky few that don’t have squirrels in your backyard. For the rest of us, it’s important to make sure that we choose a squirrel proof bird feeder pole.
To make a bird feeder pole inaccessible to squirrels, many have a squirrel baffle attached about midway up the pole.
There are a few different types of squirrel baffles. Two of the most popular styles can be viewed below:
Don’t panic if the bird feeder pole you find does not have a squirrel baffle already attached. Many manufacturers offer stand-alone products that can be connected to feeder poles to prevent squirrels (and raccoons) from climbing up. There are many options available, check them all out here.
Purchasing a quality squirrel proof bird feeder pole is going to cost more upfront than just buying a cheap shepherd’s hook to hang your feeders.
But in my opinion, you are going to save thousands of dollars by purchasing a quality pole system that prevents squirrels from reaching your feeders. Squirrels are very hungry rodents! If they can’t reach your feeders, then they can’t eat your precious bird seed, which saves you lots of money!
2. Is the bird feeder pole well-made and sturdy?
Your bird feeder pole is literally the center of your backyard bird feeding station. It is vital that you purchase a pole that can survive a brutal winter and support multiple heavy bird feeders.
One of the most problematic issues with inexpensive feeder poles is they tend to bend, lean, or even break over time. This problem compounds if you have larger feeders that get heavy when filled with seed.
Here are a few questions to ask before purchasing a bird feeder pole:
- How thick is it?
- What is it made from?
- How much weight can it hold?
- Is it weatherproofed against rust in any way?
- Does the company offer any guarantees/warranties against rust or breaking?
- What do the online reviews say? If the bird feeder pole is junk, someone will be willing to share their experience!
3. Do you like how the bird feeder pole looks?
As mentioned earlier, your bird feeder pole is the center of your backyard feeding station. It not only has to function well, but you need to like how it looks. Aesthetics are important!
4. How long will it take to assemble and install?
Ideally, your bird feeder pole system won’t have complicated instructions and should be in the ground and ready to go within an hour.
5. How many bird feeders can the pole system feature?
If you own four bird feeders, but your bird feeder pole only has two hooks, this creates a small problem. Make sure to take into consideration the maximum number of bird feeders that the pole system can handle.
Select a bird feeder pole system that can hang at least four feeders.
Feeding birds in an addictive hobby. I started with only a hopper feeder. That was so much fun that I added a tube feeder. And then a suet feeder, a platform feeder, a window feeder, etc.
Buying a larger bird feeder pole system allows yourself to grow into the hobby. Try to think about your future needs before spending your money. You don’t want that pole to become obsolete too quickly!
6. How is it supported underground?
Many people use inexpensive shepherds hooks to hang their feeders. These low-cost poles get pushed into the ground with your foot and don’t go deep in the soil. These shepherd hooks typically only hold 1-2 feeders. They also tend to bend, lean, or wobble (especially as your feeders get larger and heavier).
The best bird feeder pole systems have an auger at the bottom. This feature allows the pole to screw into the ground and provides an excellent anchor. The auger typically drives the pole 18-24 inches down into the ground and offers fantastic support!
7. Cost is important, but don’t buy the cheapest bird feeder pole you can find.
The two bird feeder pole systems that I recommend below are not cheap. Each one will cost well over $100, which is a lot of money compared to an inexpensive shepherd’s hook pole you can find on Amazon for $10.
Are you serious about feeding birds? If so, it’s better to bite the bullet now and buy a quality pole.
The benefits are numerous! You will have room to grow into your bird feeding hobby; your pole won’t blow over in the wind, it will support heavy feeders filled with lots of seed, AND look much classier in your backyard.
My Two Favorite Bird Feeder Pole Systems
The Squirrel Stopper is very popular and consistently gets great reviews from its users. In full disclosure, I own this squirrel proof bird feeder pole. It’s actually feeding the birds in my backyard at this very moment.
Here is what I like about this pole system:
- As the name implies, the Squirrel Stopper is one of the best squirrel proof bird feeder poles around. To accomplish the almost impossible feat of stopping squirrels, a spring loaded baffle is attached to the pole. This means that it can move up, down, and side to side. My squirrels can’t get past the baffle!
- It can hold up to 8 bird feeders (or hanging plants) from the upper cross tubes. How many feeders you can fit depends on their size. In my opinion, you can fit four bird feeders comfortably on the ends of each of the cross tubes. If you have small or skinny tube feeders, then you can hang another one on the inside hook.
- The installation of this bird feeder pole was relatively simple and straightforward. It took me about half an hour from opening the box to having the Squirrel Stopper installed and in the ground. The instructions that come in the box are not great, but luckily building this pole is not rocket science. Thankfully, no tools are required; everything you needs comes in the box. View a PDF of the instructions here!
- Screwing the pole in the ground was surprisingly easy. There is an auger that attaches to the bottom of the pole, and then you use one of the cross tubes to screw it down into the ground. It took less than a minute to get the pole almost two feet underground!
- It looks great in my yard! I used to use cheap shepherds hooks to hang my feeders. Now that I have the Squirrel Stopper pole, it looks like I have a legitimate bird feeding station in my backyard. Just a warning, it is taller than it looks in pictures. The horizontal crossbars are about 7 feet from the ground.
- The construction of the Squirrel Stopper is sturdy. The pole is made of 16 gauge steel and includes a black powder coat finish. The vertical pole has a diameter of 2″. The horizontal cross tubes at the top have a diameter of 1″.
Overall, I am very satisfied with the Squirrel Stopper bird feeder pole. It looks great in my backyard, has eight hooks to provide lots of feeding options, it was easy to install, and has not moved an inch since setting in the ground.
*Here’s a video of the Squirrel Stopper in my backyard!*
You can see a decent close-up view of the pole, along with plenty of bird feeders and birds feeding!
Before I purchased my Squirrel Stopper, I noticed some users complained that it would rust over time. So far, I have not had this issue. Rust could be prevented by spraying on some sort of rust preventer like Rust-Oleum (Clear) periodically.
The Squirrel Stopper usually is only $150 on Amazon and easily one of the BEST purchases I have made in my backyard.
#2: Advanced Pole System by Wild Birds Unlimited
First, let me start by mentioning that Wild Birds Unlimited (WBU) is one of my favorite stores. The staff is always knowledgeable and helpful, and they only sell quality products. For example, you are going to pay more for your birdseed at WBU, but you can count on it being fresh.
As mentioned above, I currently use the Squirrel Stopper bird feeder pole in my backyard, but the Advanced Pole System (APS) was also considered. When it’s time to add a second feeder pole, I know that it will be the APS.
WBU founder Jim Carpenter designed the Advanced Pole System. He intended to offer a bird feeder pole that would stand up straight and provide lots of design options. The fact that this pole system is entirely customizable is what almost made me purchase the APS instead of the Squirrel Stopper.
The options with the APS are almost endless. You start with just a simple shepherds hook design. Or you can mount your hopper at the top and platform feeder in the middle of the pole. From there, it’s easy to add extra arms for additional feeders, suet cages, or small dish feeders.
The following video is a quick introduction to the APS (Video created by WBU).
Is the APS considered a squirrel proof bird feeder pole?
The Advanced Pole System does not come with a squirrel baffle permanently mounted like the Squirrel Stopper. But it’s easy to add a baffle to prevent squirrels from climbing up. Wild Birds Unlimited offers a few options that are tailored specifically to this pole system, or you can look on Amazon.
Do you want more information about the APS?
Check out the interactive brochure that Wild Birds Unlimited has on their website. It shows lots of pictures and different ways that the APS can be customized to your needs.
My recommendation is to visit your local Wild Birds Unlimited store. The locations I have visited always have pleasant people working that are eager to help. You could see in person the different attachments and ways you could customize your bird feeder pole.
Conclusion – The Best Bird Feeder Pole Systems
1. Before purchasing a new bird feeder pole, check out the seven tips outlined to make sure you are not ignoring a critical feature.
2. If you are looking for bird feeder pole recommendations, check out the two pole systems mentioned above.
Thanks for making it this far! But now I have a favor to ask; if you found this article valuable, please consider doing one of the following three things:
1. If you purchase the Squirrel Stopper Bird Feeder Pole listed above, please use this affiliate link. At no cost to you, I would receive a small percentage from Amazon. This lets me know that you found this article helpful and covers the costs to run Bird Watching HQ. I would also be forever grateful. 🙂
2. Share this article! I don’t care what social network you prefer, pass it around!
3. Use the comments below to keep the conversation going. I would love to hear your thoughts and responses:
- Which squirrel proof bird feeder pole are you using? Is it worth buying? Why or why not?
- Please share what features you find most important in the best bird feeding poles.
Thanks again for reading. Happy birding!