Birds are wonderfully fascinating creatures: crows, for instance, are the only non-primates that can make and use tools, and sparrows can open supermarket doors to get food! If you’re truly passionate about birds, then you will definitely enjoy feeding them! Maybe you love to feed them in the wild?
If you’re just starting out on your bird-feeding journey, or perhaps you’re well into it but you want an updated feeder? Well, whatever the reason may be, we’ve got you covered with this ultimate guide, where we have rankings of the best bird feeders on the market, reviews of these products, and lots of hints, tips and info so you can choose the best one for you. Ready? Then let’s get started!
- 1 First things first:
- 2 Ranking: The best bird feeders in the UK
- 2.1 No. 1: Perky-Pet Deluxe Wild Bird Feeding Station (25cm x 57cm x 200cm)
- 2.2 No. 2: Jacobi Jayne Squirrel Proof Bird Feeder (33cm x 12.8cm x 12.8cm)
- 2.3 No. 3: Kingfisher Bird Feeding Station (49.5cm x 18cm x 190cm)
- 2.4 No. 4: Gardman Limited Heavy Duty Seed Feeder (14cm x 14cm x 42cm)
- 2.5 No. 5: Selections Set of 3 Squirrel Proof Bird Feeders (30cm x 17cm x 17cm)
- 3 Buying Guide: Everything you need to know about bird feeders
- 3.1 What are bird feeders?
- 3.2 What should the ideal bird feeder look like?
- 3.3 What types of bird feeders are out there?
- 3.4 What time of year is best to feed birds?
- 3.5 Where should I place my bird feeder?
- 3.6 Should my bird feeder have a roof?
- 3.7 What food should put in my feeder?
- 3.8 Which types of birds use feeders?
- 3.9 How should I clean my bird feeder?
- 3.10 How do l keep my outdoor bird feeder in good condition?
- 4 Buying Criteria
- 5 Summary:
First things first:
- Bird feeders are essential if you’re a bird lover and want to feed birds in your garden.
- In the UK, it is legal to feed wild birds.
- There are many things to consider when buying a bird feeder, we mention all of them in this article.
- The robustness and durability of the materials are also fundamental, especially if you want to put your bird feeder outdoors since if you’re not careful they could get damaged by the rain or wind.
Ranking: The best bird feeders in the UK
We’ve had a look at the bird feeders on the market, analysed prices and customer reviews, and come up with this comprehensive list of the best in the UK. You can see each of our favourite bird feeders this selection below, alongside a little description of each product. We’re certain that by the end of this ranking and this guide, you will have chosen the perfect bird feeder for you!
No. 1: Perky-Pet Deluxe Wild Bird Feeding Station (25cm x 57cm x 200cm)
First up we have this number one bestseller on Amazon by Perky-Pet. This bird feeder is two metres tall so it’s a stand-alone bird feeder, perfect for if you want a large bird feeder, or if you don’t have a suitable fence or tree to hand a smaller bird feeder from. It’s also easy to assemble and has a ground stake so you can pop in in the grass with no fuss.
What’s more, this bird feeder features a water bath and three feeders: a bowl, a suet feeder and a seed and nut feeder, so your birds can spend all day enjoying this bird feeder! It’s also made from weatherproof powder-coated steel so it won’t rust. Finally, the individual components and their heights can be adjusted according to the kinds of birds you want to attract – perfect!
No. 2: Jacobi Jayne Squirrel Proof Bird Feeder (33cm x 12.8cm x 12.8cm)
Next up we have this squirrel proof bird feeder from Jacobi Jayne. Perhaps you’ve tried various bird feeders in the past and you have noticed that squirrels and other animals tend to frequent your bird feeder. This works by having a metal shroud which is pushed down by the weight of squirrels and it closes the feeder. The birds don’t weigh enough to push down the shroud so don’t worry – the birds still feed perfectly.
This bird feeder isn’t just squirrel proof, it also features a patented Seed Tube ventilation system which lets fresh air enter the seed ports and openings at the base of the bird feeder and lets hot, humid air escape at the top. This keeps the seeds fresh and appealing for birds.
No. 3: Kingfisher Bird Feeding Station (49.5cm x 18cm x 190cm)
This stand-alone bird feeding station by Kingfisher attracts birds since it is tall and wide, and features a mesh dish, a water dish and three brackets to put as much bird food as you want on it! The traditional design and large measurements mean that it is perfect as a feature for your garden. This is good for people who want a decorative bird feeder and not just a simple one hanging from a tree.
Additionally, this bird feeding station has hundreds of five-star reviews on Amazon, has an average of 4.5 stars and is one of the most reviewed bird feeders on Amazon, so you know you will be getting a quality product with this bird feeder. What’s more, is that it is made from powder-coated steel so it won’t rust.
No. 4: Gardman Limited Heavy Duty Seed Feeder (14cm x 14cm x 42cm)
Now we have this durable all-metal feeder made from polished diecast aluminium from Gardman Limited. This bird feeder disassembles easily for easy cleaning and will hold 600g (21oz) of birdseed! Hailed by customer reviews as ‘wonderful’ and ‘really sturdy’, this product is perfect and you know it won’t get damaged during the winter months.
This bird feeder is a small one, so it’s perfect for those who are just getting started with all things bird-watching and bird-feeding and don’t want to commit to having a large bird feeding station in their garden. It is also perfect for those who have a bird feeding station with hooks on and want a bird feeder to hang from it.
No. 5: Selections Set of 3 Squirrel Proof Bird Feeders (30cm x 17cm x 17cm)
Last but certainly not least, we have this set of three bird feeders from Selections. All three of these feeders are made of powder-coated steel so you know they won’t rust, they’re squirrel proof and they have a large hook so you can easily hang them from tree branches or bird feeding station hooks.
What’s so good about these bird feeders is that all three of them are different: the yellow feeder is used for sunflower hearts and various seeds. The blue feeder is used for suet fat balls and the red feeder is used for peanuts and nuts. The attractive designs and bright colours are sure to add a pop of colour to any garden or yard!
Buying Guide: Everything you need to know about bird feeders
You’ve seen the best bird feeders on the market, now it’s time for the buying part. We’ve put together this fab list of things we recommend that you think about before making your purchase. We’ve also got a list of the most frequently asked questions by people who are considering buying bird feeders and we’ve answered them, so by the end of this section, any remaining doubts will be dispelled and any remaining questions will be answered. Let’s dive right in.
What are bird feeders?
Available in various shapes and sizes, these containers are normally placed in the garden. They’re mini cages which house things like seeds or fat balls. They usually have a little step or somewhere for the bird to stand on while they poke their beak into the cage and grab the food.
Bird feeders are sometimes on stands or have a ring at the top of them so they can be elevated. This is so that ground animals such as foxes and cats can’t get to them and eat the food that’s meant for these birds. Additionally, squirrel proof bird feeders exist for those who only want to feed birds and don’t want to feed any other animals.
What should the ideal bird feeder look like?
The ideal bird feeder needs to be sturdy enough to resist the harsh weather during the winter. It will also need to be water and moisture resistant for the seeds to remain dry. Last but not least, the product you opt for should be easy to assemble, install and clean.
What types of bird feeders are out there?
We’ll now have a look at the most common models in the UK. Many types are available, depending on where they should be placed, their shape, size or design:
|Type of bird feeder||Features|
|Hanging feeders||Tray or platform feeders are the most classic models, featuring holes on the bottom for the water to pass through. They are generally hung on posts, trees, walls and windows.|
|Tube feeders||As their name indicates, they are tube-shaped and can be made from different materials and sizes.|
|Wall feeders||Their support is designed to anchor it to the wall and is commonly found in gardens.|
|Feeder with suction cups||These models are specifically designed to be stuck on windows.|
|Hopper/Automatic feeder||The hopper is a container that empties itself as the birds eat.|
|Fat ball feeder||Fat ball feeders feature a vertical netting through which birds can peck about.|
What time of year is best to feed birds?
You should do so during periods of prolonged cold. This is particularly recommended from mid-October until the end of February. However, please note that it is not advised at all to feed birds during the winter, and there are two main reasons for this.
First of all, many species become insectivorous during that period of the year. Secondly, feeding wild birds in winter may lead to the development of a dependency relationship. This is particularly true with younger birds who must learn to feed themselves.
Where should I place my bird feeder?
Remember that the most important thing is keeping the bird feeder away from predators. Think about these things too:
- Have a good view of the bird feeder: You should have a clear view of the bird feeder, so make sure to place it in an open spot that you can easily see from your window.
- Put it in a protected area: It is important that your feeder is set in a place that can also shelter birds during harsh weather conditions.
- Put it in an easily accessible place: You should set your bird feeder in a place where you can easily fill it.
- Get a bird feeder with a nice design: It is naturally recommended to opt for a model with bright colours that will catch the eye of wild birds. You can also use pots with flowers and colourful objects next to your bird feeder.
- Put nice food in it: You should buy the seeds and grains most suitable to each wild bird. While hummingbirds love nectar, for instance, this isn’t the case of all species.
- Buy a feeder with a birdbath or a perch: If you want wild birds to be comfortable on your feeder and to linger around, add perches and plenty of water for them to enjoy.
- Keep it topped up: You are encouraged to regularly check how much is left in your bird feeder.
Should my bird feeder have a roof?
It usually doesn’t matter too much whether your feeder features a roof or not. That being said, it’s a good idea to have one if you want to feed wild species. First of all, they will protect birds from the rain and larger species. Secondly, a roof will keep the food dry and the birds will be able to use your feeder for the night.
What food should put in my feeder?
It is most appropriate to use foods with a lot of calories during the colder months. Fat balls are very useful during winter, although you can use these all year round. Here’s a list of what’s best to feed your bird.
- Seed blend: The best are sunflower and peanuts.
- Sunflower seeds: Avoid roasted and/or salted seeds.
- Nuts: Crushed almonds, hazelnuts and walnuts – unroasted and unsalted.
- Seeds: Small seeds like millet, oats or thistle.
- Fruits: Both fresh and dehydrated.
Which types of birds use feeders?
Keep in mind that these animals always make sure that the environment is safe before approaching, which means that you may not get visiting birds right away. Here is a list of the most common species that you may observe in your garden:
- Blue Tits
- Great Tits
- Collard Doves
How should I clean my bird feeder?
It is essential for you to keep feeders squeaky clean, as birds can often transmit diseases. It is generally recommended to clean them thoroughly once or twice a month. You are advised to wait until the end of the winter feeding season to take care of any open-air bird feeder. Here are some maintenance steps you can follow:
- Wear rubber gloves: Wear rubber gloves for cleaning to avoid harmful pathogens.
- Detach the parts: Disassemble your bird feeder as much as possible, which will allow you to thoroughly clean all its parts.
- Clean the exterior: Make sure to also clean the exterior of your bird feeder. There may be wet traces of grains and seeds on the sides and underneath, which you should remove before cleaning.
- Use good quality cleaning products: You can either use commercial products or mix your own solution: nine parts hot water, one part chlorine. Another effective method is simply using washing-up liquid.
- Clean thoroughly: Make sure to get rid of any faeces and residues, both inside and outside the feeder.
- Rinse and dry thoroughly: Once you’ve cleaned away all organic debris and dirt, rinse thoroughly with water and dry it well before filling it again.
How do l keep my outdoor bird feeder in good condition?
As you know by now, maintaining the cleanliness of your bird feeder is fundamental, considering the risk of spreading diseases. Bacteria tend to mix with food and water, which can lead to a potential epidemic outbreak.
It is also essential to prevent any risk of contamination via excrements or food waste. The general rule advises cleaning your feeder twice a month. You should also make sure to discard of any uneaten food since this could go bad and be a health risk to you and the birds.
You might think that getting a bird feeder is an easy task, but there are so many models and types available on the market that it can prove to be a real challenge. In the following section, gone into some detail, so you’ll have all of the knowledge to be able to choose the best bird feeder for your needs.
- Captive or wild birds?
- Where do you want to place your feeder?
- Is the bird feeder easy to use?
- What design do you want?
- What material do you want it to be made from?
- Is it easy to clean?
Captive or wild birds?
It is very important for you to know if you’re looking for a feeder for captive or wild birds. Checking the measurements of the model is essential so that you can fit all types of wild birds and if you want captive birds, get a small one so it fits.
Where do you want to place your feeder?
We explained earlier that models designed for outdoor use could be hanging, wall-mounted or fixed with suction cups, amongst others. Having said this, remember to put your bird feeder out of reach of predators.
Is the bird feeder easy to use?
Bird feeders should be user-friendly. This means that it should be easy for you to refill or empty for cleaning. It is also important for your feeder to be comfortable for birds because if they’re not they simply won’t come to your bird feeder. A good way of making your bird feeder easy for birds to use is to buy one with a perch so that they can rest while they are feeding.
What design do you want?
We’ve already touched on this, but the UK market offers many different designs for bird feeders. Certain models are very decorative and tailored for your garden, but the most important aspect is always the comfort of birds. It’s best to have spacious feeders with a roof if you want to place it outside.
What material do you want it to be made from?
The manufacturing materials of your bird feeder are naturally a fundamental criterion. You should opt for a model made with resistant and durable materials that will withstand harsh weather conditions, in particular, if it is destined for outdoor use. Wooden feeders should be treated to protect them from water damage. We encourage you to always favour quality over affordability.
Is it easy to clean?
We have mentioned this before, but we want to emphasise the fact that your bird feeder should be easy to clean. A model with detachable parts will make for easy maintenance. You can find simple bird feeders on the market that focus on ease of cleaning to avoid making this regular task unpleasant and uncomfortable.
Bird feeders are an extremely important addition to your garden if you want to look after birds and make sure that they survive food shortages. Bird feeders generally don’t cost much, but they’re very rewarding as you know that you’re doing your bit to help these little animals!
If you liked our guide, feel free to leave us a comment in the section below and let us know what your favourite types of birds to feed are, or if you have any top tips on how to attract birds to your garden. You can also share it on your social media so more of your friends can feed wild birds too!
(Source of featured image: Mikhailo Kazaryk: 72221738/ 123rf.com)