The Best Bird Feeders

Brome Squirrel Buster Plus Wild Bird Feeder with Cardinal Perch Ring

Our Top Pick for 2016: Brome Squirrel Buster Plus Wild Bird Feeder with Cardinal Perch Ring
Read our full review.

See it on Amazon for $89.99*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.
Too expensive? See our budget pick.

Bird feeders are an excellent way to attract wildlife to your yard. While it takes time and effort to maintain the feeder, the results will be well worth it. Many people enjoy the company that bird-feeding brings and will purchase a wide variety of feeders to accommodate many species of birds. The avid backyard birder will keep a list to track the different species they observe. If you are interested in attracting more birds to your yard, take a look at some of the best bird feeders below.

Table of contents

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Perch Design
Squirrel-proof
Brings Birds Right To Your Window
Sure-lock Cap System
Adjustable Weight Settings
Rubber Offers Great Grip
Allows Birds To Feed From Multiple Angles
Attracts Wide Variety Of Clinging/perching Birds
Great Gift
Eye-catching Copper Finish
Easy To Fill And Clean
Durable
2-pound Seed Capacity
Lifetime Hassle-free Warranty
Easy To Clean

*Price at time of publishing and may not reflect current pricing.

#1 Gold pick (Winner): Brome Squirrel Buster Plus Wild Bird Feeder with Cardinal Perch Ring

Brome Squirrel Buster Plus Wild Bird Feeder with Cardinal Perch Ring Gold Pick

View it on Amazon for $89.99*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

2016-gold-winnerThis squirrel-proof bird feeder will hold three quarts of bird seed for many meals. When a squirrel attempts to gain unlawful entry into the feeder, the animal’s weight closes the seed ports, making it impossible for the squirrel to steal a single seed. The design of this feeder makes it attractive to a wide variety of birds with a Cardinal Ring to make it easier for those bright red birds to perch. The feeder can be placed just about anywhere and is easy to fill and to clean. Simply toss it in your dishwasher for effortless maintenance.

The squirrel-defeating feeder by Brome will close when an animal weighing four ounces or more climbs or lands on the feeder. The closing mechanism can be adjusted up or down for different weights, making it easy to control squirrel burglary and the invasion of larger birds. Reviewers of this product have successfully used it to prevent doves from snitching bird seed.

Squirrels are among the worst pests you can encounter when dealing with bird feeders. These furry bandits can make life miserable for those who try to feed birds on a regular basis. Once you put the feeder out, rest assured that these crazy critters will find a way to access the bird seed if it is humanly (or squirrel-ly) possible.

While you may have heard recommendations to use Vaseline or another greasy substance to coat a bird feeder pole, this is actually a bad idea. A squirrel that gets grease on its fur will be unable to “fluff up” during the winter months to trap heat. It will eventually freeze to death. Also, grease can lead to intestinal discomfort and diarrhea for the squirrel should it ingest the substance, leading to dehydration and eventual death. Using a squirrel-proof feeder such as the Brome Squirrel Buster is the perfect way to keep squirrels away from the bird seed without harming them in any way.

Starlings and grackles are another common nuisance when it comes to bird feeders. In some cases, a whole crew of them will swoop in and empty an entire feeder in a single day. They will chase away the other birds in the process. These larger birds can be outsmarted by the squirrel-proof feature of the feeder, making it perfect for those who have a hard time keeping nuisance birds at bay. Keep in mind, though, that starlings are extremely clever. You might need to remove the Cardinal Ring to keep them from using it as a brace to open the feed ports by flapping their wings.

This bird feeder will last a large crowd of bird five days on average. Of course, refill times will depend upon the type of birds you’re feeding, the time of year and how many birds visit on a given day. Otherwise, this feeder has a huge capacity and is perfect for active yards.
For the ultimate in successful bird feeding, consider what you are placing in the feeder for your feathered friends. Black oil sunflower seeds are a universal favorite among birds and are sure to attract a wide variety of feathered friends.

You might find that you are not attracting as many birds as you would like. There are a few things you can try if your backyard feels like a yawning, bird-less chasm. Consider adding a water source to your yard. Water acts like a magnet for birds for drinking and bathing.

Fresh water can be difficult for birds to find, so they are sure to appreciate the presence of a water source in your yard. Parent birds will often bring their young chicks to the bird bath to show them where it is and to introduce them to the art of bathing.

A bird bath will actually attract more species of birds than a bird feeder, so installing a bird bath is a great way to increase bird traffic to your yard. Bird baths should be no deeper than three inches at the center and less than three inches at the edge to give the bird a chance to ease in. If your bird bath is too deep, consider adding rocks to the bottom.

To make the bath attractive to birds, you will want to ensure that the bottom is textured and not slick. Cement is a good choice, but it can be heavy and awkward to handle. Try a fiber-and-resin bath if you don’t want the bother of cement.

If you really want to increase the excitement, invest in a moving water bird bath. The sound of running water is to birds what the smell of meat is to a vulture. Dripping or sprinkling water will encourage more varieties to visit the bird bath. For example, hummingbirds will never wade into a bird bath like a chickadee or a robin. Instead, they bathe in flight by zipping back and forth through the drips and sprinkles to catch water on their backs as they pass through. They may also take advantage of fountains if you have them.

#2 Silver pick (Runner-up): Perky-Pet Copper Panorama Bird Feeder

Perky-Pet Copper Panorama Bird Feeder

View it on Amazon for $15.49*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

2016-silver-winnerThe bird feeder by Perky-Pet allows birds to feed from multiple angles, making it more attractive to a wide variety of birds. Although the sure-lock cap system helps keep squirrels out, it is not 100 percent squirrel-proof. The two-pound capacity feeder is compatible with seeds of all types.

The seed-dispensing feature of this feeder ensures that no seed is wasted. As birds feed from the circular feeding tray, new seeds are dispensed, keeping it fresh and clean for birds all season long.

If you are looking for the most popular seed to use among the bird community, consider black oil sunflower seed. This type of sunflower seed is much smaller than the traditional sunflower seed and is best for those birds with smaller bills, such as the sparrow and the goldfinch.

Be aware that nyjer, or thistle seed, can become moldy when used in bird feeders. If at any time you notice mold in your feeder, empty it immediately and clean it thoroughly.

A dirty bird feeder is a harbor for bacteria and other disease-causing agents that have the potential to completely wipe out a bird population. Infected birds can also spread diseases to other backyards and wild populations, leading to epidemic conditions with the potential to decimate entire nesting colonies.

To ensure that your feeders are clean and safe for your bird friends, they should be cleaned at least once a month. If your feeders are very active, you might need to clean them more often. Hummingbird feeders should be cleaned each time the nectar is refilled. If you make your own hummingbird nectar, the cleaning times will depend on the temperature and where you store the nectar.

Bird feeders should be cleaned with a solution of one part bleach to nine parts hot water. You can also use commercial bird feeder cleaning solutions or unscented dish liquid if you wish. However, be sure to rinse the bird feeder well before refilling it.

For best results, feeders should be cleaned inside and outside, including feeding ports, rests, lids, platforms and reservoirs. Any place where birds may perch or leave “calling cards” should also be cleaned to avoid contamination. To protect yourself, consider using rubber gloves. A stiff brush works well to remove hardened grime and dirt. Take a look at your local pet store for specialized brushes designed to clean bird feeders of all shapes and sizes. For a cheaper option, consider an old toothbrush for those hard-to-reach places. Rinse for at least 10 seconds in clean water to ensure that all chemical residue is removed.

For seed bird feeders, be sure that the feeder is completely dry before adding new seed. Moisture remaining in the feeder can lead to rotten seeds and sick birds.

In addition to keeping the feeder itself clean, it is also important to clean all nearby areas where birds congregate. Birds can spill seed several feet away from feeders. To avoid illness and disease among the bird population, remove old and damp seed from beneath feeders on a regular basis. If you have bird baths or other perches, keep them clean. Clean feeding areas will attract more birds to your Perky-Pet Copper Panorama bird feeder.

#3 Bronze pick (3rd place): Kanaryware Window Bird Feeder

Kanaryware Window Bird Feeder

View it on Amazon for $34.95*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

2016-bronze-awardThis squirrel-resistant bird feeder will bring your feathered friends right up to your window. The clear material used in the manufacture of this product enables the user to watch the birds from inside the house. The industrial-strength suction cups used for this feeder ensure that it remains firmly fastened to your window.

Because this feeder attaches to your window, you are unlikely to have any trouble with squirrels. If you do, consider mixing dry cayenne pepper into the seeds before you put them in the feeder. You could also combine the pepper with oil before adding it to the seeds, but this is not necessary. Birds don’t mind the pepper, but squirrels hate it. One whiff of this combination will send any and all squirrels high-tailing it out of your yard. Using cayenne pepper will also help avoid the need for baffles and other squirrel deterrents.

Suppose you have just put up a new feeder. You’re excited to see the different varieties of bird that will be drawn irresistibly to your yard. After waiting expectantly for several days, you begin to get rather impatient. After two weeks and still no birds, you are about to abandon hope. Don’t give up yet. There are some things you can do to increase the bird traffic in your yard to something far beyond your imaginings.

No matter what type of feeder you choose, you may find that it takes some time to get birds comfortable with using it. While some feeders may have birds using them in mere minutes, others may take several days or weeks to get birds used to them. To help get birds used to a new feeder, consider placing it in the same general area as old feeders.

If the feeder needs to be moved away from the old feeding station for some reason, move it gradually to encourage the birds to follow it. Position the feeder in a location where birds will feel comfortable using it. The best place to locate a feeder is as close to a bird’s natural feeding preferences as possible. This will vary depending on the bird you are trying to attract. For example, suet feeders for woodpeckers will be more popular if placed near tree trunks. Platform feeders for ground-feeding birds will be more popular if placed close to areas where these birds normally feed.

Birds will not visit a feeder in an area that they feel is unsafe. Place a feeder approximately 10 to 12 feet from brush piles, trees or shrubs where birds can retreat should they feel threatened. If you have cats in your neighborhood, take extra steps to prevent them from stalking the feeding area.

Once you are hooked on feeding birds, a single bird feeder is rarely enough. You will probably need to invest in multiple bird feeders to attract the widest variety possible. You should to choose a feeder that supplies appropriate feeding ports for the seed type you intend to use and your target species. You will also want to take into account the frequency at which you wish to refill the feeder. Depending on the bird species, larger feeders tend to require fewer refills.

#4 Budget pick (Best cheap): No/No Red Seed Ball Wild Bird Feeder

No/No Red Seed Ball Wild Bird Feeder

View it on Amazon for $6.38*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

2016-cheap-budget-pickThe large, red No/No bird feeder is made of all-metal construction for durability and strength. This durability is definitely needed to protect the bird seed from the insistent advances of squirrels and other small animals who might try to access the seed. The seed ball will hold a whopping six cups of black oil sunflower seeds for fewer refills and instant popularity. Measuring six inches in diameter, the open mesh design of this ball will be attractive to clinging birds while preventing water from pooling inside the feeder. he attached handle makes it a snap to hang the feeder from a shepherd’s hook or a branch in two shakes of a bird’s tail, while the bright red finish makes it an instant ornament for your patio, back yard or garden.

Many people wish to help birds in nesting season by providing them with dryer lint to use for their nests. However, most detergents and dryer sheets contain chemicals which are toxic to birds. Unless you use all-natural laundry products, don’t give birds dryer lint.

Did you know that up to one billion birds are killed each year by colliding with windows? You can help prevent these deaths in the bird world. Even though birds have outstanding vision, they still have a difficult time seeing glass, especially picture windows and corner windows. Instead of glass, they see the reflection of the outdoors. If they are startled or frightened in some way, they may fail to recognized the hazards of a window. Even illuminated windows at nighttime can be disorienting to migrating birds.

While a strong window collision can kill on impact, birds generally will appear stunned and will eventually fly away. However, these birds may later suffer from internal bleeding and brain swelling, leading to their deaths.

Preventing window collisions is easy with the right solutions. Consider installing blinds or shutters on your windows. Keep them partially closed to minimize reflections. If you have indoor plants, place them somewhere other than near a window. A bird who sees the plants may think it is a safe place to rest or something to eat.

You can decrease the reflectivity of your windows by frosting or etching them. You can purchase new windows or use a craft etching kit for a cheaper option. If you prefer, you can also use sheer curtains over your windows. The presence of these curtains can provide the needed barrier to save birds from a painful death. Also, check your home for “visual tunnels” that birds might try to fly through.

Outdoor options include the use of decals, sun catchers, crystals and windsocks. Placing these objects in a location in front of windows where they can sway in the wind will provide a visual deterrent to prevent birds from flying through the glass. Keep in mind that birds will attempt to fly through any space larger than three or four inches and place decals accordingly. You can also add screens to all windows where possible.


Pre-purchase considerations

Shape

Bird feeder shapes depend on the type of bird you would like to feed. Clinging birds will appreciate wire mesh feeders and perches, while ground feeders prefer platform feeders. Although platform feeders will attract the widest variety of birds, their tendency to hold moisture leads to the sprouting of seeds and the growth of bacteria. Hopper feeders are also popular but will require maintenance to keep them clean.

Where to Place It

The type of feeder you choose will determine where you place it. Feeders with built-in hooks will be easy to install on a shepherd’s hook, a tree branch or another easy-to-reach area. Feeders that attach to the window may require more precise placement to ensure easy refill access and the optimal viewing experience.

Size

If you have an active yard, you can use large feeders to accommodate all those hungry beaks. However, if your bird activity is low or slows down for some reason, you will need to consider smaller feeders. Seed that sits in a feeder for an extended period of time will eventually spoil, leading to potential illness. Consider purchasing several small feeders to have enough on hand when bird activity increases.

Bird Seed

Different feeders work best with different types of bird food. Peanuts and safflower seeds, for example, will be hard to get out of a feeder designed to dispense thistle seed. Take this into account when purchasing a feeder for your yard.

Conclusion (Wrapping it up)

Bird watching is an incredibly rewarding activity with major health benefits, including an increase in happiness. Increase the attractiveness of your yard for birds by providing fun and safe places to feed. The feeders mentioned in this article are a great place to start.

Discussion and comments

We want to know what you think. Do you own any of the products we discussed? Which did you buy and how did it work out for you?

Do you know of an even better product?

Comment below and help your fellow consumers make the right choice. Over to you!

Resources

  1. Kenn and Kimberly Kaufman, Birding for Your Health, BirdsandBlooms.com
  2. The Many Benefits of Bird Watching, ReviewJournal.com, February 9, 2012
  3. Melissa Mayntz, Bird Feeder Placement, about.com, December 27, 2014
  4. Melissa Mayntz, Prevent Bird Window Collisions, about.com, December 27, 2014
  5. Melissa Mayntz, How to Get Birds to Use a New Bird Feeder, about.com, March 17, 2016
  6. Bird Feeder Problems, BirdsForever.com
  7. Problem and Public Enemy #1: Those *!@#*! Squirrels, BirdsForever.com

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