The most inviting gardens teem with life, and a great way to liven things up is to add bird feeders to your outdoor landscape.
One of my favorites is a tubular unit that I fill with thistle seed to attract goldfinches.
If you’re looking for some new feeders for your backyard, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve reviewed 13 models, including:
Best Bird Feeders for Your Backyard
- Birds Choice Bear-Proof Tube Feeder
- Perky-Pet Copper Panorama
- Stokes Select Double Suet Feeder
- Kaytee Finch Station
- Perky-Pet No/No Seed Ball
- Perky-Pet No/No Red Cardinal Feeder
- The Brome Squirrel Buster Plus®
- Droll Yankees Squirrel-Proof Flipper
- Nature’s Hangout Window
- WoodLink Deluxe Cedar
- WoodLink Absolute II
- Kettle Moraine Recycled Oriole Orange Fruit Feeder
- Gardman Compact Ground Tray
We also have plenty of useful information to share with you on related topics for making the most of your new feeders, including:
No bird feeder is perfect. Choosing the model that’s right for your outdoor space will largely come down to the region where you live and the types of birds you want to attract.
It’s important to be realistic in your expectations – though many feeders claim squirrel resistance with increasingly complicated mechanisms to achieve this, squirrels are wily creatures and will often stop at nothing to get what they’re after.
I say “squirrel proof” below to indicate added features that the manufacturer wants you to know about, but no feeder is truly 100 percent squirrel proof.
Attractiveness to various birds will be dependent on a combination of factors, including feeder construction, location, and types of seed or other food offered. As well as your level of commitment to maintaining the feeder, keeping it clean, and filled with seed, particularly during the winter.
Birds come in a variety of species from the very small to the very large, not all get along with one another, and not all naturally inhabit the same areas in close proximity.
Careful attention to the birds of your region, winter feeding needs, and research-based offerings of seed to attract them can prove both entertaining and beneficial. But within the health of the natural ecosystem, some feeder setups can encourage the spread of disease, and injury or death of certain birds.
Based on my past experience feeding birds with various types of feeders and different combinations of seed offerings, in combination of our survey of the available feeders on the market today, no single setup is to blame.
The Best Bird Feeders for Your Backyard
First up is our top pick, followed by an economical bargain pick. To follow, we’ve included 13 of our favorite additional products, an overview of styles, and advice on humane practices for interacting with wild birds.
Here we go!
1. Birds Choice Bear-Proof Tube Feeder
Our top pick is the Birds Choice Bear-Proof tube model, available on Wayfair. It’s a durable powder coated steel tube that surrounds a clear plastic seed reservoir.
Five windows on each side make it easy to see how much seed is inside, and six staggered ports provide individual feeding stations. Fill it easily from the top and remove the bottom for convenient cleanup. The dome-shaped lid has a hanging loop for suspension from a branch or shepherd’s staff pole hook.
Use good quality mixed or species-specific seed to attract a wide variety of wildlife, including finches, grosbeaks, buntings, jays, nuthatches, siskins, tanagers, towhees, titmice, and woodpeckers.
- Brown powder-coated steel tube style
- 8 x 4 x 26 inches
- 10 pounds
- 3 1/2-pound seed capacity
- Chew-proof material deters squirrels, racoons, and bears
- Easy-fill removable top
- Easy-clean removable bottom
- Not squirrel proof
Referred to by Birds Choice as “indestructible,” the company guarantees that this feeder is built to last. The company offers a 100% customer satisfaction guarantee for unused products in their original packaging. Replacements are available if products arrive damaged or with parts missing.
I recommend installing a squirrel baffle above this unit, like the Akerue Industries 15-inch Weather and Squirrel Guard, also available on Wayfair.
2. Perky-Pet Copper Panorama
Our bargain pick is the steel Perky-Pet Copper Panorama. It’s a compact tube style that’s available online at Home Depot.
It dispenses food into a tray as needed, always remaining full as long as you remember to add seed periodically. A variety of seeds are recommended by the manufacturer, including black oil sunflower, cracked corn, mixes containing millet, and thistle (aka nyjer).
Exercise caution when filling with thistle, as it may become moldy. If this happens, clean thoroughly. The manufacturer recommends soaking in a solution of 9 parts water to one part bleach. However, I prefer to use white vinegar, and you will find instructions to do this below.
Also, I do not recommend mixing thistle seed for small species with sunflower and corn for larger ones. One reason for this is that the birds may not get along, and another is that they may transmit disease to one another in such unnatural proximity.
You can resolve this by having two feeders; one to attract smaller species and a separate one for larger birds. A pack of 2 is available from Amazon.
In addition, millet is the food of choice of ground feeders, but the tray style may attract them.
I emailed Perky-Pet several times for information and was answered promptly by Jody and Jennifer in customer service. The company offers a 30-day return policy, and a one-year replacement warranty.
Most customers report high levels of satisfaction with this product. However, difficulty locking the cap, broken cap tabs, rusting, wet seed, and squirrel damage have been noted.
- Steel with rust-resistant antique copper finish
- Shatter-resistant plastic seed reservoir
- 9.25 x 8.32 x 8.32 inches
- 1.54 pounds
- Fill with seed like black oil sunflower, cracked corn, or mixed varieties
- 2-pound capacity
- Sure-Lock cap
- Auto tray fill
- Circular perch
- Circular tray
- Dispense system reduces waste
- Rust resistant
- Without individual ports, crowding may occur
And now, let’s take a look at 11 additional models that might be of interest.
3. Stokes Select Double Suet Bird Feeder
The Stokes Select Double Suet Bird Feeder with Metal Roof is available on Amazon. Suet is a nutritious, high-energy food that attracts species like woodpeckers, nuthatches, cardinals, wrens, bluebirds, and chickadees.
The Audubon Society recommends offering it only in winter, as it may spoil when the weather is warm. If you’d like to use this feeder year-round, look for “no-melt” varieties of suet, or fill it with seedcakes as needed.
C&S Products makes a peanut-based suet that’s available on Amazon in 12- and 36-piece packages.
And Heath Outdoor Products offers a case of 12 Berry Blast Suet Cakes guaranteed not to melt up to 122° F. They are available on Amazon.
Your family is sure to enjoy the acrobatics show as birds grasp the cage from all angles to feast.
Health and safety are top priorities with this style. It’s easy to clean, has drainage holes and a durable roof to protect the food, and has a secure twist-lock closure.
In spring, the manufacturer suggests filling one with nesting materials like yarn or pet fur. I think twigs and hay are great to include, too. In summer, try filling one with oranges and perhaps an oriole will come to dine.
Over 30 years of birding experience is invested in this model. The Stokes are a husband and wife team who donate a portion of their proceeds to conservation and bird habitat initiatives.
A quick response from customer service via Facebook let me know their suet feeders do not include warranties, though they are happy to assist customers with any issues.
Most customers report high levels of satisfaction with this model. Several noted that birds seemed to have difficulty accessing the suet or seed. One bent the roof upwards and another placed cardboard behind the food to push it forward. Both actions appeared to result in an increase in bird activity.
- Anti-rust powder-coated steel
- 5 x 6.5 x 7.2 inches
- 1.2 pounds
- Fill with suet or seedcakes
- 2-cake capacity
- Feeding possible from all angles
- Double-locking closure system
- Suet is a high-energy food that birds love
- Double the capacity of single cage feeders
- A portion of the proceeds support bird habitats
- Open hook may not resist strong wind
- Not squirrel-proof
- Roof provides little weather protection for food
Head to Amazon to read customer reviews and check prices for the Stokes Select bird feeder now.
You might like to add the Stokes Select 9-Inch Diameter Clear Plastic Jumbo Bird Seed Catch Tray to your feeder setup. This attachment is available on Amazon.
And if you like to watch the birds from your deck, there’s the Stokes Select 27-Inch Metal Extended Reach Deck Hook with 360 Degree Swing, also available on Amazon.
4. Kaytee Finch Station
The Kaytee Finch Station is up next, available on Amazon.
This tube feeder is unique in that instead of a rigid central cylinder, it consists of a fabric mesh sock attached to a plastic, weather-resistant dome reservoir. An elastic band holds the sock firmly in place, and the reservoir has a secure lid.
The manufacturer recommends suspending the unit from a shepherd’s staff hook or a branch at least four feet from ground level. The entire feeder, sock and all, should be washed periodically in warm, soapy water.
When filled with thistle seed or a finch seed blend, species like finches, nuthatches, and towhees are almost certain to fly in. Watch them perch comfortably on the unit’s sock, as they would on flowers like asters, zinnias, and coneflowers to eat their seeds. Consider providing seed for these species in the winter, and growing their favorites in your garden during the summer months.
Per Kaytee customer service representative Charlene, the capacity of the finch sock is about 1 1/2 pounds of seed. Kaytee products come with a 100% satisfaction guarantee.
Most customers like this product. However, several reported that the mesh lets small seeds slip through, and is prone to tearing, especially by squirrels. Some felt the birds shied away because of the bright yellow top and reported no activity. Others commented on the overly long hanging string and fragile loop.
- Fabric mesh and plastic
- 6.2 x 3.5 x 6.2 inches
- 5.3 ounces
- Fill with thistle or finch seed blend
- Seed capacity of approximately 1 1/2 pounds
- Ample surface area for perching and feeding
- Feeding possible from all angles
- Spare sock included
- May promote crowding
- Squirrel damage has been reported
- Socks wear out and must be replaced
You can also buy replacement socks from Amazon.
Nyjer and wild finch blend seed are recommended by the manufacturer.
Kaytee offers a seven-pound bag of Ultra Wild Finch Blend via Amazon.
5. Perky-Pet No/No Seed Ball
The No/No Seed Ball Wild Bird Feeder, available on Amazon, is a patented, powder-coated steel product that prides itself on being made with no wood and no plastic, hence the “No/No” in its name.
Available in either green or red, this unique product consists of a wire mesh ball that is perfect for distributing black oil sunflower seeds. You may also fill it with cracked corn or mixed varieties.
Expect some seed to fall through to the ground, especially smaller varieties. Some species like towhees and sparrows are perfectly happy feeding at ground level, so don’t be surprised if you have upstairs and downstairs dining!
This model is sturdy and won’t collapse under the weight of a squirrel. However, while its steel construction deters squirrels, it doesn’t prevent them from clinging and feeding.
Consider using a squirrel baffle with this model, like the Perky-Pet Transparent 16-inch Squirrel Baffler.
The manufacturer emphasizes the use of sanitary procedures when cleaning feeders.
To do this, remove old seed and disinfect the unit with a solution of 9 parts water to 1 part bleach. Dry thoroughly before refilling. Rake away ground debris and spread a clean layer of mulch beneath the feeder, and wash your hands thoroughly after cleaning.
Perky-Pet offers a 30-day return policy, and a one-year replacement warranty.
While most customers are pleased with this product, some have experienced difficulty with getting the cap to stay shut, squirrels causing seed to scatter, large seeds that are too big for openings, small seeds slipping easily through to the ground, and wet seed.
- Anti-rust powder-coated steel and wire mesh
- Available in green or red
- 8.1 x 8 x 3 inches
- 0.8 ounces
- Fill with large types of seed like black oil sunflower, cracked corn, and shelled nuts
- 1.12-pound seed capacity
- Feeding possible from all angles
- Open construction promotes ventilation and drainage
- Easy to fill and clean
- Resists squirrel damage
- Not squirrel-proof
- Seed is completely exposed to the elements
- Considerable ground spill
- No place for perching types
6. Perky-Pet No/No Red Cardinal Feeder
Here’s another Perky-Pet product. The No/No Red Cardinal Bird Feeder is available at Home Depot.
It’s like the No/No Seed Ball model in that it is constructed of steel and wire mesh, without plastic or wood. It’s designed to hold black oil sunflower seeds, and is also perfect for distributing cracked corn, mixed varieties, or shelled peanuts.
Here’s how it’s different: instead of attracting only clinging birds, it has a circular feeding trough that draws perching species, like cardinals.
There are some potential downsides. You may experience the accumulation of water in the crevice of the base, which may cause trapped seed to decay. Fortunately, the surface of this product is zinc-coated to resist rust.
And, instead of being an open ball, this style has a roof to provide some seed protection in inclement weather, and to make it a bit more challenging for squirrels to access.
Like its sister model, this style is durably constructed to resist squirrel damage, though you may expect squirrels to feed. Again, I suggest the Perky-Pet Transparent 16-inch Squirrel Baffler referenced above.
Like the other Perky-Pet models reviewed here, this product is made of steel. The company offers a 30-day return policy, and a one-year replacement warranty.
Customer reviews are mixed, with most reporting high levels of satisfaction.
Among those who were less than satisfied, complaints include easy squirrel access, having to fill the feeder while suspended because it collapses otherwise, having the latch freeze shut in cold weather, wet seed, and some black oil sunflower seed proving to be too large to fit through the wire mesh.
- Red anti-rust powder-coated steel and wire mesh
- 10 x 10 x 7 inches
- 2.5 pounds
- Circular feeding trough
- Wire mesh
- Feeding possible from all angles
- Includes a roof
- Patented collapsible design
- Fill with large seeds like black oil sunflower, cracked corn, mixed varieties, or shelled nuts
- 2.5-pound seed capacity
- Attracts both perching and clinging species
- Open construction promotes ventilation
- Roof provides some weather protection
- Easy to fill and clean
- Resists squirrel damage
- Communal feeding in close proximity may promote spread of disease
- Not squirrel-proof
- Perch may hold water
7. Brome Squirrel Buster Plus
The Brome Squirrel Buster Plus® is available from Marvin’s Garden Store via Walmart. Like other tube models, when filled with black oil sunflower, safflower, or mixed seed, it may attract a variety of birds, including blue jays, nuthatches, grosbeaks, chickadees, and woodpeckers. And it holds a hefty 5.1 pounds of seed.
There are six ports with individual perches and an optional cardinal ring that attaches to create a continuous circular perch. It’s designed to be squirrel-proof, and has a baffle that closes off the ports when a squirrel perches on it. This weight mechanism is adjustable and may be reset from its default 4 ounces to deter large birds, as well.
Suspend this unit from a shepherd’s staff hook with at least 18 inches of clearance on all sides to protect feeding birds. Easy disassembly makes periodic cleaning a breeze.
The manufacturer says you can wash all parts in the dishwasher, though I am not a fan, for sanitary reasons. You may also use a solution of 1 part white vinegar to 5 parts water. Be sure to rinse well and allow to dry completely before refilling.
Brome offers a lifetime limited warranty and lifetime customer care on this model, which includes replacement parts upon request. Made in Canada.
This product has an overwhelmingly positive collection of reviews. However, please note that bird death has occurred related to this product’s baffle mechanism. Also noted are a lack of bird interest and lots of squirrel activity.
- Green RoxResin® polycarbonate and metal with clear, smooth tube reservoir
- Fill with black oil sunflower, safflower, and mixed seed
- 23 x 6 x 6 inches
- 4.2 pounds
- 3-quart/5.1-pound seed capacity
- 6 side-by-side ports with individual perches in circular configuration
- Optional cardinal perch, a continuous ring
- Patented squirrel-proof mechanism
- Seed ventilation system
- Ample seed capacity
- Squirrel-proof design
- RoxResin® is 100% chew proof, waterproof, rustproof, and UV stabilized
- Port feeding inhibits spread of disease
- Lifetime replacement parts at no charge
- No tools required for assembly
- All parts are recyclable
- Common perch promotes close proximity that may spread disease
- Repeated assaults by squirrels may damage the shroud mechanism
A video of this product on the manufacturer’s website shows it mounted on a pole with a seed tray below. You may purchase the whole rig, or various parts, per the links below.
The Squirrel Buster® Weatherguard is available separately at Amazon. This clear polycarbonate shield fits over the Squirrel Buster Plus® model to provide protection from inclement weather.
The Brome Squirrel Buster Plus® Pole Adapter is also available separately on Amazon. This fits into the bottom of the unit, for insertion into a pole.
The Universal Mounting Pole Kit is available via Amazon as well, and is compatible with the Squirrel Buster Plus®.
The Brome Seed Buster® Seed Tray/Seed Catcher is also available via Amazon.
Check customer reviews and price of the Brome Squirrel Buster Plus® at Walmart.
8. Droll Yankees Squirrel-Proof Flipper
The Droll Yankees Squirrel Proof Bird Feeder Flipper is a bit different from our other selections, in that it has a motor. It’s available on Amazon.
This elongated tube-style feeder has a UV-stabilized clear polycarbonate tube that won’t yellow in the sun. Its top and base are constructed of heavy-duty green powder-coated metal.
The key feature of this model is a battery-powered motor that turns on when a squirrel attempts to feed, setting the unit spinning and the rodent flying! But don’t worry, it won’t harm the squirrel.
This model has a generous 5-pound seed capacity that you can fill with the birds’ favorites. The manufacturer states that it attracts a long list of birds, including cardinals, chickadees, finches, flickers, goldfinches, grackles, grosbeaks, jays, juncos, kinglets, nuthatches, redpolls, siskins, sparrows, starlings, titmice, towhees, woodpeckers, and wrens. Again, this all depends on where you live, and what you fill it with.
There is a perch ring, and an interior baffle ensures the efficient flow of seed to the four ports. This unit has a stainless-steel wire at the top for handy suspension and stabilization.
The manufacturer recommends cleaning this unit with a solution of 1 part white vinegar and 1 part water to prevent the spread of disease. This job is a breeze with the Droll Yankees Bird Feeder Brush, available on Amazon.
The Droll Yankee company offers a series of warranties including a limited lifetime warranty, a one-year warranty on electronics, a lifetime warranty against squirrel damage, and replacement of defective parts free of charge. However, don’t expect coverage for damage by bears or raccoons! Made in the USA.
You can expect a considerable amount of ground scatter from the large ports, though most customers are highly satisfied with this product. Some issues have been cited with the spinning mechanism, scattered seed, and squirrels (or even doves) who manage to beat the system.
- Clear UV-stabilized polycarbonate tube
- Green metal cap and base
- Battery-operated squirrel deterrent – rechargeable NiCad batteries included
- Battery charger
- 8.3 x 8.3 x 29 inches
- 5-pound capacity
- Fill with safflower seed, black oil sunflower, or mixed varieties
- 4 ports in circular configuration
- Communal perch ring
- Internal baffle
- Ample seed capacity means less frequent filling
- Extensive warranties
- Likely to scatter seed, especially when it spins
9. Nature’s Hangout Window
For a close-up view, you might like the Nature’s Hangout Window Unit, available on Amazon. This product is a lot of fun because it gives a close-up view of feeding in action. Made of durable clear acrylic, this model comes with suction cups for adhering it to window glass.
Choose a window without a screen (you’ll have to remove yours to hang the feeder) and no close branches. Per the manufacturer’s instructions, you should mount this product as high on the glass as you can to deter squirrels, who can’t scale its slippery surface.
This model features a divided tray with a four-cup capacity that may be filled with two different types of seed. A padded perch for comfortable dining runs the full length, and a top awning provides some protection during inclement weather.
Drainage holes prevent the pooling of water, inhibiting bacteria buildup, and the tray may be removed easily for thorough cleaning.
The Nature’s Hangout company is based in New Mexico. They offer a lifetime “no questions asked” money-back guarantee and strive to achieve 100% customer satisfaction.
I recommend attracting smaller birds to this type of feeder by filling it with their favorites, like thistle and prepared mixes, although the manufacturer sets no limits.
Keep in mind that it’s hard to predict the performance of suction cups, because factors like moisture and temperature changes will affect them. With a feeder like this, instead of just removing the tray to clean and refill, periodically remove the entire unit. Clean the suction cups and the window glass, and create fresh suction before rehanging the unit and refilling it.
And lastly, when watching the feeding fun, be still and quiet. Remember – if you can see and hear the birds, they can probably see and hear you!
This product has a high rating for customer satisfaction. Among the few who noted issues, the most common were related to the ability of plastic and suction cups to stand up to weather extremes, large birds floundering in what is essentially a small feeder, and squirrel activity.
- Clear acrylic window mount
- Removable divided tray
- 11.8 x 5 x 4 inches
- 5.6 ounces
- 4-cup seed capacity
- Fill with any type of seed (I recommend thistle or mixed varieties for smaller birds)
- Communal feeding from tray
- Communal padded perch runs length of unit
- May fill with two separate types of seed
- Drainage holes
- Easy to clean
- All-weather durability
- 3 additional suction cups included
- Lifetime “no questions asked” money-back guarantee
- Bird droppings on/near house
- Birds may fly into window
- No clear expectations for suction cup longevity or weight capacity
10. WoodLink Deluxe Cedar
The next product is a hopper style. The WoodLink Deluxe Cedar model is available on Amazon. It’s made of beautiful reforested inland red cedar that’s been kiln dried for durability.
There are two polycarbonate (plexiglass) sides that form a reservoir space with a 5-pound seed capacity. Birds may feed communally down both sides of the feeder. And, as if that isn’t enough, there are cages at either end that hold suet or seedcakes, making this feeder accessible from all sides.
This model is easy to fill. Simply raise the lid and pour in seed. Its anodized aluminum hinge is made to last.
As for cleaning, per the manufacturer, the plexiglass side on the lift side of the roof is removable. To remove the secure side for cleaning, you may take out the four screws that hold it in.
Red cedar is weather-resistant and fades to a soft gray. It requires no sealing. If you wish to preserve its original color, you may use an appropriate nontoxic cedar product – but avoid areas that may touch birdseed.
As for routine cleaning, use the standard 1 part white vinegar to 5 parts water. A quick scrub, rinse, and dry will do. Do not soak.
A 30-day money back guarantee on all products is offered by WoodLink. Made in the USA.
Most customers report high levels of satisfaction. But please note that there is at least one report of bird death due to entrapment in an empty suet cage. Also, several people reported splintering, splitting, or warping of wood, and the inability of large birds to perch and feed.
- Red cedar wood house with 2 suet cages
- 9.5 x 13.25 x 9.75 inches
- 4 pounds
- Hinged lid
- Suspension cable included
- 5-pound seed capacity reservoir plus 2 suet cages
- Fill with black oil sunflower, safflower, or mixed seed, cracked corn, shelled nuts, and suet or seedcakes
- Communal feeding from all sides by perching on wood or clinging to cages
- Ample seed capacity
- Four-sided feeding
- Easy to fill
- Sturdy construction
- Weather resistant
- Feeding in close proximity may spread disease
- Not squirrel resistant
- No weather protection for suet or seedcakes
As this model is not squirrel resistant, you may want to purchase the Woodlink Wrap Around Squirrel Baffle separately. It’s available on Amazon.
11. WoodLink Absolute II
Another option is the WoodLink Absolute II Squirrel Resistant Bird Feeder, also available on Amazon. This is a green powder-coated steel product with two-sided feeding on either side of a seed reservoir, with plastic “windows.” There are adjustable weight-activated baffles to deter squirrels.
This model has a locking lid mechanism for easy cleaning, filling, and securing seed in place. A zinc-plated steel hanger, 5-foot black powder-coated pole, and plastic ground socket are included.
Fill with mixed seed to attract a variety of songbirds, or with one type, such as black oil sunflower, to attract specific species like cardinals and jays.
WoodLink offers a 30-day money back guarantee on all products. Made in the USA.
Most customers report high levels of satisfaction with this product. However, there are reports of bird injury and death associated with the perch of this product. Also noted is the product’s overall inability to deter squirrels.
- Powder-coated steel hopper with wood feeding perch
- 13.5 x 16 x 11.2 inches
- 9.85 pounds
- 12-pound seed capacity
- Communal feeding from metal perches along two sides
- Weight activated baffle
- TopLoc feature
- Ample 12-pound seed capacity
- Easy to clean and fill
- Metal construction is chew-proof
- Squirrels may dodge baffle
- Feeding in close proximity may promote the spread of disease
- Weight of multiple birds may cause baffle to close seed access
- Plastic components are not squirrel-proof
The WoodLink Absolute II Squirrel Resistant Bird Feeder also comes in Electric Blue, available on Amazon.
12. Kettle Moraine Recycled Oriole Orange Fruit Feeder
The Kettle Moraine Recycled Single Oriole Orange Fruit Feeder is available on Amazon. Designed to attract orioles and made of recycled milk jugs, it’s bright orange with an overhanging roof, and two sides for feeding.
Simply place half of an orange on each side, and wait for the birds to arrive. There’s a perch beneath each bit of fruit for a private dining experience.
In addition to orioles, you may draw species like tanagers, mockingbirds, catbirds, and grosbeaks, who also enjoy a bit of fruit.
A larger Double Oriole Orange Fruit Feeder is also available on Amazon. It has four perches and places for four orange halves. However, this presents the possibility of upper bird droppings disrupting lower bird feeding, so I prefer the smaller model.
Roof-less versions by the same manufacturer can also be purchased in both single and double styles, but they give no weather protection for the already fragile fruit.
Customers are highly satisfied with this model, and an email to customer service received a quick response from Greg. This feeder includes a lifetime warranty. Made in the USA.
- House-style orange feeder
- Bright orange recycled plastic milk jug construction
- 12.5 x 12.5 x 7 inches
- 1 pound
- Holds one orange, 1/2 on each side
- 2 aluminum perches
- Large aluminum hook
- Made from recycled material
- Species-specific feeding inhibits spread of disease
- Easy to clean and fill
- Lifetime warranty
- Not squirrel proof
- Fruit spoils quickly
13. Gardman Compact Ground Tray
The Gardman Compact Ground Tray is available on Amazon. It‘s a raised steel mesh box that allows rainwater to drain through and keeps seed fresh for diners. A rust-resistant black powder coat protects the iron beneath for durability.
Use this style to attract a wide variety of ground feeding birds like robins, blackbirds, bluebirds, cardinals, doves, orioles, towhees, and thrushes. Offer favorites like suet, bits of fruit, black oil sunflower seeds, mealworms, shelled nuts, and seed mixtures.
The mesh construction of this product allows for ample air circulation and water drainage, resulting in seed that stays fresher, longer.
Keep in mind: setting out a unit like this is like issuing an open invitation to dinner to all wildlife in the vicinity. If you’re not a squirrel lover, or you don’t want to attract a flock of starlings, this one’s not for you.
The Gardman company is based in the UK.
Most buyers report high levels of satisfaction with this unit. The most common complaint among dissatisfied customers is regarding the item’s small size.
- Steel mesh platform ground feeder
- Powder coated black finish
- Rust resistant
- 7 x 7 x 2 inches
- 11.4 ounces
- 2-cup seed capacity
- 360-degree communal feeding
- Fill with black oil sunflower, shelled nuts, seed mixtures, suet, and fruit
- Attracts a broad array of ground feeders
- Easy to fill and clean
- Wide variety of food options
- Mesh promotes drainage and permits air circulation
- Small size means frequent filling
- Close proximity feeding may spread disease
- No protection from predators
- Easy access for squirrels and other animals
Types of Feeders to Welcome Avian Guests
The products we’ve discussed have unique features that appeal to a range of avian species.
There are five main feeder styles available: ground, tube, hopper, suet, and thistle. Each holds different types of food and attracts different species.
We’ll briefly summarize each of these below, to help you to determine which is right for your backyard, to fulfill all of your bird watching and wild bird feeding desires.
A ground style is a tray or box placed on the ground. Fill it with cracked corn, millet, sunflower, mixed seed, wheat, or oats. It attracts species like doves, juncos, sparrows, towhees, and goldfinches. Smaller species will be deterred by crowds of larger birds.
This type of feeder may also be suspended from a pole or branch, where it may draw additional species, particularly those that like to feed in open spaces, such as bluebirds.
A tube model has an elongated seed reservoir and feeding ports. It holds black oil sunflower, mixed seed, safflower, and peanuts. It attracts chickadees, titmice, nuthatches, goldfinches, siskins, purple finches, and house finches.
This type may be enhanced by squirrel deterring technology, with varying levels of success.
A hopper is a model that releases seed when a bird lands. It holds safflower, sunflower, and cracked corn. It attracts species that favor tube-style units, as well as bigger birds like cardinals, jays, grackles, and red-winged blackbirds.
Some of today’s hopper models operate in reverse fashion: instead of opening when birds land, they close when an especially heavy bird or squirrel arrives. In addition, there are hopper models that are not “souped-up” in any way. Instead, they have a continuous, gravity-driven seed flow.
A suet style may be a wire cage or mesh bag. It holds suet, the hard fat of lamb and beef, as well as seedcakes and bird puddings made of foods like lard, cheese, peanut butter, and assorted nuts, seeds, and berries. It attracts woodpeckers, titmice, nuthatches, chickadees, and sometimes wrens, creepers, and warblers.
This type generally holds a seedcake just as well as one made of suet. Some require birds to perch beneath the unit, attracting clinging species like woodpeckers, finches, and chickadees, while discouraging crows, grackles, and starlings. Others have a tail prop to encourage and provide added support for larger species.
Thistle models are tube units designed specifically for tiny, short-beaked birds. Meant to hold only thistle (nyjer) seed, these attract mainly goldfinches, as well as redpolls and pine siskins. Look for products that allow air circulation to inhibit mold.
Nectar feeding styles are designed solely for feeding hummingbirds. Usually designed with shapes like flowers in bright red colors that are known to attract them, these are filled with a sugar water solution that the birds can drink. Though this review focuses on seed and suet varieties, you can find our full review of hummingbird feeders here.
You’re sure to find one or several models to please the array of wild birds who visit your yard among our reviews above. And now that you’re an expert in feeder styles, let’s talk about how to feed responsibly.
Supporting Good Health
Like people, birds may get sick from germs that build up where eating, bathing, and nesting take place.
Periodically wash down all units with a solution of 1 part white vinegar to 5 parts water, or a 10% non-chlorine bleach solution. Rinse and dry thoroughly before resuming use. Do this several times a year, with supplementary washings when things get messy.
Another way to promote avian health is to put out just one type of seed, as opposed to a mixed variety. You see, bringing species together that don’t ordinarily come in close contact with one another may spread avian diseases that can sicken or kill birds.
And finally, if you do choose seed mixtures, choose those without milo, a filler that ends up as debris in and below the feeder, becoming a breeding ground for disease. Similarly, if you offer nuts, choose shelled varieties to minimize waste.
Sustaining and Renewing Habitat
At this point, you may be wondering, “Should I only put food out for the birds in winter?”
There are two schools of thought on this:
One says, “Yes, let them fend for themselves in summer.” And the other says, “No, once local and migratory species know that your yard is an excellent food source, they will continue to visit and depend upon your generosity.” Leaving them high and dry in the summer would be a disservice.
I’m of the second school, and it’s because of where I live. In my area, there is a marked decline in the corridors of native plants that sustain not only traveling birds, but those that live locally. And, while some think it’s charming to see them nesting in eaves, and pecking at crumbs, these are signs of a loss of habitat.
There is also a noticeable absence of insect life, another major food source. This is due in part to the insecticide and herbicide use that’s common in suburban settings.
When birds don’t get the nutrition they need, species die out. And when this happens, entire ecosystems are threatened.
There you have it – 13 product reviews, and everything you need to know to attract and sustain the birds you love. Any time of year is the right time to set up feeders, so select yours today and get started on a wonderful new hobby that will reward you for years to come.
I can’t wait to hear all about your birdwatching experiences in the comments section below!
If you want to learn more about how to attract more birds and other wildlife to your garden, you’ll need these guides:
- How to Attract Purple Martins to Your Garden
- A Box to Call Home: Build Your Own Bat House with our DIY Instructions
- Attract Butterflies to Your Small Garden With These Flowering Perennials
© Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on January 18, 2020. Product photos via Birds Choice, Brome, Droll Yankees, Home Depot, Gardman, Kaytee, Kettle Moraine, Nature’s Hangout, Perky-Pet, Stokes Select, Wayfair, and WoodLink. Uncredited photos: Shutterstock. With additional writing and editing by Allison Sidhu.
About Nan Schiller
Nan Schiller is a writer with deep roots in the soil of southeastern Pennsylvania. Her background includes landscape and floral design, a BS in business from Villanova University, and a Certificate of Merit in floral design from Longwood Gardens. An advocate of organic gardening with native plants, she’s always got dirt under her nails and freckles on her nose. With wit and hopefully some wisdom, she shares what she’s learned and is always ready to dig into a new project!