Choosing the best bird feeder for your garden

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A Nuthatch eating sunflower seeds from a bird feeder on a winter morning
Image source: K Neville on Getty images.

There’s nothing better than seeing a variety of birds flock to your garden to help themselves to your birdy buffet. But there are so many different types of seed and feeders – how do you differentiate between them all and choose the best feeder for your garden

We’ve put together a list of our favourite feeders to help you decide which one to hang in your garden to help the birds when they need it most.

Bird tables

A bird table will help you to see a wide variety of birds in your garden. You can add kitchen scraps to it, which will mean less food waste – but make sure to only put out as much food as the birds can eat in a single day. You won’t want to attract any unwanted visitors and have to try and find a way to deter mice and rats from your garden!

Bird feeding station

A bird feeding station is another way to make the most of several different feeders. Simply choose which nut, seed, or suet feeders you’d like, and add them to the feeding station – you could even go for all three! Some feeding stations will come with a little dish for adding water to offer to the birds too, meaning you can provide a decadent buffet to keep them in your garden for longer.

Ground feeders

Ground feeding blackbird
Image source: Rosemarie_Kappler on Getty images.

Not all birds will prefer a ground feeder, so be mindful of what birds you want to attract to your garden. Think robin, wren, blackbird, chaffinch… These little birds prefer to feed on the ground, and will be unlikely to peck away at feeders. Similar to a bird table, make sure that you only put out as much feed as the birds will eat in a single day. Alternatively, make sure you clear the ground feeders at the end of each day so that there’s nothing left over. 

Peanut feeders

Peanuts are a great high energy treat that are preferred by birds such as bluetits, sparrows, and greenfinches. You should always offer peanuts in a mesh peanut feeder so as to prevent any little birds choking on the whole nuts – never add peanuts to your bird table or ground feeder. As the birds will need to stay to peck away at the nuts to get their nutritious goodness, it means you’ll get to observe them for longer, too!

Squirrel-proof feeders

If you already know what type of feed you’d like to offer your garden birds, but your garden is plagued with a very different furry problem, look no further than a quality squirrel-proof feeder. Squirrel-proof feeders come in three main types: a cage to put over ground feeders; a cage surrounding hanging feeders; and feeders that use the weight of the squirrels against them. These latter feeders are more expensive, but they are the more reliable in terms of preventing squirrels from helping themselves to your bird feed.

Seed feeders

Coal tit and great tit on a seed feeder
Image source: Binnerstam on Getty images.

Seed is a great way to see a variety of birds in your garden. These can come in either the squirrel-proof variety, or just your normal seed feeder which you can hang on your bird station or from a branch in your garden. Make sure to add a variety of seed to them, such as our Robin & Songbird Wild Bird No Mess Seed Mix so as to attract different species of birds.

Window feeders

Want to get up close and personal with your garden visitors? A window feeder is the perfect choice. Simply attach your chosen feeder to your window, fill with seed, and watch the garden birds flock to your feeder from the comfort of your own armchair. Remember not to add any peanuts to your window feeder, as the smaller birds are at risk from choking on the whole nut.

Fat ball and suet feeders

If you want to see the rarer birds that your garden has to offer, fat balls and suet feeders are the way forward. These fatty treats are rich with all the energy and vitamins that birds need to get through winter and the breeding season, so can attract the rarer treecreeper and blackcap to your feeders. You could even splash out on some bird-friendly peanut butter to give them an extra treat!

Niger seed feeders

Goldfinch on a niger seed feeder
Image source: Andrew_howe on Getty images.

There’s one bird in particular who loves this tiny black seed rich in oil; the goldfinch. Those bright little birds can’t get enough of it, so if that’s the one garden visitor that you would really like to see through your window, then a niger seed feeder is the perfect choice.

Before you go…

Do your garden birds prefer a certain type of feeder in your garden? We’d love to hear all about it over on our Facebook page!

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