how to install a bird feeder

The two main things to keep in mind when deciding where to place your bird feeder are: can you see the feeder well, and is the feeder in a safe location. The first of these is easy, but the second takes a bit more planning. You’ll want to make sure the feeder is in a place that’s relatively safe from window collisions and from predators.

Perhaps counterintuitively, feeders are safest when they’re closest to windows—because if a bird takes off from the feeder and hits the window, it won’t be going at top speed and has a better chance of surviving—so it’s best to place feeders closer than 3 feet to a picture window (or even affixed to the glass or window frame). Window glass kills at least 100 million birds every year in the United States, according to estimates. Here’s more on latest findings in window safety from our magazine.

Feeders close to natural shelter such as trees or shrubs offer resting places for birds between feeding bouts and a quick refuge if a hawk flies through. Evergreens are ideal—their thick foliage buffers winter winds and offers year-round hiding places from predators.

Be careful not to locate your feeder too close to cover, though. Nearby branches can provide jumping-off points for seed-hungry squirrels and hiding places for bird-hungry cats. A distance of about 10 feet seems to be a good compromise, but try experimenting. You can provide resting and escape cover for ground-dwelling birds such as Song Sparrows and White-throated Sparrows by providing loosely stacked brush piles near your feeders. More about safe feeder placement from Project FeederWatch.

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Placing bird feeders at eye level, or approximately five feet above the ground, is the ideal overall height. It’s convenient to clean and refill your bird feeders at this height.

If bears or racoons start to cause problems in your yard, you can get rid of these unwanted guests by temporarily removing your bird feeders and/or doing so at night. If pests are unable to access your feeders, they will usually find another place to live, allowing you to reinstall your bird feeders.

Setting up a window bird feeder is the best way to observe birds from your window. Suction cup mounting systems are commonly used by window bird feeders, which enable you to mount them straight to your window. Visit our blog post to find out everything you need to know to use a window bird feeder successfully! Hummingbird or seed feeders can draw in a variety of birds to your window, depending on what you fill them with!

Every season of the year is a good time to feed birds in your backyard, but winter is especially good for it. A prevalent misperception is that birds don’t require food from bird feeders in the summer. Although fruit and insects are abundant during the summer, vulnerable birds (such as those going through molt) will still seek out simple sources of high-fat and high-protein foods.

Local outbreaks of bird diseases like Salmonellosis, House Finch Eye Disease, and Avian Flu are possible. If the wildlife center in your area advises you to take down your bird feeders, you should do so. From time to time, you might need to take your bird feeders down temporarily in order to stop dangerous bacteria from spreading. As always, maintaining clean bird feeders is crucial to safeguarding the wellbeing of your backyard birds.

Best locations for hummingbird feeders

Hummingbird feeders should be positioned away from wind to prevent sugar solution spills from swaying feeders. Additionally, as the sugar solution ages rapidly in the sun, try placing them in an area that receives most of the shade.

It’s possible that no feeders will visit you when you first set up a feeding station. Take your time; the local birds must first find the new food source. Like with any new restaurant, you might need to advertise a little to draw in customers. If, after a few days of installation, no birds visit your seed feeder, consider scattering seeds nearby to increase the feeder’s visibility. If birds gather close to your feeder but don’t visit it, scatter seeds between the feeder and their favorite spot.

The seed in the feeder might be too exposed for the birds to feel comfortable if it is blowing out or getting wet. Try moving the feeder to a calmer, more sheltered spot.

You might need to add more bird-friendly plants to your landscaping if the birds aren’t visiting. Ask someone who has a successful feeder nearby for advice, or browse our pages on bird-friendly homes for lots of ideas tailored to your area.

how to install a bird feeder