Feeders are a fantastic way to bring an eye-catching variety of wild birds to your garden. Decorative finches use their powerful beaks to crack open the tough seed, while tits and the rarer siskin love to perform acrobatics and hang upside down from feeders as they eat! Whichever kind of bird you attract to your garden you’re certainly in for a treat.
Finding the right location for your feeders is so important, with many contributing factors leading to the right place, your garden birds want to know that your garden is a safe space to come back to each and every mealtime. When placing your feeders in your outdoor surroundings, please bear these considerations in mind:
Birds need to see their feeder before they will pay a visit. Put your feeding station in a place where birds have a good vantage point. By giving them somewhere to perch, birds can rest while they digest and assess the playing field for when it’s time to go back in for their next beak-full. Placing in an open area makes the feeder more visible to passing birds while also giving them a good field of view to lookout for predators.
Place your feeders in an area of your garden where the birds aren’t likely to be disturbed by traffic from humans or other pets. The back garden makes for a more ideal spot for bird feeding as it’s a more private area with less disruption. Feeders in quiet areas are generally more populated by our feathered friends than feeders placed near highly-active areas, such as a garage door, play structures or patios.
An overly crowded feeding station can create aggression and territoriality as all bird species have different feeding territory sizes. This leads to some species of bird driving other species away from the feeder. However, by spreading your feeders over a greater distance in your garden, you allow more birds the chance to feed at the same time. Giving birds their personal space also helps to lessen the risk of spreading (potentially fatal) diseases at the bird feeders.
Make sure your feeder is far enough away (ideally 10-12 feet) from trees to keep the birds safe from physical harm. Cats and squirrels could be hiding in tall trees, brush piles, shrubs or fences waiting to make a meal of your beautiful garden visitors, or simply steal their food. Squirrels particularly love the challenge of plucking out nuts so a squirrel guarded feeder allows birds to go undisturbed as they eat. You also use a squirrel baffle such as the Tom Chambers Squirrel Baffle to keep those pesky squirrels off your bird feeders. It’s also important to shelter your feeders from wind and too much sun. If you use chemicals in any areas of your garden, please ensure you place your feeder far away from the chemicals to avoid contaminating the feed.
A bird feeder can be placed on top of a post, hung from a tree branch, feeding station, a bracket, or even a washing line, giving it the advantage of being raised from the ground. It’s recommended to mount your feeders at least 6ft high; feeders can’t be too high for birds, but can be too high for you. However, some birds, such as Blackbirds, Robins and other Thrushes, prefer to feed on the ground, so it’s best to provide more than one type of feeding station if you’re looking to attract a wider variety of birds. Try using a ground feeding tray to reduce any mess left in your garden.
Birds are very inquisitive creatures and love to explore new places – even human-inhabited ones! You should either place your feeder very close to the window (3 feet or less) or much further away (over 10 feet). If you decide to erect your feeding station close to a window, birds cannot hit the window hard enough to result in a serious injury, but it’s a good idea to add bird-friendly decal stickers to the glass. These ingenious stick-on shapes reflect UV light to create a glowing warning that’s visible to birds. This breaks up their line of sight meaning they are less likely to mistake the area for open space and crash into windows, avoiding potentially fatal accidents.
Easy to View
But most importantly for you, put feeders somewhere you can see and easily refill them. A sunny spot with a bird bath, some suet balls and a bird feeder or two is just what every garden needs to make it rich in wildlife. In front of the kitchen window is ideal as you can watch birds swooping in as you cook or do the washing up. Just don’t let them distract you from your lunch!