When it comes to the placement of bird feeders, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. The best location for feeders depends on the species you’re trying to attract and the time of the year you’re setting them out.
Keep reading to find out the best spots!
1. Find The Sweet Spot For Feeders And Windows
An ongoing problem with birds around houses is hitting windows. Would you believe that the best solution to this issue is placing feeders really close to windows?
If you hang feeders within 3 feet of a window, a bird at the feeder won’t be able to build up enough speed before reaching the glass to hit it hard and injure itself.
Of course, the other big advantage of keeping feeders that close is that then you get to enjoy the activity outside your windows all day long without stirring from your house. And if the windows will open, refilling the feeders becomes very convenient.
The other advantage of hanging feeders next to windows on upper floors is that you probably won’t have to worry about predators getting your feathered friends.
If you don’t want feeders that close, the minimum safe distance from windows is 10 feet, and further away is better.
2. Install Platform Feeders For Blue Jays and Doves Close To Trees And Shrubs
Most birds prefer to not stray too far from trees and shrubs. Not only do they provide a refuge from predators, but they are also a handy spot to eat the seeds they’ve gathered from your feeder.
Setting up a feeding station near some coniferous or deciduous trees and shrubs will certainly attract a lot of birds to your yard, especially in winter.
3. Keep Them Out Of Reach Of Predators
Of course, while the birds are eating your offerings, there are plenty of predators that see them as a potential meal. Raccoons, hawks, owls, and of course, domestic cats all pose a threat to the wild birds gathering together at your feeders.
It’s important to keep the birds safe from attack, and there are a few ways to make this possible.
First, keep feeders out of reach of potential killers. Hanging feeders outside windows on upper floors is one way to achieve this, but make sure that there aren’t trees so close that a determined hunter could reach them.
If you’ve set a feeder atop a post, make sure that either it’s a skinny metal pole that can’t be climbed up, or install a baffle between the ground and the feeder.
Second, provide birds with safe refuge from winged threats like hawks with thick stands of trees or shrubs that they can quickly retreat to when danger is overhead.
4. Place Platform Feeders And Peanut Rings Near Shrubbery
Birds like blue jays prefer to feed at open platforms stocked with peanuts and corn, close to the edge of shrubs or trees.
Set up a post close to the edge of your property with lots of native species nearby. That way, they’re away from the feeders frequented by songbirds, but you still get to enjoy the flashes of brilliant blue as they flock to their feeders.
5. Hang Suet Feeders In Trees
Many birds enjoy a suet feeder. Woodpeckers are the classic suet eaters, but other species such as chickadees, wrens, and even Baltimore orioles find them irresistible.
It’s a good idea to hang suet feeders on trees, as they are supplementing the insect diet of birds, and especially in winter insects are found under the bark of trees.
However, squirrels also love a good meal of suet, so you need to take precautions to keep them from eating it all up. The easiest way is by melting down the cakes and mixing in some hot pepper sauce or powder before letting them solidify again.
Otherwise, use squirrel baffles to keep them away.
6. Use Ground Feeders For Cardinals And Doves
There are some species of birds that prefer to eat at ground level, and there are special feeders that will accommodate that preference.
While you can just scatter seed and peanuts on the ground for cardinals and mourning doves, among others, that can get messy and attract vermin like rats, as well as (of course) squirrels.
If you use a feeder that contains the food, it’s less likely to get spilled all over the place, and you can easily see when your ground feeders are out of food.
7. Hang Nectar Feeders In Shaded, Sheltered Spots
When hummingbirds and orioles migrate north in late April or early May, they will hungrily descend upon their special feeders filled with sugar water.
They’re pretty flexible about using feeders designed for either species, although orioles will also appreciate orange halves and grape jelly, and there are oriole feeders designed with spikes for oranges and dishes for jelly.
It’s best to hang these nectar feeders in sheltered, shady spots. The sugar water will spoil more quickly if it gets heated up by the direct sun, and will spill out if the feeder gets knocked around by strong winds.
It’s also a good idea to keep these feeders near natural sources of nectar, such as flowering trees and shrubs, many of which will be in full bloom right when hummingbirds and orioles return.
That way, the birds will get drawn in by the flowers, and then discover your feeders.
8. Keep Them Away From Human Activity
No matter what the feeders, and species you’re trying to attract, keep them out of high-traffic areas, such as along busy walkways or next to doors that get used frequently.
Birds are understandably skittish when they see people or pets coming towards them, and will fly away at the slightest sign of movement. While they will return soon enough, it’s best to leave them to eat in peace whenever possible.
Find a happy balance between keeping bird feeders in secure, undisturbed spots, and having them located where you can enjoy the sights and sounds of birds enjoying your generosity.