How to Hang a Bird Feeder? (Everything You Need to Know)

Tori Rhodes
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How to hang a bird feeder?

Hanging a bird feeder is a relatively easy task. In fact, many of us take those jobs for granted.

But if you ever tried asking a bird’s view about it, you will soon realize how easy it is to screw this project up. So to save some trouble, read our bird feeder hanging tips now.

First of all, hang the bird feeder from a strong and stable beam, tree branch or even a roof. Avoid supporting it with lightweight cables or chains. The bird will break even the strongest held threads.

Decide where to hang the bird feeder. You want to be sure that there’s enough space for multiple passerine birds to feed simultaneously without being too crowded. Also, keep at least 3-100 feet from the bird feeder for non-feeder birds to spread out.

Finally, place the bird feeder at a level that makes it easier for the birds to reach their natural food sources. This will encourage the birds to come visit your feeder.

Before you hang a bird feeder, ensure that you have a safe and sturdy selection of hooks for strong support. You should also consider using special hooks that will help the birds attach themselves when feeding.

Tree branch hooks

If you are a backyard gardener or a landscaper, chances are you spend some time with your bird feeder.

Whether it is a hummingbird fountain or a bird sky-view, bird feeding is not something you do once and forget.

But what if you want to scale down your feeder time and see more birds in your backyard, garden or balcony?

In my experience, you can start by picking the right feeder.

Here is my pick of 6 bird feeders you will enjoy watching in your backyard or your balcony.

Maybe you had this idea of hanging your bird feeder in just any old tree or placing it on the ground. But before you take that close look at all bird feeders, you should first make sure of the right way to hang a bird feeder.

The reason why you need to think about tree-based feeders or hanging them from your balcony or layout is that not all birds are able to feed from food on the ground.

It is a protective measure to keep them safe from vultures or other predators.

In these cases, you need a feeder that allows hovering & perching to wean the birds.

Your backyard or terrace should be interlocked with the design so that the birds can perch on it and eat. If not, they won’t come.

Deck hangers

Are wooden or metal brackets that are designed for hanging bird feeders.

They are typically sold in pairs and are usually available in most hardware stores or garden supply centers.

Hanging a bird feeder on a deck can be a very pleasant experience, especially if you do it in the winter.

Decking, as it is also known, can give you the perfect bird watching spot without having to venture out of the comfort of your home.

Yard feeder poles

Will be your secret weapon for attracting a very large variety of birds.

Efficient luring is the key to attracting a wide diversity of birds to your yard. The type of feeder substrate you choose will formulate the basics of how efficient luring will occur.

When it comes to feeder pole design, there are two types of poles: one that is set into the ground, which is called the ground. The other one relies on your existing deck or wall to support the weight of the pole.

In both cases, you will need to mount the feeder.

In the case of a pole sitting in the ground, support stakes should be used to secure the pole in the ground. For the other pole where the weight of the feeder will be on the deck or wall instead of directly on the soil, you will need to use mounting rings.

Have in mind that mounting your feeders on poles makes them a more attractive treat for squirrels.

Since they are free to jump on them, squirrels will be able to jump onto your bird feeder first and eat away the treat, without your birds getting a drop.

As a countermeasure to this, you can use a squirrel baffle. This device prevents squirrels from getting to the feeder but allows birds to feed off it.

Window feeders

Are the perfect solution for birds who want lots of access to food. People often wonder how to hang a window bird feeder, and the answer to this question is quite simple. You simply fasten the window bird feeder to the window. There are two main ways in which you can hang your window bird feeder.

Hanging brackets

There are many ways to hang a bird feeder. You can get special hanging devices, but if you don’t want to spend money on them, you can use old parts of toys or household items to hang your bird feeders on.

For example, you can use empty toilet paper rolls for this purpose, cut them open and hang your feeders from the roll.

Another great way to hang your feeders is using small tree skirts. They are strong, pretty and don’t cost anything. You can hang your feeders with this method, though keep in mind that you need to screw your feeders to the skirts.

Also, there are some products that can help you to hang your feeders without having to use your hands. For example, suction cups are great because they provide a comfortable and dependable hold, and you don’t have to worry about your feeder toppling over.

Keep in mind that all suction cups are made differently, so make sure you choose one that’s efficient, reliable and durable.

Where to hang a bird feeder?

Bird feeders are an excellent way to watch birds up close and to attract them to your yard. The only thing you need to do is to take care of some basic considerations.

Creating the right conditions and the right place to position the bird feeder are key to maximizing success in attracting and keeping birds.

First of all, you need the right feeder to attract birds that you want to attract. By placing the feeder in the wrong place, you can make it difficult for birds to use it.

There are many different types of bird feeders on the market today, from platform feeders to pole feeders.

When picking the right feeder, the most important thing is to make sure it can hold the right amount of food to attract a large number of birds without drying out. If the feeder is too small, it can quickly run out of food and the animals can’t keep coming back.

Birds are territorial creatures and they constantly fight over territories. Most of them are also aggressively territorial towards strangers.

That’s why they like to stick to one spot and avoid competition with other birds. The place you pick to put the bird feeder needs to be a good strategic spot.

If you put it in the right place, much of the work is already done when attracting the birds.

Non-windy location

If you live in an extremely windy place, a low branch won’t be suitable for your bird feeder. The wind can accidentally topple your bird feeder. A non-windy place is necessary for the safety of the tube.

Shaded area

When it comes to bird feeders, the most important thing is to choose the right placement. Not all feeders can be placed on trees or other objects high up because the birds will have to fly too high to get to it.

This may not be possible or advisable for the bird since it will be at risk of getting attacked by predators.

That is why you need to make sure that you don’t place the bird feeder under the tress or any large objects that can block most of the sunlight.

Your sunniest spot should be chosen and in that area you should hang your feeders in a shady area.

This will make the bird feel comfortable and safe when visiting your feeder.

Near trees or cover

Start by identifying a suitable tree or other structure or cover nearby, which the birds will nest behind. That will help camouflage your feeder. Location matters as it will easily attract migratory birds to your backyard.

The 5-7-9 rule

Every bird feeder needs to be a well-thought-of, lovingly crafted, and meticulously designed piece of art. That’s because the expense of feeding birds is not just financial but also time and patience.

What are the 5-7-9 bird feeder rules, you say?

Birds are curious. But they are also fast learners. If you’ve been feeding birds using the same feeder for some time, it’s likely that your feathered friends have now learned that they’re supposed to land or perch on the feeder to take the food.

If you install the same feeder to a new place, or replace an old feeder with a new one, birds will just naturally fly away before they can get the food. This is why the 5-7-9 rule was formulated.

In its simplest terms, here’s what the rule says:

Bird feeders should be away from the food source by at least 5 feet, 7 feet above ground, and at least 9 feet apart from other feeders.

The idea is to confuse the birds a little and force them to either approach the feeder with hesitation or go to other feeders.

Create a distance from windows

First of all, the feeder must be away from any windows so the birds will not smash into them.

Usually 10…15 feet from windows is good, but, it is not an exact measurement.

So, check with your local bird clubs for the safe distance that birds should fly from a window.

Bird feeder hanging tips to keep in mind

There are a lot of ways of hanging the feeder, and you should check every care and take the most suitable method depending on the particular feeder you’re hanging, the place you’re about to hang it, the size of your backyard, and other aspects.

Even if you don’t have any experience in this, you should look at your patio or deck and figure out how to improve it. Are there enough perches? Will they be easy for your birds to get to? Do you want to make a more comfortable one for them?

If you decide to use artificial tree branch for making your feeder, install it very high so that other birds won’t steal the food.

If you’ve decided to go with magnetic food feeder, you’d better do some research on how to attach it or install it. Use weather stripping, magnetic paint, or some other magnetic option to get it on the window frame.

Ask your friends if they have any ideas. You’ll never know how much they can help you.

There are some ways of hanging a bird feeder, I’d like to discuss:

  • Using bucket hanger
  • Using heavy duty wire or clothesline

Clear view

What is the first thing you consider when you hang a bird feeder? Your answer the option might surprise you.

Instead of considering the best place to place your bird feeder or the wire to hang it from, the first thing I usually consider is the view.

You wouldn’t want a bird feeder in your backyard if you can’t see it from your window!

And this is a part of your bird feeding journey you can enjoy!

So, before you buy a bird feeder or choose a place to hang the bird feeder, make enquiries with the neighbors on how high and wide they can see the backyard from their windows.

Refill often

Most bird feeders, filled with seeds, nuts, or dried fruit, will last one to four days. Get to the bottom of a bird feeder by pouring the contents into a larger container with a lid and re-fill empty or nearly empty container with the same type of food.

Shelter

Wildlife is often found in the most unexpected places. Make sure your neighborhood is a safe haven for all kinds of creatures by providing them with their personal bird feeders. All you need to do is read how to hang a bird feeder and get the job done.

Bird feeders are designed not only to feed wild birds but to entertain them as well. Whether you choose a hanging glass hummingbird feeder or a window feeder, both will do a great job once placed properly.

There will be a mess

It won’t be a surprise if you get some bird droppings and seed remnants from the feeder container.

To lessen this mess and make cleaning easier, I highly recommend choosing a feeder that’s wider than coffee can.

How to keep squirrels away from bird feeders?

Immediately after you buy a bird feeder, you should consider protecting your bird feeder from squirrels. Not only because squirrels love to eat birdseed, but also to protect birds from the squirrels’ constant nagging.

Apple Cider Vinegar

The simplest and most budget-friendly way to scare squirrels away from your feeder is to use apple cider vinegar. Just put some of it on your feeder and the smell will keep them away. But this smell will not disappear and the vinegar will corrode the metal. To keep the vinegar from doing damage to the feeder, you can coat it in oil or grease. Once you do that, the smell will disappear and the vinegar will no longer be effective for keeping the squirrels away.

Rubber Deterrent

Some bird feeders come with a rubber ring which you need to put around the bird feeder. That way, squirrels will not be able to get close enough to the feeder to attempt to climb up it. Just keep in mind that these rings are not squirrel-proof, as some squirrels are able to leap up into the bird feeder even if they can’t physically climb the bird feeder.

Squirrel proof feeder

How to make it?

If you don’t want birds to just land and the feeder from the ground, it is advisable to get a feeder that is hung off the ground.

First of all, you will need a metal pole. You will definitely need an attachment clamp, too. This keeps the feeder from spinning.

Once you have the items, attach the clamp to your pole and place it in the desired area. That may be a tree branch or a post in the yard.

Make sure that the clamp is as tight as possible. Otherwise, the feeder may fall off whenever the birds land on it. But tighten it too much and it may prevent the birds from reaching the food.

Squirrel baffle

Attaching a squirrel baffle or spike prevents squirrels from getting to the feeder. Bird feeders hang from a wire, so the squirrel baffle or a raccoon baffle is hung on the bottom of the support wire, protecting the feeder from birds only.

Squirrel proof feeder pole

If you live in an area with squirrels that are a pest for your bird feeder, then you need a squirrel proof feeder pole.

This pole is a freestanding unit that attaches to a tree or wall to hold your bird feeder.

There are many designs of squirrel proof feeder poles including a squirrel proof bird feeder.

You might want to choose a garden feeder stand that can hold a variety of different seed/bird feeder products. then you can switch your garden feeders around for different bird species or varieties.

It’s all about the variety and creating a nature experience that’s fun for you.

This feeder stand also folds neatly when not in use and is a great space saver so you can get out and watch the birds with your kids.

What to do if birds are not coming to your bird feeders?

If you want to give a gift to the birds in your neighborhood and watch them scavenge for their food, birdfeeders are the ultimate gift.

Birds need to be fed and they need to be monitored. You might not be around to do it several times a day and occasionally they may fly away to unknown places.

This is why a bird feeder is a great way to spoil the birds and give them a place to make a home for themselves.

There are many types of bird feeders available in the market. But if you don’t want to go through the hassle of maintaining different types of feeders, the suet cage bird feeder will be your best bet as it is easy to install, easy to clean and offers variety in their food choice since you can use suet cakes inside it.

There are many different kinds of suet cakes ranging from peanut suet cake to sunflower suet cake. The type of suet cake used depends on which bird is around.

Other than suet cakes, peanut pieces, sunflower seeds, and other foods, the suet cage will also contain water so that the birds can stay hydrated.

If you want to really spoil the birds then you can fill the feeders with nectar or sugar water. You can even make a sugar syrup by adding sugar to water and let it boil.

Add a bird bath

You can find instructions on how to hang a bird feeder in the link above. I highly recommend adding a bird bath as well as it is fun to watch the birds play in the water.

If you have a small backyard, the easiest and more economical solution is a hanging bird feeder. They come in many shapes, sizes, and designs, and they are easy to clean.

Some models include perches for the birds to land and hang. They are also easy to put together and take apart for storage.

Make sure to hang the bird feeder where it is safe and out of reach from cats or other predators.

Finally, another important step is to keep your feeder filled with food. Fresh foods and clean water attract birds more than stale food.

On a side note, a good bird feeder is also a great gift idea. Giving a present that promotes the environment in one way or another is a wonderful way to show your appreciation.

Install bright colors

Birds are not color blind! The color red attracts their attention. Also, birds have excellent eyesight when compared to humans. Install bright colors and you will have a better chance of attracting birds to your bird feeders.

You might want to check the angle of the bird. Birds are attracted by wide-angle birds. If you have a bird feeder with small angle, chances are few birds will visit the feeder.

Provide nearby perches

There are different techniques that people use to mount the feeder. You can mount it on a pole, tree branch, or even a window.

If you choose to mount a bird feeder near a window, it is important to keep the feeder in place. You can use suction cups to fix a smaller feeder. If you are planning to install a bigger feeder, you should opt for another solution. Experts recommend using a hook, string, or a bird feeder hanger.

Check seed levels regularly

Sparrows, bluebirds, chickadees and titmice are the best birds for feeding, but some other species will also visit your feeder. Depending on the particular birds that feed in your area, you can also choose an appropriate feeder. Spotted towhees, for example, prefer elevated feeders. American goldfinches, red-headed woodpeckers and grosbeaks in general prefer feeder types with perches.

Control your feeder population by removing extra seed that drops on the ground beneath the feeder.

Frequently asked questions

It is not that difficult to hang a bird feeder. It does take some time and effort, but the results are well worth the effort. The answers to the most frequent questions can be found here:

Where to hang a bird feeder?

A common mistake people make when they hang a bird feeder, is to place it too far back on a post or a deck. Make sure you place the feeder on the highest possible spot.

This is especially important for backyard bird feeders, as you need to be able to see the birds.

For people who hang their bird feeders on trees, a good place to hang bird feeders is about two limbs higher than your head. Although many bird species like to perch at or below eye level, make sure your feeder is not too close to the ground.

How to hang a bird feeder?

There are three main ways to hang a bird feeder. They are the hanger, the window hanger, and the pole. If you are using the tree or post method, you will need to buy a hanger.

Also, make sure you hang enough bird feeders.

You need at least 2 to 3 inches of space between each one. This will give your birds more room to land.

How to hang a bird feeder outside a window?

For the best bird watching, you don’t just need to bird watch from inside your house.

Set up a bird feeder outside your window. The best locations for your bird feeder are areas that have a lot of activity, like the corner of a house or fence, or from a wall overhanging your garden or yard.

Once you’ve decided on a place, you need to figure out how you want to hang the bird feeder.

The most convenient way to hang the feeder is from the outside of one of your windows.

You can hang the feeder by either hanging it under the window using hooks or straps that you can loop over the windowsill.

Or you can clasp the feeder into the window frame using suction cups.

Use suction cups to prevent the feeder from falling off in case it winds up looking a little bit crooked.

A powerful suction cup has a great clinging power. It holds the feeder in place even in gusty winds. This way, it minimizes the efforts of your birds so they can concentrate on more important things like eating and playing.

How to hang a bird feeder off a deck?

The best way to hang a bird feeder is by using a hook attached to a roof or a balcony. This way you get good height for the feeder and the birds can actually land on it which makes it easier for them to eat.

Hanging it from the side of a deck accomplishes the same goal, however it may be a little lower for the birds making it a little more challenging for them to eat.

On the other hand, hanging the feeder from a tree gives the birds even more challenges. It is out of the way for almost all the birds so the only ones eating from it may be some very small birds. Also, there is a chance that a squirrel would be able to jump to get to the feeder.

You can remedy that problem by putting a baffle (like a metal cone) on the side of the trunk of the tree facing the feeder, so the squirrel cannot jump as high as the feeder.

Hanging the feeder back on a branch is probably the worst option for a feeder because birds can easily be blocked while eating and it is also out of the way for a lot of small birds.

How to hang a bird feeder on balcony?

When living in an eco-friendly habitat, it is important to make every effort to help the environment as much as possible. So, you will need to watch out for the birds’ best interests.

When you have a balcony, you will attract all sorts of birds, and other small creatures by putting a bird feeder.

But you need to hang it in the right place. When hung directly under a roof, the roof will shade it from the sun.

A shaded feeder is a misleading feeder. Birds can see it, they can see the food, they can hear birds happily eating from it but cannot reach it. It is not very good for you to be shoving food into the beak of a bird while it flies in the air.

So consider these points to get the right location for feeders:

It should be close, but not too close, to the roof

It should be covered by the sun in the morning but not in the evening, so you could hang it right under a south-facing roof but not directly under a north-facing one.

It Should Be Well Protected from Wilds and Other Weather Events

Another good practice is to simply put up one or a couple of feeders, and leave the rest of the balcony space for birds.

It is best not to go overboard with the fancy feeding station.

Can bird feeders be too close together?

No, they can't.

Even though there is always the possibility of competition between neighbors, conflicts are likely to be prevented by birds' space-limited behavior.

They tend to engage in competitive behavior only if their territorial range is too small. To illustrate this, let us use an analogy.

Imagine you are playing tennis and after every game you have to walk all the way to the net to shake hands with your partner. It would be very tiresome playing tennis in such a small space, wouldn't it?

This is how a bird feels to be in a small territory. It will lose motivation to compete for a small plot of food. And so it won't.

Even if the territory is too small, it is the aggressiveness of the individual that determines competition and territorial range is too small will fight for their territory, all the way up to the cost of their lives.

Birders often say that they rarely see territorial conflict between neighboring bird feeders. So, the best way to set up your bird feeders is to give them as much room as possible, letting them separate themselves.

Where do you hang a bird feeder?

Hanging a bird feeder in the right place will attract not only birds but also beneficial insects to your backyard. The ideal place for your bird feeder is a place that’s free from leafy vegetation, overhanging branches, houses, cars and other places where predators may hide.

A clear view of the sky is also recommended to attract swallows, sparrows, nuthatches, chickadees and other birds.

How high should a bird feeder be hung?

The answer depends on what species of birds you want to attract to your garden. There are many things to keep in mind when hanging a bird feeder to enjoy watching birds feed in your yard. Here are the top three tips to keep in mind:

Think about the kind of bird you want.

Different species will require different distances to bring you the best bird watching experience. For example, hummingbirds prefer a closer range than chickadees.

If you want to attract both types for a nature experience, hang two feeders. Remember, the birds will take their spots on the feeders based on the distance they are from the ground. Just be sure that the feeders are placed so they are within each other’s sites so they won’t accidentally waste time and energy fighting for territory.

Choose a place that’s open.

When taking the nature experience you want into account, the place in which you choose to hang a bird feeder is just as important as the kind of feeder you choose to purchase.

If you love seeing birds up close as they feed, consider hanging it from a bare tree. This will allow for greater flexibility with the feeder placement. This flexibility will also come in handy when finding a place to avoid cats.

How long does it take for birds to come to a bird feeder?

It doesn’t take much time for birds to get used to the seed feeders. They soon find out where your feeders are and they check them regularly.

Stay in your backyard and observe them for a couple of days. Do this while you are watering your plants or just walking around. Consider putting a bird book in the vicinity to keep you entertained.

Keep a watchful eye on your bird feeders as this will give you an opportunity to see bird behaviors.

For example, you will find out that some birds are very territorial and will attack other birds when they approach their feeder for food.

Others might take turns at the feeders. Some birds might jump around or dance to catch your attention to signal that they want food.

Watching these interactions might be so fascinating that you will forget the original intention of setting up the bird feeders.

How do you hang a bird feeder between two trees?

If you are wondering how to hang a bird feeder between two trees at a desired height, you have come to the right place! First, you need to understand that hanging a bird feeder between two trees is not a one way street.

Here are a few birds/trees that can get along:

  1. Pine trees and woodpeckers – Woodpeckers love pine trees; they eat the sap and the insects that are feeding on it.
  2. Oak trees and acorn woodpeckers – These are all around birds that like to spend time in oak trees. They also make their nests and feed their young with acorns, hence the name acorn woodpeckers.
  3. Maple trees and black-capped chickadees – These are both birds that benefit from sharing a tree as the maple trees are providing food for the chickadees and they in turn feed their young with insects that are living on the tree.
  4. Grosbeaks, orioles and black walnuts – While grosbeaks and orioles are bees feeders, they often go for the black walnut trees.
  5. Phoebes and willows – Phoebes will love to spend time in willows and woodpeckers will love to eat the insects that live in the willow branches.

What is the best way to hang a suet feeder?

In order to hang a suet feeder on a tree, you may need some heavy-duty string, a cable clamp or a bird hook to attach the string to.

The best place to hang it is out of reach of predators which can include raccoons, squirrels, and other birds. Fortunately, these animals don’t climb high into trees.

So, if the feeder is ready to access for larger climbing mammals, you don’t have to worry about hedgehogs or birds gulping down all the food.

You may want to hang it above a birdbath or pond so that the birds don’t have to waste any energy searching for water.

If you’re hanging it on a cable or string, use cable clamps to protect your string from fraying or getting cut by a predator.

You can also try to encourage other birds to make an effort in retrieving the suet feeder.

How do you hang a bird feeder from a high branch?

Hanging a bird feeder can add value to your home especially if it is visible from your home and you spend a lot of time on the balcony.

A quick search on any online garden forum will reveal that the first question related to home grown bird feeders will always be: how do I hang my bird feeder?

There are a number of options on hanging bird feeders out there but I have narrowed them down to two of the best options in terms of the quantity of food they hold and ease of installation.

The only downside, with bird feeders hanging from the branches of the tree, is that they may fall when a strong wind strikes the area.

The first option for a bird feeder hanging is from a bird feeder pole which can either be placed in the ground (for stability) or above the ground (which definitely gives you a better view of the birds).

The second option is to hang the bird feeder from a long line. This can be done using a bungee cord. The tough part with this method is safekeeping the bungee cord without hurting the birds.

There are multiple ways to hang a bird feeder without harming the birds or giving you a good view of them. Go out and find what suits your needs the best and have fun feeding the birds!

Can you put a hummingbird feeder next to a bird feeder?

The shelf life of nectar is only a few days, so if you plan to use your hummingbird feeder very often, you need to make sure that you always have nectar in it.

Of course, you could buy a hummingbird feeder with an integrated ant moat and pest-proofing.

However, there is an easier way to have more hummingbird feeder time without worrying about nectar: simply just add just a few table spoons of sugar water.

The sugar is fresh for the hummingbirds but the water and ant prevention is still in place.

We use both kind of feeders, but I prefer the window feeder. Why? Because you can watch hummingbirds as they feed and move around the yard.

Another common question that comes up at this point is: Can you put a hummingbird feeder next to a bird feeder? Here is the answer:

How do birds find bird feeders?

We know that birds naturally respond to the natural world, the plants and flowers, and many can hear much better than we can also.

But what about bird feeders? Do they attract birds because they curl around the trees, or do they put out some type of scent?

According to an extensive study conducted by researchers at the University of Vermont, bird feeders attract birds mostly by sight. The study reveals that birds can see a feeder up to 800 feet away, and most of the time birds will find the feeder by sight, not by scent. This means that you can use bright colors in your feeder to attract birds since they are much more likely to see the bright colors than other colors.

The rule of thumb is, the brighter the colors, the easier it is for birds to see them and the more likely the birds will be attracted to it.

Since birds can see the feeder before they ever land on it, this means you should think about the placement of your feeder before you put it up.

Also, the more you place feeders in close proximity to each other, the more birds will gather in the area, making it even easier for them to find a feeder.