Attractive wooden design
Works for most birds
Difficult to hang
Some seeds slip through the perforations
Nature’s Way Bird Products is a small Ohio company started by a bird-loving family. The brand offers bird feeders and houses of all types, which can be found in small-chain and independent retailers as well as online. We recently tested out the Nature’s Way Hanging Platform Bird Feeder, a simple yet attractive (and attractively priced) model at our Colorado home. Find out if the wooden tray-style feeder appealed to birds in our area—and if the open design invited other creatures such as squirrels.
Setup: Nothing to assemble, but tricky to hang
There isn’t much to the Nature’s Way Hanging Platform Bird Feeder: A 2.25-inch-deep cedar tray suspends from two rubber-coated wires. Since it came fully assembled, our only task was to hang it.
Unfortunately, the feeder didn’t come with any hanging hardware, so we had to find something on which to hang the two loops at the end of the wires.
A cut-off tree branch can work, but it’ll need to be no more than about .75 inch in diameter for the loops to fit over it—and it can’t have any leaves or side branches to prevent the loops from sliding over.
The holes are large enough to let some smaller seeds, such as millet, through. We found this annoying, as it creates some unnecessary mess and is also wasteful.
If hanging it from a deck or your house, you’ll need some additional hardware, ideally a hanging planter-style hook that extends out at least 7 inches to give the tray enough space so that it isn’t constantly bumping into whatever you’re hanging it from.
Buying and installing the additional hardware wasn’t difficult, but it was an additional hassle and another $5-10 we hadn’t factored into the cost of this feeder.
Loading seed into the tray required no special tricks. We simply hung the tray and poured seed into it. We did find that, as the instructions note, it’s best to fill the tray after hanging to prevent tipping and spilling seed.
Take a look at our guide to the best gardening tools available for purchase.
Design: Simple and stylish, but there are some issues
The clean wooden aesthetic was the first thing we noticed about this feeder. The cedar frame has a light water-based stain, and the branding is subtle, with a small logo burned into the wood on one side.
The company’s product description emphasizes that all screws and hanging wires are rust-proof, which is obviously key for an outdoor item. In our testing, the insect- and rot-resistant cedar stood up to weather, including snow and rain, without issue. Some online reviewers complained that the screws holding the wires in place worked themselves out over time.
A removable, perforated “Fresh Seed” tray sits in the bottom and is rubber-coated to prevent rust. We could only see the tray if standing directly above or below the feeder, but it looks nice. The tray keeps the bird seed viable and fresh by allowing moisture to drain through and air to flow around the seed. This way, if you don’t have a high volume of birds going through seed quickly, the seed sitting on the tray won’t get damp and moldy.
Larger birds like cardinals and jays might shun feeders with small feed openings but will visit tray-style feeders like this.
However, while loading the tray, we noticed the holes are large enough to let some smaller seeds, such as millet, through. We found this annoying, as it creates some unnecessary mess and is also wasteful, even if it affects a relatively small percentage of seed. For a simple solution, we could opt to use only larger feed such as sunflower seeds. However, that negates one of the reasons we’d want to tray-style feeder—to attract a wider variety of birds. Alternatively, we could make our own feed mix that omits smaller seeds, but that would require access to different feed options, likely an additional expense, and a devotion to bird-feeding that not everyone has.
When our feeder ran out of seed, it was easy to lift and remove the tray for cleaning. This could be a blessing and a curse, though, as the tray seems light enough to blow out of the frame—especially when empty and during high winds. Some simple, bendable picture frame-style clips to secure the tray might be a nice addition to the design.
Check out our guide to the best hummingbird feeders you can buy today.
Performance: Open style allows a range of birds
One of the touted benefits of an open-style feeder is that it accommodates a wider range of birds. Larger birds like cardinals and jays might shun feeders with small feed openings but will visit tray-style feeders like this.
While we did see some jays at the feeder during our testing, their larger size made the tray more like a swing than a platform. Smaller birds such as chickadees who could land on the tray without swaying it were more frequent visitors.
Unlike some more expensive feeders, this product has no special protections against squirrels. If you do have a robust squirrel population in your neighborhood, you may end up feeding squirrels and birds equally. While we have no shortage of squirrels in our yard, they didn’t rob this feeder during our testing, so it may be worth giving this lower-priced feeder a try before you assume squirrels will wipe it out daily.
Take a peek at our guide to the best squirrel-proof bird feeders.
Price: Attractive feeder at a budget price point
At roughly $25, this feeder is a budget option that still looks nice. Given the simple design, anyone relatively handy could build their own approximation of this tray, but this model has enough polish to make it feel worthy of the modest price.
Nature’s Way Hanging Platform Bird Feeder vs. Wild Wings Cedar Tray Bird Feeder
The Wild Wings Cedar Tray Bird Feeder boasts a similar tray style. The biggest difference is size, with the Wild Wings measuring 10 x 10 inches compared to the Nature’s Way 12 x 12 inches. The small difference in dimensions results in a one-quart difference in seed capacity. While you’ll save money on the less expensive Wild Wings, you’ll also have to fill your feeder a bit more frequently—and it won’t hold as many birds at once.
Interested in reading more reviews? Check out our guide to the best bird feeders.
Yes, buy it
With its large size and open style, Nature’s Way Hanging Platform Bird Feeder is a great option for a wide variety of birds—just beware of squirrels stealing the seeds. It’s affordable, attractive, and easy to fill, making it ideal for beginners who want to try out bird feeding.
- Product Name Hanging Platform Bird Feeder
- Product Brand Nature’s Way
- SKU CWF3
- Price $24.99
- Product Dimensions 2.25 x 12 x 12 in.
- Seed capacity 3 quarts
- Material Cedar, rust-free hardware, stainless steel screws, vinyl-coated steel hanging cable
- Warranty 5-year