Where’s the BEST place to put your bird feeders? (8 tips)
Now that you have a bird feeder and want to create a feeding station, you may be asking yourself the following question:
What is the BEST area in my yard to put my bird feeders?
First, congratulations to you for even thinking about this topic! Many people just put their bird feeders in the middle of their yard without any thought and then get frustrated that they can’t attract many birds.
The location of your bird feeders is VERY important!
But don’t worry. Today, I will provide you with 8 helpful tips so that you can find the BEST place in your yard for a feeding station. 🙂
Let’s get started!
#1. Don’t put your bird feeders in the DANGER zone.
I’m giving you this first tip to help keep the birds in your yard safe. 🙂
As you may know, birds that visit feeders get scared through the day, and they all take off quickly in different directions. Whether it was a hawk, cat, or something else perceived as a threat, the birds are trying to get away to safety quickly.
Unfortunately, these moments of panic lead to birds flying directly into windows!
Luckily, this carnage can be easily prevented by making sure you don’t place your feeders in the “danger zone,” which is between 3 feet (1 m) and 30 feet (9 m) from your home! Here’s why this strategy helps:
If the feeding station is over 30 feet (9 m) away from your house, the birds should have time to realize they are flying towards a window when they get scared.
And if the feeders are within 3 feet (1 m), they won’t have time to build up enough momentum to harm themselves if they accidentally fly into a window.
Making sure your feeding station is out of the “danger zone” will help save lives! And it’s essential to do anything we can to help since it’s estimated that up to ONE BILLION birds die each year from window collisions.
#2. Help birds feel SAFE near trees or shrubs.
If you were a bird, which of the two yards above would make you feel safer?
Ok, so the answer is easy. The obvious choice is Yard #2. Look at all of the spaces that provide safety from predators, along with lots of perching areas to monitor the bird feeders before flying to them.
To attract birds, you need to put your bird feeders somewhere in your yard close to shelter and safety. Typically, this would be next to the woods or near trees and bushes.
Once you start feeding birds, you are going to see hawks hanging around looking for a meal. If your feeders are placed in the middle of a barren yard, there is nothing to help protect them from a hungry raptor. Birds don’t like feeling exposed to predators, so the birds will be very nervous while feeding or never come at all!
But if the bird feeders are next to an area that provides safety, such as some shrubs or trees, they will feel more comfortable visiting. Now, when a predator attacks, they only have a few feet to fly to escape danger. Evergreens are the best choice, as they provide year-round protection.
Here is a tour of my backyard. You can see where I have MY bird feeding station.
I placed my bird feeding station on the edge of the woods, offering countless natural perching areas and making the birds feel safe.
#3. Don’t put bird feeders too close to a tree!
Squirrels and bird feeders. Bird feeders and squirrels. These two things go hand in hand. It’s hard to have a bird feeder WITHOUT having squirrels show up.
Honestly, I like squirrels, and I don’t mind feeding them. I just want these acrobatic rodents to stay on the ground. Once they get onto a bird feeder, they can spend hours there just eating and eating and eating. And when one is done, another squirrel is ready to take its place!
As you decide where to place bird feeders in your backyard, remember that they will be subject to an aerial assault from squirrels! So, it’s important to think about squirrels when placing your bird feeding station since they can jump as far as 10 feet (3 m) horizontally. Don’t believe me?
Here is a video I created of squirrels jumping onto my bird feeding station!
To prevent squirrels from making the jump, find a suitable area at least 10 feet (3 m) away from any trees, tree branches, houses, decks, power lines, or anything else that they can climb to use as a launchpad. For example, my feeding station is only about five feet (1.5 m) away from the nearest trees, and the squirrels make that leap easily!
There is a fine line of finding an area for your bird feeders that is close to safety and shelter but not too close that a squirrel can easily jump on. 🙂
#4. Make sure YOU can see the bird feeders.
It’s hard to enjoy feeding if you can’t actually see the birds! So make sure that wherever you want to put the feeding station in your yard, you first go inside and make sure you have a great view.
On a side note, have you ever thought about putting a bird feeder on your window? You can’t beat the view of a bird from your kitchen window in the morning!
#5. Make it easy to refill your feeders.
This tip isn’t for the birds; it’s for you.
If possible, try to place your bird feeders close to where you store your bird food.
For example, look at the photo below showing where I put my bird feeding station in my yard.
More importantly, look at where my shed is located. As you can see, it’s roughly 20 feet (6 m) away from the bird feeders. This close location makes it VERY convenient to go outside every day to refill the feeders. I can check the food levels quickly then walk over to the shed to get what I need.
Could you imagine if the feeding station was far away? It would be a lot of extra walking and time.
Now, you may be thinking this is not a big deal, and it’s good exercise. I would agree with you, except in winter when it’s below freezing with a foot of snow on the ground. This moment is when you will REALLY appreciate the fact your food storage is near the feeders.
This tip won’t be practical for everyone since every yard is different. For example, it’s more important to have bird feeders near shelter and safety (Tip #2) than to have easy access to bird food refills.
Tip #6: Try to find a quiet spot in your yard.
As you can imagine, human activity near your bird feeders is not a good thing for birds.
Try not to place a feeding station near a door you use often or an area in your yard that you (or your dog) walk past multiple times per day.
Tip #7: WARNING: The area underneath gets messy
As you decide on the best spot for your feeders, keep in mind that the ground can get messy with the shells from discarded seeds and other food debris.
More than likely, any grass will eventually die from all the bird activity. In addition, the shells of Black-oil Sunflower, which is the most popular bird food, have a toxin that inhibits the growth of other plants, eventually leading to barren ground.
I thought it would be best to warn you. 🙂
For example, here is an old video of the mess that accumulated under my bird feeders:
Since the above video was taken, I have converted this area of my yard into a mulch bed. Whenever the ground needs refreshing, I buy a bag of mulch at the store and spread it around, making it look super clean again!
#8. Keep improving the area around your bird feeding station.
By now, I hope you have a pretty good idea of where you need to put your bird feeders.
But once they are hanging or mounted and attracting birds, your work is NOT done.
My recommendation is to keep improving the surrounding area!
I’m always landscaping around my yard with native trees, flowers, and shrubs.
Native plants provide birds with food and perching and hiding areas, but they also attract insects, which offers a natural food source for most birds in warmer months. A non-native plant from a garden center is not going to contribute much to the ecosystem in your yard.
In addition, I create brush piles whenever I have enough extra debris. They provide lots of hiding places for ground-dwelling birds, like native sparrows.
Or have you ever thought about adding a water source, such as a bird bath, near the feeders? You might as well be a one-stop shop for your birds. 🙂
Where did you put the bird feeders in your yard?
Please share any additional tips you may have. 🙂
How do birds find bird feeders? Birds find food using their sense of sight and hearing! There is so much more to learn about how they are able to do this.
Nice. Thank for sharing useful information. This article is so interesting for reading. Hope you write more.
I have my bird feeding pole right in front of one of my side windows so my cats can watch the birds and squirrels feed, which they love doing so much. There’s a tree about 10_15 feet away that the birds and squirrels run back to when they aee/hear my kitties or anything else for that matter. The pole I have has 5 ‘arms’ per se to hang multiple bird feeders on it but I only have one ATM and the pole came with 2 round metal bowls, one for food and one for water, which I hope the birds use to drink and/or to bathe as well. I have no problem whatsoever with squirrels eating too because I just love all animals so much. I’d feed a herd of sheep or goats if they were loose and came around too.
I left my feeders right on the tree and on the fence near the trees as I don’t mind squirrels jumping on the feeders.