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Wild birds are undeniably cute, and you can attract them to your yard with the right bird feeder. Bird feeders come in all shapes and sizes, and certain styles will appeal to specific birds—for instance, thistle feeders will attract finches, while suet feeders are a hotspot for woodpeckers.
As you shop for bird feeders, you’ll also want to look for one that’s made from sturdy materials and outfitted with some type of squirrel deterrent, unless you like these little critters. It’s also important to get a feeder that’s compatible with the type of food you plan to feed your birds.
Here are the best bird feeders for your feathered friends.
Best Overall: Brome Squirrel Solution Wild Bird Feeder
Attracts lots of small birds
Easy to fill
Looks nice in the yard
Won’t bring in larger birds
Easy to waste seed
Pricier than other feeders
What do buyers say? 92% of 4,100+ Amazon reviewers rated this product 4 stars or above.
The Brome Wild Bird Feeder is sleek, sturdy, and best of all, squirrel proof! The tube-style feeder is rectangular, and its inner UV-resistant plastic tube is surrounded by a green metal cage with decorative leaves on it. However, they’re not just for show! When a squirrel climbs onto the feeder, the cage shifts down, and the leaves block the seed holes, preventing the critters from eating your birdseed.
This bird feeder is 24 inches tall and can hold up to 3.4 pounds of seed. You can use it with safflower or black oil sunflower seeds and chips, and it even comes with a funnel that makes it easy to fill. The whole feeder can be disassembled for an easy and thorough cleaning, and its parts are chew-proof, preventing squirrels from forcing their way inside.
Best Budget: Twinkle Star Wild Bird Feeder
Compatible with many types of birdseed
Easy to fill and clean
No squirrel deterrent
Won’t bring in larger birds
Bird feeders can be surprisingly expensive, but the Twinkle Star Wild Bird Feeder is a budget-friendly option for feeding small birds. The whole feeder is only 8 inches tall, so it’s not big enough to accommodate larger birds like Blue Jays, but small finches will be able to perch on the lip of its tray.
The Twinkle Star Feeder is made from plastic, and it has a hexagon shape with transparent sides and a faux metal roof and tray. It can be used with a variety of birdseed types, allowing you to attract different bird varieties. There are gravity-fed feeding ports on all sides of the feeder. This bird feeder is extremely easy to fill and clean thanks to its large central compartment, but keep in mind that it doesn’t have any manner of squirrel deterrent.
Best Tube: More Birds Radiant Wild Feeder
Easy to clean
Large lid keeps food from getting wet
Attractive copper accents
Tube bird feeders are a popular choice, as they allow multiple birds to eat at once and also keep feed protected from the elements. In particular, the More Birds Radiant Wild Feeder is a well-built tube feeder that offers several features your birds will love. It has a 15.5-inch clear plastic body that’s outfitted with four durable metal feeding ports. It has an attractive brushed copper finish on its lid, which features a generous overhang to keep the seed from getting wet in inclement weather.
This tube feeder can hold up to 1.5 pounds of food, and it’s the perfect size to attract cardinals, goldfinches, and chickadees. The top of the feeder comes off for easy filling, and the bottom is removable, as well, making the whole thing a breeze to clean. Plus, two of the perches are adjustable, allowing you to welcome larger birds if desired.
Best Platform: Nature's Way Bird Products Cedar Platform Tray Bird Feeder
Attractive wooden design
Works for most birds
Difficult to hang
Some seeds slip through the perforations
Many bird feeders aren’t large enough for big birds to use, and if you want to welcome all sizes of feathered friends into your yard, you’ll want a product like the Nature’s Way Tray Bird Feeder. This simple feeder is made up of a rot-resistant cedar frame lined with a piece of rubber-coated perforated mesh. All you have to do is fill the tray with birdseed of your choice, and your resident birds will be able to land on the platform and have a snack.
Because of its simple design, this bird feeder can be used with all sorts of feed, including sunflowers, peanuts, and specialty mixes—though, our tester found that small seeds, such as millet, can fall through the cracks. It comes with vinyl coated steel cables for hanging, but there’s no hanging hardware, so you’ll need a hook or appropriately-sized tree branch to support it.
Best Thistle: Stokes Select 38194 Bird Feeder
Drainage holes in bottom tray
Bright color helps attract birds
Thistle, also called nyjer seed, should be your go-to birdseed if you want to attract finches, but the problem is that these small seeds can easily fall out of regular bird feeders. Instead, you’ll want a model specifically designed for thistle, such as the Stokes Select Bird Feeder. This small, brightly-colored feeder looks like a regular tube feeder, but instead of feeding ports, it has mesh sides that allow finches to grab thistle directly.
This thistle feeder has a bright yellow top and base to capture the attention of birds in your yard, and it has a tray at the bottom to minimize seed waste. Don’t worry about your feed getting soggy, either, as there are drainage holes in the bottom. The only downside of this feeder is that it’s quite small, measuring just 9 inches tall and holding just over 0.5 pounds of thistle.
Best Squirrel-Proof: Droll Yankees Big Top Bird Feeder
Holds a lot of seed
Lifetime warranty against squirrel damage
No perches for birds
If you have unwanted squirrels that regularly eat from your bird feeders, the Droll Yankees Big Top Feeder is designed to deter these pesky creatures. The hopper-style feeder comes with an oversized plastic dome that can be adjusted up or down, preventing squirrels from stealing seeds.
This large feeder has an impressive 3-pound capacity, and there are eight ports where birds can eat. Because the protective dome is height-adjustable, you can raise it to allow larger birds inside or keep it low for just small birds. The feeder is made from UV-stabilized plastic that won’t yellow in the sunlight, and it even has a lifetime warranty against squirrel damage.
Best for Small Birds: Perky-Pet Copper Panorama Bird feeder
Attractive copper finish
Attracts lots of small birds
Won’t bring in larger birds
Large bird species like blue jays can scare away smaller birds, and if you only want the latter at your feeders, try a product like the Perky-Pet Copper Panorama Bird Feeder. This compact feeder is too small for large birds to use, making it ideal for attracting finches, sparrows, and more.
The hopper-style feeder comes in several colors, and it has a 2-pound central seed holder with a 360-degree perch at the bottom. It can be used with any type of seed, allowing you to cater to your birds’ preferences, and the tray at the bottom prevents too much waste from falling out. However, during our testing, our tester found that water can pool at the bottom of the reservoir after it rains, which can spoil the feed, so it’s best located in a sheltered location.
Best for Songbirds: Droll Yankees Ring Pull Silver Sunflower Feeder
Multiple sizes available
Metal perches, base, and lid
Ring pull makes disassembly quick
Can be mounted to a pole/tray
Pricier than other feeders
Common songbirds like cardinals, chickadees, and robins will all happily eat black oil sunflower seeds, so to bring them into your yard, you’ll want a feeder like the Droll Yankees Ring Pull Sunflower Feeder. This tube feeder is specifically designed to be used with sunflower seeds, and it comes in both 16- and 20-inch lengths that hole 1 and 2.5 pounds of seed, respectively.
This durable bird feeder is made from UV-stabilized plastic with a metal lid, base, and feeding ports, and it comes with a lifetime warranty against squirrel damage. It has six ports where birds can eat, and the ring pull design allows you to disassemble the whole feeder quickly, making it extremely easy to clean. Plus, the base of the feeder has both pole-mount and tray attachments, allowing you to display it in several different ways.
Best for Balconies: WOSIBO Deck Hook Bird Feeder
Ideal for decks and balconies
Hooks to hold additional feeder or decorations
Easy to install
Small feeder tray
No squirrel deterrent
You can feed all types of birds from your balcony with the WOSIBO Deck Hook Bird Feeder, which attaches right to the railing or other support. This unique product includes a 37-inch pole with two hooks where you can hang small feeders or decor, as well as a metal mesh feeder tray and a plastic bowl for water. These trays are 7 inches wide and can be turned in any direction on the support pole, and the whole thing clamps to rails up to 2.5 inches thick. The central support of this feeder is made from a coated, weather-resistant steel, and it can be installed easily without any tools.
Best for Window: Uncommon Goods Glass House Bird Feeder
Beautiful handmade glass construction
Wire backup in case suction cups fail
Makes it easy to watch birds
Will need to be refilled frequently
Seed will get soggy when it rains
You’ll be able to watch birds eat right outside your window with the cute Glass House Bird Feeder. This glass feeder suctions cups right to your window, giving you front row seats to all the antics of your feathered friends.
This handmade feeder has a diamond shape with brass seams along each of its glass panels, and there’s a small lip on the front where birds can perch to eat. The feeder comes with three suction cups, but there’s also a wire on top that you can use to anchor the piece even further—after all, it will likely break if it falls.
The Brome Squirrel Solution Wild Bird Feeder is a great all-around option for most yards. It’s made from sturdy materials and has a generous 3.4-pound capacity, and its unique wire cage prevents squirrels from eating the birdseed inside. If you prefer a platform-style feeder, which can be used by birds and critters of all sizes, consider the Nature's Way Bird Products Platform Tray Bird Feeder, which is made from rot-resistant cedarwood.
What to Look for in a Bird Feeder
There are five main types of bird feeders: ground or platform, hopper, hummingbird, tube, and suet. Ground feeders have screened bottoms to prevent seeds from spilling and attract the largest variety of birds but should not be used if you (or your neighbors) have cats. Hopper feeders are sturdy, bird-friendly, and hold a lot of seeds. Hummingbird feeders should be filled with sugar water and placed in the shade near a window. Tube feeders are the most common type and attract small birds. Suet feeders can be hung from poles and attract less common birds like woodpeckers, bluebirds, and goldfinches.
Plastic bird feeders should have metal reinforcements and metal perches to keep squirrels away. If you’re choosing a wooden bird feeder, make sure it’s made of weather-resistant cedar or is stained or painted.
The type of food you select will affect what kinds of birds frequent your feeder. Ground-feeding birds like medium cracked corn, but this type of feed tends to rot. Millet is popular for small-beaked, ground-feeding birds. Milo, wheat, and oats are inexpensive but tend to attract rodents. Insect-eating birds, like woodpeckers and wrens, like suet (a mix of beef fat and seed). If you want to attract a wide variety of birds, sunflower seeds are a great choice.
Where’s the best place to put a bird feeder?
There are several factors to consider when choosing a spot for a bird feeder. In general, it’s best to choose a quiet area that’s readily visible to birds, and your feeder should be within 10 to 12 feet of suitable shelter, such as brush or trees, where birds can quickly retreat if they sense danger. If you have a problem with squirrels on your feeders, place them several feet away from surfaces like tree branches and fences to prevent the critters from jumping onto the feeder.
Of course, you’ll also want to select a location where you can easily view the birds—after all, that’s likely why you’re putting up a feeder in the first place!
How often should you clean a bird feeder?
It’s important to keep bird feeders clean to prevent diseases among your feathered friends, and it’s best to clean bird feeders at least once a month. Because they have sugary foods, hummingbird feeders and oriole feeders can get moldy faster and should be cleaned more frequently—typically every time you refill them. You’ll also want to regularly remove old or damp seed and seed hulls from beneath your feeders to prevent them from getting moldy and attracting pests.
How can you deter squirrels from bird feeders?
Squirrels are just as fond of birdseed as birds are, and you’ll often find them attempting to climb on and eat from your feeders. There are several steps you can take to keep squirrels off bird feeders, but keep in mind that these little critters are quite crafty and can often get around basic obstacles.
To start, you’ll want to place bird feeders at least 12 feet away from surfaces that squirrels can jump off, and when possible, on a smooth metal pole at least 6 feet tall. Other tactics to help deter squirrels include putting cages around feeders, as this will prevent them from reaching the seed, or installing a dome or baffle above and below the feeder. For maximum effectiveness, these should be at least 15 inches wide. You can also buy specific squirrel-proof bird feeders, which have pest-deterring features built-in.
Can bird feeders attract rats, mice, and other pests?
Mice, rats, and other seed-eating pests are often attracted to bird feeders, especially if your birds are messy and leave seeds scattered around on the ground below. To keep pests away from bird feeders, it’s best to remove any ground-feeding areas or open platform feeders, which mice can easily use. You can also try hanging feeders from metal poles several feet off the ground and regularly cleaning underneath the feeding area. Finally, store your extra birdseed in an airtight metal or durable plastic container.
Why Trust The Spruce?
This article was written by Camryn Rabideau, a freelance contributor for The Spruce. For this article, she considered dozens of bird feeders of various styles, evaluating their construction, capacity, and any special features. She also looked at customer reviews, as well as insights from our product testers, and she, herself, owns the Droll Yankees Big Top Bird Feeder, which does a great job deterring squirrels and chipmunks in her yard.