The 6 Best Bird Feeders to Put in Your Backyard
By Corrie Pelc
If you enjoy watching birds in your backyard, then having a bird feeder is a must. Not only is it fun to see what types of birds are in your neighborhood — and maybe get some cool pictures for your social media feed — but birds are excellent natural insect and weed control for your garden and yard. They also help pollinate flowers and are a great educational opportunity for kids. And when you put out a bird feeder, you're helping the birds in your community, especially during nesting season.
If you’re not quite sure what type of bird feeder you want for your backyard, we’ve got you covered. Let’s talk about how to buy a bird feeder and take a look at the best ones you can buy right now.
Best Tray Bird Feeder: Nature's Way CWF3 Cedar Platform Tray Bird FeederAttract birds of all types and sizes with this easy-to-use tray bird feeder.
Best Hopper Bird Feeder: Twinkle Star Wild Bird FeederA top-selling hopper bird feeder with a classic birdhouse look.
Best Tube Bird Feeder: Brome Squirrel Solution200 Bird FeederSquirrels are no match for this chew-proof tube bird feeder.
Best Suet Bird Feeder: Birds Choice SNPS Recycled Double Cake Pileated Suet FeederAn eco-friendly suet bird feeder made from recycled plastic jugs and bottles.
Best Bird Feeder for Windows: Nature Anywhere Window Bird House FeederGet a bird’s eye view of the feathered friends in your neighborhood with this window bird feeder.
Best Hummingbird Feeder: Aspects HummZinger HighView Hanging Hummingbird FeederAttract more hummingbirds to your garden with this hanging feeder designed just for them.
Types of Bird Feeders
While, in essence, a bird feeder is a pretty easy concept, there are a variety of bird feeder options on the market today. What it really comes down to is what types of birds you are looking to attract. The most common types of bird feeders include:
- Tray or Platform: These are dish-like feeders that are completely open, which means they are exposed to rain, wind, and snow. However, because they are so open and easy to access, you'll attract a wide range of seed-eating birds, including sparrows, doves, jays, blackbirds, starlings, and pigeons. Tray feeders can be placed near the ground or can be mounted higher up on stumps, posts, or even on a deck railing.
- House or Hopper: This type of bird feeder is what most people picture in their mind as a bird house. While the seed is protected from wind and rain in this type of feeder, it can be harder to clean off bird droppings and other nasties. However, they will hold a lot more seed than a tray feeder, making them a great option if you do not want to have to constantly refill the bird seed. Hopper feeders will attract finches, sparrows, jays, cardinals, and chickadees.
- Tube: Tube feeders are exactly what you would imagine — a plastic tube with a top that holds bird seed with holes on the sides for the birds to get the seeds through. Tube feeders are a great option for keeping seeds clean and dry. They mainly attract smaller seed-eating birds like chickadees, finches, and sparrows.
- Suet: A suet bird feeder is a very basic wire or mesh box or even a bag filled with seed or a seed cake and is suspended or attached to the side of a wall, fence, or post. This type of feeder normally attracts jays, starlings, woodpeckers, and chickadees.
Test Factors We Considered When Picking the Best Bird Feeder
Here’s a look at the test factors we used to determine our list of great bird feeders.
- Type: What type of bird feeder is this — tray, hopper, tube, or suet?
- Installation: How is this bird feed installed — does it need to be suspended or attached to something?
- Size: What are the dimensions of the bird feeder?
- Weight: How much does this bird feeder weigh?
- Material: What is the bird feeder made of?
- Seed Capacity: How much bird seed does this feeder hold? Birds can eat half their weight in bird seed each day, a bird feeder that can hold at least two pounds of seed at a time is ideal.
Let’s take a look at our list of the top-rated bird feeders you can purchase right now.
Best Bird Feeder for Windows: Nature Anywhere Window Bird House Feeder
If you really want a front-row seat to bird feeding action, check out the Nature Anywhere Window Bird House Feeder. This hopper bird feeder is made of completely clear polycarbonate and attaches to a window by four heavy-duty suction cups. A small perch inside the feeder allows birds to rest and eat at their own pace. The seed at the bottom is held in a sliding tray with two sections, allowing you to have two different seed types at a time. Easily slide the tray out when it is time to clean and refill the seed. And the Nature Anywhere Window Bird House Feeder has an air circulation venting system to help ensure the bird seeds stay fresh and mold-free.
- Completely clear polycarbonate bird feeder attaches to the window
- Slide-out bird seed holder makes refilling and cleaning a breeze
- Bird seed tray is segmented to hold two different types of seed
- Will need to be refilled with bird seed frequently
Best Tray Bird Feeder: Nature's Way CWF3 Cedar Platform Tray Bird Feeder
If you're looking for a basic tray bird feeder, then look no further than the Nature's Way CWF3 Cedar Platform Tray Bird Feeder. This platform feeder is about as basic as it gets — just a rectangular tray made from premium cedar that easily suspends from a tree or pole. The tray's cedar construction is treated with a water-based protective stain to help keep it looking great in all weather. At the bottom of the tray feeder is a rust-proof galvanized steel tray that can be easily lifted out for cleaning. The tray also helps keep water away from the seed so it stays fresher for longer. The feeder is hung from a vinyl-coated steel hanging cable and its large surface area allows you to use not only bird seed but larger foods such as sunflower seeds and peanuts.
- Tray bird feeder made from cedar treated with a protective stain
- Steel tray helps keep water away so bird seed stays fresher longer
- Comes with vinyl-coated steel hanging cable
- Has no tall sides or roof, so bird seed is not completely protected from rain, snow, or wind
Best Hopper Bird Feeder: Twinkle Star Wild Bird Feeder
With almost 16,000 reviews and 4.4 out of 5 stars on Amazon, there's no guessing why the Twinkle Star Wild Bird Feeder is our top pick for the best hopper bird feeder. Available in five different colors, this classic-looking house bird feeder comes fully assembled — all you have to do is pick the best place to hang it. The feeder holds up to 2.15 pounds of bird seed at a time, so you won't have to fill it constantly, and birds are able to eat from six different feeding shoots. The completely clear panels all around the feeder let you keep an eye on when the seed is running low, and when it is time to clean and refill the Twinkle feeder, its cover easily twists open and closed.
- Traditional house-type bird feeder holds over two pounds of bird seed and likely won’t need to be refilled every day
- Comes fully assembled
- Top easily twists open and closed for cleaning and refilling
- Made entirely of plastic, which may need to be replaced after time
Best Tube Bird Feeder: Brome Squirrel Solution200 Bird Feeder
If squirrels are constantly getting into your bird feeder and making a mess, then you'll want to check out the Brome Squirrel Solution200 Bird Feeder. This tube bird feeder is truly squirrel-proof thanks to its special design. If a squirrel jumps onto the feeder, its weight causes the feeding ports to close, making the feed inaccessible without harming the critters. Additionally, all parts of the tube feeder are chew-proof, so squirrels are not able to bite their way to the seed inside. The tube feeder holds up to 3.4 pounds of seed at one time and has six feeding ports for birds. The feeder is designed to allow hot air and humidity to escape through vents at the top of the feeder, keeping bird seed fresh. And the Brome Squirrel Solution200 Bird Feeder can be fully dismantled by hand for easy cleaning and maintenance.
- Design keeps squirrels from eating bird seed without harming them
- Holds up to 3.4 pounds of bird seed at a time
- Can be fully dismantled by hand for easy cleaning and maintenance
- Bit expensive
Best Suet Bird Feeder: Birds Choice SNPS Recycled Double Cake Pileated Suet Feeder
Attract a wide variety of birds including bluebirds, jays, finches, woodpeckers, and nuthatches to your yard with the Birds Choice SNPS Recycled Double Cake Pileated Suet Feeder. This suet feeder is made from poly-lumber composed of recycled plastic jugs and bottles, which is designed to resist cracking, splitting, or fading. Rust-resistant aluminum hinges and stainless steel screws make the feeder armored through all seasons and a tail underneath the feeder keeps it balanced when birds land on it. This suspended suet feeder can hold up to two suet cakes at a time and is suspended by its included 29-inch hanging cable.
- Made from recycled plastic jugs and bottles
- Long tail on bottom of feeder helps it stay balanced when birds land and feed on it
- Can hold two suet cakes at a time
- Suet cakes are the only feed option
Best Hummingbird Feeder: Aspects HummZinger HighView Hanging Hummingbird Feeder
Unlike most other birds, hummingbirds do not eat bird seed. Instead, they drink nectar from flowers. They also love to drink nectar from hummingbird feeders, which is basically just a solution of sugar and water. If you'd like to attract more hummingbirds to your yard, then you'll love the Aspects HummZinger HighView Hanging Hummingbird Feeder. Made of unbreakable polycarbonate plastic that is also leak- and drip-proof, this hanging hummingbird feeder has a bright red cover that helps attract the birds. Around the edge of the cover is a high perch, which allows hummingbirds to rest comfortably while drinking from one of the four feeding ports. And the cover of the Aspects HummZinger HighView Hanging Hummingbird Feeder removes quickly for easy cleaning and refilling.
- Bright red cover attracts hummingbirds to feed
- High perch allows hummingbirds to eat comfortably
- Cover removes easily for quick cleaning and refilling
- Only feeds hummingbirds
Bird Feeder Tips
Now that you’ve (hopefully!) found the perfect bird feeder for your home, here are some tips on how to make the most of it.
- Variety is Important: Not all birds eat the same type of bird seed and not all birds like to eat at the same height. If possible, try to have a few bird feeders scattered around your property offering different types of seeds and at different heights so you can attract lots of different birds.
- Keep Out the Squirrels: Squirrels can be quite a nuisance around bird feeders. If squirrels just won't leave your feeder alone, try mounting it on a squirrel-proof bird feeder pole or attach a gizmo called a squirrel baffle to your feeder to stop critters from climbing up or jumping down onto feeders. And if the squirrels seem super hungry in your area, consider giving them their own feeder!
- Add Water: In addition to food, birds also need water. Adding a birdbath to your yard can add an extra enticement to your property for birds, and will keep them lingering for longer as they wash up after eating.
- Feed All Year Long: Birds need access to food all year long, including in the winter. In fact, bird feeders become even more crucial during the winter months when food is harder to find. So whenever possible, keep bird feeders fully stocked throughout all the seasons.
Do you have a bird feeder that brings all the birds to your yard? Tell us about it in the comments below!