Few of us will forget how loud the birds were in the spring of 2020, as our world became eerily quiet during lockdown. At the start of the pandemic, birdwatching gained popularity as people discovered a new appreciation for the natural world. Investing in a bird feeder is way to take your hobby to the next level, so you can keep tabs on the cardinals and finches that flock to your backyard. If you have the time and skills to build your own bird feeder, more power to you. But if you’d rather hold a credit card than a hammer, bird feeders are relatively inexpensive—and there are plenty of styles on the market to attract the birds you want to see most.
What to Consider
Bird feeder styles include tube, ground, platform, hopper, suet, window, and hummingbird. Cylindrical tube-style feeders are generally most popular; they have multiple feeding stations and do a solid job of keeping squirrels away. Ground and hanging platform feeders have open trays and are ideal for attracting a variety of large and small birds, but aren’t as good for deterring squirrels.
Hoppers, often designed like mini houses or gazebos, tend to have decent seed capacity and can be hung or pole-mounted. Suet-style feeders feature metal grates to hold suet cakes or bricks, which attract insect-eating birds and including woodpeckers and chickadees.
Window feeders typically attach to glass with suction cups and are your best bet for close-up birdwatching. Hummingbird feeders have reservoirs for sugar water and should be placed in partial shade. Pro tip: Make sure to clean your bird feeder at least once every two weeks or more in wet weather.
How We Chose
Our selection includes bird feeders of every major style, with ratings of four stars or more. We also cover a range of price points: bird feeders typically cost $50 or less, plus there are are budget options for under $20. Features are often specific to feeder style, and we highlighted the most notable for each. For example, hummingbird feeders should have a wide mouth to pour in liquid sugar, and any metal bird feeder should be powder-coated to prevent rust. We also looked at more general considerations, such as seed capacity and ease of refilling.
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Our Value Pick
Panorama Bird Feeder
This hopper-style bird feeder, designed to look like a gazebo with a shingle roof, is an excellent deal, priced at around $15 at the time of this writing. Made from durable plastic, the hanging, tray-style feeder holds 2.6 pounds of seed, with a twist-lock cover to keep squirrels out. The design also makes it easy to clean and refill. It comes fully assembled, available in black, bronze, and green in addition to the gray that’s shown. It’s the perfect pick for first-time birdwatchers or anyone on a budget.
The Ground Feeder
Fly-Thru Bird Feeder
Add a burst of color to your backyard with this bright, attractive red ground feeder. It’s made from post-consumer recycled plastics and designed to look like wood, featuring holes for birds to perch on and a dual-side removable tray for two different kinds of seed. It holds 8 cups of seed and is easy to refill and wipe down, plus the tray rests on slats, which increases airflow to keep seed fresh. It’s also sturdy, weighing roughly 11 pounds. The ground feeder is made in Indiana and comes in four other color combinations.
The Suet Feeder
Cedar Hanging Bird Feeder
This suet feeder does double duty, with two suet cages on either end and a center chamber to fill with 5 pounds of seed. It’s handcrafted from cedar with polycarbonate see-through windows, plus there are ledges on the sides for birds to perch. It comes with an attached cable for hanging, and it gets high marks for quality and design, with an average 4.5 stars from more than 750 customers. To refill, simply remove the roof.
The Station Feeder
Steel Multi-Bird Feeder
A station feeder is your best bet if you want to attract a variety of birds to your backyard. This one has six decorative hooks and comes with three tube feeders and a suet feeder, plus a platform feeder and water tray. The top hooks are adjustable and the two pole hooks slide up and down. The feeder stands more than 6 feet tall, made from rust-resistant, powder-coated steel with a five-prong base for securing it in the ground.
The Hummingbird Feeder
Blown Glass Bird Feeder
This gorgeous handmade blown-glass hummingbird feeder is truly a standout. It gets rave reviews for style and quality, with an average 4.8 stars. There are four perches and flower feeding ports, with a leak-proof gasket to ensure nectar doesn’t seep out the bottom. The wide mouth opening between the glass and base also makes it easy to fill. There’s an S-hook and hemp rope included, plus a cleaning brush, and it’s available in striking red, in addition to the appealing sky-blue option that’s shown.
The Tube Feeder
Classic Ring Bird Feeder
Classic tube-style bird feeders are excellent for keeping squirrels away and allow multiple birds to feed at once.
This one from Connecticut-based Droll Yankees, a company that’s been around since 1969, features six metal feeding ports and can hold 1 pound of mixed birdseed or sunflower seeds. The tube is made with UV-stabilized polycarbonate, designed to prevent discoloration over time, and comes in a 16- or 20-inch size. A stainless steel wire is included for hanging, or the feeder can be pole-mounted.
The Platform Feeder
Bamboo Hanging Bird Feeder
Platform feeders are versatile, ideal for attracting birds of various sizes, including large blue jays, medium-sized cardinals and finches, and small chickadees, plus you can fill them with multiple kinds of seeds.
The drawback is platform feeders are a magnet for squirrels, with no barriers or small openings, so you may have to refill them often. This simple, elegant feeder is made from bamboo with a rust-resistant powder-coated steel tray inside, along with stainless steel hardware. The hanging cable is covered with vinyl for added strength and durability.
The Hopper Feeder
Czarnecki Bird Feeder
This charming, country-kitsch bird feeder looks handcrafted from wood, but it’s made from more durable, rust-resistant painted metal. And while it may appear small, it holds an impressive 8 pounds of birdseed.
Two tiny windows, a front ledge for perching, and a weathervane-like piece topping the house are just a few adorable details worth a mention. There’s an attached handle, and several customers note that it hangs well on a shepherd’s hook. Keep in mind that the pole shown in some photos isn’t included.
The Window Feeder
Nature’s Hangout Bird Feeder
Window feeders are relatively inexpensive and brilliant for close-up birdwatching—no binoculars necessary. Plus, they’re great for getting young kids interested in nature and will provide kitty with hours of entertainment.
This one, made from crystal-clear acrylic, is a customer favorite, with an average 4.6 stars from more than 14,700 reviewers. It features three large suction cups and a removable birdseed tray, with holes on the bottom to prevent mold from growing.
The Decorative Feeder
Pink Coneflower Bird Feeder
This eye-catching, hot-pink cornflower bird feeder makes a lovely addition to any garden. It’s pole-mounted and stakes directly into the ground, featuring a small mesh basket on top for seeds with a removable cap for refilling. It’s made from galvanized steel and powder-coated to prevent rust, with a matte finish on the copper stem and high-gloss petals. It stands about 2.5 inches high and can be filled with a variety of seeds for attracting different birds throughout the seasons.
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