Where is the Best Place to Hang a Bird Feeder to Attract Birds to your Garden?

Modern life often removes us from the natural world as we get caught up with routine busyness inside our homes; yet we stand to benefit tremendously from nature, as numerous studies show. In turn, with increasing urbanisation, our local wildlife needs our help to survive.
Long tailed tits on hanging bird feeders
Modern life often removes us from the natural world as we get caught up with routine busyness inside our homes; yet we stand to benefit tremendously from nature, as numerous studies show. In turn, with increasing urbanisation, our local wildlife needs our help to survive.

Hanging bird feeders in your garden or on your balcony will allow you to encourage your local birds when their natural sources of food are becoming even more scarce. It will also provide you with enjoyment and pleasure to watch them. There are even hanging feeder packs to get you started.

Before you get ready with your cup of tea and binoculars, you need to hang your bird feeder in a prime location. Choosing where to hang your bird feeder is vital as it will often determine whether the birds in your garden see it and use it. There can also be some experimentation involved. You’ll be able to get a better idea of what works as you spend some time watching the wildlife in your garden and getting to know their daily routines and preferences.

Whatever bird feeder you choose, primarily you need to ensure that it is in view of passing birds. You also need to consider the protection and wellbeing of your garden birds, locating the feeder in a safe area for them.

Blue Tit in a caged bird feeder

Where is the best place to position your bird feeder?

There is a lot to think about when choosing the right location to hang your bird feeder. Run through our checklist to make sure you don’t forget anything.

✔ Protect the bird feeder from harsh weather conditions — it needs to be shaded from too much sun and sheltered from a strong wind.

✔ Locate it within a short distance of trees or hanging from a tree, if possible. Trees will provide a safe place for birds to fly up into if they spot a cat, or a sudden noise frightens them.

✔ Install bird feeders away from fences or dense foliage where cats could hide and pounce.

✔ Make sure the feeder has a good view all around it so that birds can still see predators and sense potential danger while they feed.

✔ Place the feeder in a quiet location — if you have a choice, choose to hang your bird feeder in the back garden, rather than the front garden, away from the noise of cars. You also don’t want to place the feeder too close to an exceptionally noisy household for the same reason, but also not so far away that you can’t enjoy watching the birds feed.

It may take some time, but eventually your local garden birds will feel safe feeding in your garden if you have got the location right. You will know that they trust the feeding area if they visit regularly.

How do I hang a bird feeder without a tree?

Hanging a bird feeder in a tree often comes to mind as this is a location where birds will naturally be found. But you don’t have to have trees in your garden to attract birds, there are numerous other locations to hang a feeder:

A bird feeding station with numerous feeders

A bird table

If your bird table is made from wood, such as the large Bempton bird table, hammer in some nails and hang the feeders from the table. This provides your birds with a variety of different ways to feed. A bird table is able to support larger, heavier hanging feeders such as the hanging fat ball feeder or the live food and suet feeder.

A bird feeding station

This is a practical base to hang bird feeders as it is easy to keep clean and the birds will be able to see it clearly. You can also hang fat balls and scatter seed or mealworms in the handy trays. There is also a place for water. The feeding station is pushed into the soil, or if you want to place it on a patio or decking area, there are weighted bases available.

A wall bracket

A wall bracket fixed onto a brick wall is a safe place to hang a feeder away from cats’ claws. Make sure that it is high up so that cats can’t reach it, but low enough for you to regularly clean. Ideally, install the wall bracket near to a window so that you can view the birds at a distance.

A pergola, arbour, or pavilion

Garden structures are popular, particularly arbours, pavilions, pergolas and permanent wooden gazebos. They are often the perfect place to install numerous bird feeders and hang coconut feeders! You can even hang a pretty bird table. If possible, grow some crawling plants on the structure as this will act to protect and cover the birds and make them feel more comfortable. Plants will also provide them with the odd juicy insect!

A hanging flower basket

Flower baskets offer useful locations for suet cakes and hanging seed feeders as any spilt seed will land in the basket and the plants and flowers provide the birds with some cover away from the prying eyes of predators.

An unused washing line

An unused old washing line or rope hung across some tree branches or from fence to fence can make a great place to hang some feeders. An old rotary line would also work well.

Under a shed or summer house eave

If your garden shed has enough overhang on the roof, you can hang a bird feeder underneath (or use a wall bracket if there isn’t enough space under the roof). This is only viable if you don’t use the shed daily — birds won’t go near if you banging around in the shed with items for DIY! Another good place is under the eaves of a summer house roof, but again, not if it’s a noisy area.

A window

Hanging a bird feeder on a window using strong suckers is a wonderful way to see your birds up close!

Robin sitting on a window bird feeder

How to attract birds to a hanging bird feeder

  • Always supply fresh water near the feeders!
  • Avoid toxic chemicals in the garden and make sure the fat balls you use do not use plastic netting (hang them in a variety of fat ball feeders).
  • Note down your bird visitors and their preferences to keep track of what they like to eat and the locations they feel safe feeding in.
  • Invite your neighbours to join you in encouraging the local birds if they don’t do so already. This way the bird food locations will be expanded and you can maintain each other’s bird feeders when you go on holiday.
  • Add mealworms to your hanging feeders as a special, tasty treat! Or, why not try our mealworm bird feeder mix?
  • Ensure that you routinely clean and disinfect feeders.
  • Plant lots of wild flowers around the bird feeders.
  • Leave dropped fruit and autumn leaves for the birds to enjoy. Dropped leaves provide the perfect place to find insects.
  • Provide food and shelter all year round.
  • Don’t forget the ground feeding birds! Use a ground feeder tray as well as the hanging bird feeders. You can also use a ground feeder cage to protect ground-feeding birds from predators.

External sources/references

The Wildlife Trust’s guide to cleaning bird feeders
Helping birds near you – a guide by the RSPB
Feeding birds mealworms – a guide by the BTO

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