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So you’ve purchased a new bird feeding station (or made your own), and now you’re wondering where to hang it?

It’s a very common question we get asked, and there are many different factors to consider when determining the best place for a bird feeder. Your back garden may be huge or small, full of trees or without any. Some people hang their bird feeder from a washing line while others from a pole. But, where exactly is the right location?

Regardless of how it is, before you start hanging feeders for your garden birds, there are a few things you should know.

In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about where to place bird feeders and why.

Factors To Consider

Great tits on a bird feeder

Making It Accessible

The first thing you want to keep in mind is how easily accessible your feeder will be. It may be beneficial to set up a feeding station below an open window or patio where you can easily fill and refill it without disturbing the feeding birds. Make sure there are no perches for cats or squirrels to jump from above—birds sometimes eat on the ground but usually prefer a branch.

Create a Zone

Hanging a bird feeder in an open area will attract more birds. You may also want to clean up any areas in direct sunlight if it gets too hot because some birds do not like being in too much sun for very long.

Provide a clean bird feeder, and a safe place for them to land after eating. If you have a small garden, then either provide perches or try to build a platform for them to land on so they can eat without having to fly from one perch to another.

Hang It Near Water

Put bird feeders with water nearby. This way, the birds can drink and eat while at your feeder. If they do not have to leave immediately after eating or drinking, they will be more likely to return later.

You should also consider having a bird bath close to your feeding station. It’s a great way of attracting birds. Most garden birds will freshen up after a good meal and hang around a little longer after a bath. If you don’t already have one, you can learn how to make a bird bath here.

Add Some Height

You want to make sure that the feeder is at a height where the birds can easily reach it, but not as high as possible. Too high can be more dangerous than too low.

The best spot for the feeder would be at least eight feet from any structure and about five feet off the ground. This height will help stop food from spilling and attracting unwanted pests. It also reduces competition between birds in your backyard for access to food and will allow them more space to manoeuvre.

Also, making sure you hang your bird feeder higher than 5 feet keeps birds safe. Many of the birds most commonly eaten by predatory animals reside on the ground or low to the ground. The bottom line is that if a bird can’t see you they feel more comfortable feeding in your yard.

Using Plants and Nature

A good rule of thumb for locations of bird feeders is that you should place them in areas that are naturally more attractive to birds, such as from tree branches, overhangs, etc.

Ensure that you have as many trees, shrubs and bushes as possible so there is plenty of food and cover for the birds. Hanging bird feeders on or around a house can be beneficial in attracting more birds because they will have extra security and protection from predators.

Stick with native plants since these are easier to care for and can potentially attract birds that are native to that region. If a plant requires a lot of attention or maintenance, it probably doesn’t make for good “bird-food.”

If your yard does not have these environments, and you still want a feeding station outside your home, there are other alternatives for hanging your feeders.

For instance, if you do not have trees for hanging a bird feeder, consider using some support system such as poles or posts around the perimeter of your property. It is good to place your feeder on the opposite side of your home as your neighbour’s home. This will prevent the birds from being stressed out by having to always fly around houses.

Give Them Space

It is also important that your bird feeder be placed with space between the feeder and nearby objects so that birds cannot eat around it too much. This eliminates the chance of birds trying to eat seeds off of the top of the feeder or getting on top of it to get food because there is not enough room.

Most birds will not find a good eating location if they do not have enough room to spread out and perch on multiple branches while eating, as some species will try to eat amongst themselves during feeding time. Even if you place your feeder in a good location for birds, this does not mean that every bird in that area will use it unless they have some personal space.

Also, when putting up a new feeder, you should put a cone at the end of each branch to give the birds something to land on other than your window or wall. Also, try not to hang more than two feeders in one spot because this will cause competition for food leading to fighting amongst them.

Using Window Feeders

If you want your feeder to hang closer to your home, where it will be more sheltered and protected, such as under an overhang, consider using a window bird feeder. These can be attached to a kitchen window using suction cups and brackets. However, be sure to put on some bird-friendly stickers which reflect UV light so they can avoid serious injury by crashing into the window hard. Many of our feathered friends have been found injured or dead under these feeders due to window collisions that could have been avoided.

You can also try hanging your bird feeder on your porch, as long as other trees or shrubs around that will attract the passing birds. Just make sure not to hang it too close to the edge of anything so that it does not fall off.

Attracting Specific Bird Species

Busy Bird Feeder in Spring

Another important question to ask is: “What bird species do I want?”

The best place to hang a bird feeder for bluebirds, for example, would be somewhere at ground level and close to cover. For chickadees, any horizontal branch with leaves will do.

If you have just one specific type of bird in mind you are going to attract, then hang your feeder where the kind of bird is most likely to be found hanging out.

For example, if you want hummingbirds, always try to hang your feeder close enough (but not too close) to a tree with at least one flower nearby or a hummingbird bush.

Where to hang bird feeders if you want to attract cardinals and finches?

A cardinal will be able to use even the highest of your feeders without having to sit down; however, finches will require some height. A shelf about 20 feet up will provide a good location for finches.

Where to hang bird feeders if you want to attract birds like chickadees?

Chickadees are both small and acrobatic, so they’ll use just about any place with food, including the trunk of a tree and the top of an 8-foot-tall fence. You can put the feeder at any height.

How to cater for ground-feeding birds?

Hanging a bird feeder is great for various different species, but many birds such as dunnocks, chaffinches, blackbirds and robins are all ground feeders. Some larger birds, like pigeons, also love to eat from the floor. To ensure these local birds pay a visit to your garden, ensure you provide nutritious bird food on a feeding tray, but be wary of cats and squirrels. For ground-dwelling birds such as house sparrows, perhaps leave some brush piles as they create the perfect hiding places from predators.

Summary

Remember, knowing where to hang a bird feeder correctly can be quite beneficial because it lets you put the feeder up high off the ground where cats or other predators cannot reach it. It will also ensure you have birds visit time after time, which makes the planning and effort a little more worthwhile.

Additional Resources

Sources and References

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