I get asked frequently about what sorts of “things” I use. For example, what are my favorite bird feeders? Or where do I buy bird food?
So below, I have listed the stores, products, and services that I use and recommend, in case you want to check them out yourself. I have done a lot of research, along with personal experience, but that doesn’t mean that everything below is automatically the best option for you. Make sure you do your own exploring and fact-finding before making any purchases.
Lastly, if you have any additional recommendations or questions, please leave a comment at the very bottom!
A note about affiliates: Some of the companies below happen to offer commissions for referrals, while others don’t. When it was available, I made sure to use the appropriate link so that this blog would get credit, which helps support Bird Watching HQ at no additional cost to you. If you decide to make a purchase using an affiliate link, thank you for your support!
To see a curated list of bird feeders that I own, you will want to head to the BWHQ store on Amazon. There are just too many feeders to list here. Amazon also made it super easy for me to organize the feeders and other supplies into categories, such as hummingbirds, cardinals, or squirrel-proof options.
Bird Feeding Pole:
- If you don’t want to make your own pole (like I did in my yard), then the Squirrel Stopper is easily the best pre-made option. I used it for many years, and no squirrel ever got to my feeders.
Honestly, there isn’t a great option for buying bird food online that is reasonably priced. Bags of birdseed are just too heavy to ship economically. When I do need to purchase food online, then I typically shop on Chewy, but you will pay quite a bit more for convenience.
I almost always buy bird food in bulk at a local store to obtain the best prices. The bigger the bag, the better price per pound you typically get. Also, I have found that buying a single seed is the cheapest. I NEVER buy a pre-mixed bag, as they charge extra for this. So I buy 25 lb. bags of sunflower seeds, peanuts, corn, and safflower seeds, then mix them together.
Near me, I have found the best value is from Menards or Tractor Supply, but this will vary depending on your location.
Lastly, you NEED to educate yourself on the different types of bird seed before shopping. The worst thing you can do is buy a cheap bag full of “filler seeds.” Read AVOID These 5 “Filler” Foods Found in Birdseed Mixes! and Bird Seed 101: The 10 Best Types For Wild Birds to learn more.
If you love coffee, an easy way to support bird habitat is to make sure you drink certified bird-friendly coffee. Unfortunately, most coffee is grown on your typical farm, which is a huge monoculture plantation. But bird-friendly coffee is grown under the shade of other trees, allowing a huge diversity of species to thrive. And the best part is that shade-grown coffee also tastes the best!
While many different coffees are certified as bird-friendly, I’m currently drinking beans from Java Planet. ALL of their coffee is organic, and many of their brews also come from plants grown on bird-friendly farms. Just a warning that the once you get used to the taste and flavor of their coffee, it’s hard to drink anything else! My wife tells me that I’m now a “coffee snob.” 🙂
Click HERE to see Java Planet’s line-up of bird-friendly coffees. My favorite is the Guatemalan single origin, but I would suggest trying a few flavors to find the one you enjoy most.
- If you decide to purchase, use code BIRDWATCHINGHQ to receive 10% off your order!
There is not enough space here to list every single book. If you are interested in seeing my entire list of books I have read and recommend, please click here! I have organized the list into different sections, such as bird feeding education, birder biographies, etc.
Bird Feeder Cameras:
In case you haven’t seen them, I have two cameras that stream my bird feeders LIVE. You can check them out on YouTube (make sure to like and subscribe!).
A lot of people ask me what type of camera I use. In case you’re wondering, it’s an Axis P1448-LE, which is a network security camera. This model is now discontinued and replaced by the Axis P1468, which is very similar, if not better.
- If you want to learn how I set up the live cameras in my backyard, check out this eBook, which will teach you the entire process.
As you probably noticed, the camera above is super expensive! So if you just want to see the birds at your feeders up close and don’t care about streaming them to YouTube for the world to see, then I recommend the following feeder cam.
- Netvue Birdfy Feeder Cam: The camera is built directly into the feeder that lets you watch the birds from an app on your phone! This works quickly and easily right out of the box.
Cameras, Binoculars, Spotting Scopes:
While there are an incredible amount of options, these are the products that I currently own that let me photograph and watch birds up close.
Spotting Scope: Celestron Regal M2 80ED (20-60x)
Binocular: Nikon Monarch M7
While I buy a lot of things on Amazon, I try to use BH Photo for audio/video. In particular, they have real people that help immensely when choosing a product via live chat. I just tell them what I’m looking for, such as my price range and the features that I want, and they come up with products that fit my description.
There is no getting around the fact that a smartphone can be very helpful when it comes to watching birds. Here are the apps that I find myself using the most!
iBird Pro Guide to Birds: App store
iBird Pro is my favorite field guide that I use on my phone! It’s super easy to search for birds using different features (size, color, location, etc.). It’s also nice that they have BOTH drawings AND pictures of each bird, which really helps me correctly identify each species. Lastly, the vast library of sounds is also extremely valuable. Being able to compare sounds and calls has assisted in many tricky identifications.
Not sure what bird you saw or heard? This app, created by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, uses artificial intelligence to help with identification. You can upload a photo. Or put your phone up when you hear a bird, and it’s incredibly accurate with its suggestions. FREE!
It keeps track of every bird you have ever seen and organizes the data in just about any way you can imagine. The app is simple to use. I start a new checklist on my phone as I begin my birding trip and complete it before I start my car to go home. I can easily access my checklist from my computer or phone if I need to edit it later. The eBird app can also be used to find a local birding hotspot which is a valuable tool, especially when traveling. FREE!
If you are only interested in birds, then eBird is going to be the app you want to use to track all the species you have seen. But if you also enjoy tracking reptiles, mammals, amphibians, or plants that you have observed, then it’s worth checking out iNaturalist. Basically, anything you see, the app keeps track of for you AND helps you identify it. Just upload a picture and let Artificial Intelligence do the rest (and if that doesn’t work, then another member will help you). 🙂
I never knew plants could be so addicting. I find that I just keep adding more native plants, shrubs, and trees around my yard, and there always seem to be more spots to fill!
I have found that my local garden centers are the best places to find native plants. And if you keep searching, even big stores like Walmart, Lowe’s, and Home Depot have a decent selection, depending on the store and time of the year. I am always scouring the “Clearance” sections for perennials that have just gone out of season, as they make great additions for the following year.
Another option for plants is to have them shipped directly to you. Unfortunately, I have not found a reliable online nursery yet that I can recommend, but I am searching!
T-shirts and apparel:
Looking for some funny bird shirts? Check out the collection we have created HERE! And you can also purchase Bird Watching HQ merch. 🙂