Best Bird Feeders
$62.98 at Amazon
$28.16 at Amazon
$48.06 at Amazon
|$90 List||Check Price at Amazon|
|Pros||Perching and clinging options, protects seeds from squirrels and weather||Draws a wide variety of birds, easy to clean and fill||Keeps seeds dry, easy to fill and clean||Incredibly durable, blends in with the landscape||Wildly popular with perching birds, easy to use and clean|
|Cons||More challenging to clean, fill, and set up, expensive||Does little to protect seeds||Fewer perching locations, no mesh for clinging birds||Not the most popular option, harder to clean||Attachment ring is not durable, metal netting deforms over time|
|Bottom Line||This large capacity feeder keeps birds happy and protects seeds from squirrels and weather||A reasonably priced platform feeder draws a wide variety of birds||This simple and easy to clean tube feeder works well for perching birds||This tank of a feeder thwarts local bears while keeping your birds well-fed||Great value for those who love finches and other small perching birds|
|Rating Categories||Brome Squirrel Solu...||Woodlink Going Gree...||Droll Yankees Onyx...||Birds Choice Bear P...||Perky-Pet Shorty Finch|
|Bird Friendliness (25%)|
|Species And Seed Variety (20%)|
|Seed Protection (20%)|
|Ease Of Use (20%)|
|Specs||Brome Squirrel Solu...||Woodlink Going Gree...||Droll Yankees Onyx...||Birds Choice Bear P...||Perky-Pet Shorty Finch|
|Seed options||Black oil sunflower, safflower, mixed seeds||Sunflower or mixed seed||Black oil sunflower, safflower, mixed seeds, sunflower hearts||Doesn't specify||Nyjer Seed, Thistle|
|Compatible with||Perching and clinging birds like Chickadees, nuthatches, cardinals. buntings, blue jays, titmouses, grossbeaks, finches||Perching, clinging and ground birds like chickadees, nuthatches, cardinals. buntings, blue jays, titmouses, grossbeaks, finches and possibly doves, pigeons, and quail||Perching birds like chickadees, nuthatches, goldfinches, buntings, cardinals||Chickadees goldfinches, grosbeaks, house finches, jays juncos, nuthatches, purple finches, siskins, sparros, titmice, towhees, woodpeckers||Clinging birds like finches|
|Materials||metal and plastic||recylced plastic||metal and plastic||steel||powder coated metal|
|Capacity - lbs or oz||3.4 lbs||2.5 lbs||2 lbs||4.5 lbs||0.7 lbs|
Best Overall Bird Feeder
Brome Squirrel Solution200
The high-capacity Brome Squirrel Solution200 feeder keeps the birds happy and the squirrels sad. Its integrated ventilation system and small protective ports seem to keep your seeds drier longer, keeping dangerous bacterial and fungal colonies at bay. This protection is especially important for feeders, like this one, that hold larger amounts of seed. And, if a squirrel jumps onto the feeder, its weight drags the metal frame down while the internal plastic sleeve remains in place. The frame's decorative leaves are placed strategically to block the feeding ports and protect the seeds. The outer mesh is metal, which prevents squirrels from chewing their way through it. It also has an added bonus — birds like clinging to it as they wait in line for their chance at the seeds. The squirrel deterring system worked well in our tests, and we saw titmice, chickadees, and finches enjoying this feeder.
On the downside, the Solution200 is higher maintenance than most. We had to consult its manual several times during assembly, and it takes more time to clean. That's a big deal since experts recommend washing feeders with soap and water every two weeks to avoid breeding bacteria or spreading disease. Scrubbing bird droppings off the metal cage is not our favorite step in the process. None of it is arduous, just more so than the competition. If you need a feeder that will appeal to a range of wild birds with a larger seed capacity and squirrel-stumping skills, we find that the challenges are worth the benefits.
Best Bang for Your Buck
Woodlink Going Green Platform
Platform feeders appeal to the widest array of seed-eating birds according to the Cornell Lab, and the Woodlink Going Green Platform Feeder made us believers. This feeder is one of our favorites to watch, sparking multi-species bird interactions more than any other. Larger birds like blue jays, red-bellied woodpeckers, and even ground-feeders like doves and pigeons can access it alongside your chickadee, tufted titmice, and goldfinch regulars. The platform keeps the birds safe from predators, and its metal screen floor helps separate droppings from seeds. It's incredibly easy to use. Just pour seed in and give it a quick scrub down every two weeks. The tray can accommodate any type of seed, nut, or fruit you'd like to feed your birds. Since it's easy for the birds to see what you're offering, they seemed to adapt to new foods faster using the platform than the other feeder styles.
We love this platform feeder, but it's not without flaws. The seeds are much more exposed to droppings than they are in tube feeders, and there is no protection at all from the elements. If it's raining or snowing, the seed will get wet. So, despite this feeder's large capacity, it's best to only add in what you think your flock will eat in a day. It also collects detritus like leaves and sticks, requiring more attention. We think the elevated bird-watching experience is worth the extra effort and, for a recycled product made in the USA, the price is hard to beat.
Easiest to Clean, Keeping Birds Healthy
Droll Yankees Onyx Clever Clean
The Droll Yankees Onyx Clever Clean combines the protective benefits of a tube feeder with the seed catching and perching options of a small platform. If you're feeding shelled seeds, like the ever-popular black-oil sunflowers, some birds appreciate hanging out on the lower platform to crack them open. Though the birds drained a few other feeders faster, this one wasn't far behind, attracting small to midsize birds like chickadees, nuthatches, finches, buntings, titmice, and cardinals. It has four ports with two at the bottom, and the floor is sloped to shed seed, leaving very little behind to stagnate. The small platform also has drain holes to help the seed stay dry. And yes — this feeder is easy to clean. The bottom twists out to dump debris each time you fill it and makes your bimonthly cleaning ritual a breeze. The top hinges up with a push button, so filling it is a cinch as well.
Though the feeder is plastic, which could degrade over time, it is UV treated. The ports and lid are metal, making it harder for squirrels to chew through, but it doesn't have an awning to keep the rain off the platform. The only reason this feeder doesn't earn top billing is that it doesn't keep seeds quite as dry and well protected as the Squirrel Solution200, which the birds in our study area seemed to enjoy the most. But if you don't have a squirrel problem and want a feeder that's easy to clean, here you go.
Best for Clinging Birds like Finches
Perky-Pet Shorty Finch
Built to dispense thistle seeds, the Perky-Pet Shorty Finch is beloved by its target audience of clinging birds with small beaks, largely finches and sparrows. Since local thistle seeds threaten to sprout and invade your yard, our thistle feeders dispensed nyjer seed, a similar-sized, daisy-like plant from Africa that's rich in fats and oils. It attracts American goldfinches, juncos, siskins, indigo buntings, and redpolls. The birds either cling to the mesh or perch on the bottom rim to pull the seed through, making for a fun and fluttery bird-watching experience. The bottom of the feeder has a cone shape, effectively shedding every bit of seed to resist spoiling. The lid creates an awning to protect the nyjer from rain, and the lower platform has drain holes to keep them from sitting in water. The whole thing unscrews easily for cleaning.
On the downside, a heavy rain will still get your seed wet. Especially it's windy. It's also a very targeted feeder, so it won't attract the widest array of species. The ones that come though are dedicated customers. The small seeds tend to escape as you fill the feeder and can blow away in a strong wind. The hanging ring isn't rigid, making it challenging to place on a hook, and ours broke during testing. (We replaced it with wire.) The feeder itself is powder-coated metal and mesh. It's lightweight, deforms easily, and is unlikely to become an heirloom. Still, this feeder makes watching finches feel like a sport, and it's very reasonably priced, which will help offset the higher cost of the nyjer seed itself.
Best Hummingbird Feeder
Juegoal 12-Ounce Hanging
With eight ports, an ant moat, and no leak construction, the Juegoal 12-Ounce Hanging Hummingbird Feeder blocks insect freeloaders while making it easy for birds to feed. Since the nectar hangs beneath the feeding ports, there is no positive pressure forcing sugar water droplets out on their own. This helps keep wasps away. While the moat is imperfect, and a few ants breached it during testing, it certainly helps. The entire feeder opens up when you unscrew the metal hanger, making it easy to fill and scrub down, which you should do regularly. The hummingbirds seemed to slightly prefer this feeder to the Perky-Pet Antique glass option we tested.
You do have to keep this feeder at least half full for the birds to be able to access the nectar, meaning you have to waste six ounces of every batch of nectar you make. According to the National Audubon Society, you should empty and wash your feeder twice a week in hot weather and once a week when it's cooler. Luckily, if you're making your nectar with granular sugar and water, as Audubon recommends, that won't cost much. Our other concern is that the plastic construction will break down over time, especially if it's constantly exposed to UV rays. To save money and keep it out of the landfill longer, consider setting it up in the shade. This affordable feeder is easy to maintain and keeps our local hummingbirds happy.
Why You Should Trust Us
Lead tester Clark Tate hails from a bird-watching family and grew up observing birds playing in her great grandmother's birdbath (until a bear destroyed it five years ago). From bear visitors to squirrel wars to aggressive deer, she and her family have navigated solutions to safely support local bird populations without letting the local mammals take over. Clark earned a master's degree in environmental science and worked in restoration ecology for six years, often planning for native bird habitat and planting beneficial species.
To test these feeders, Clark set them out for four days, loaded down with black-oil sunflower seed. She weighed them at the start and end of every day to see how much seed disappeared from each one. She then repeated the process for another five days, rotating different types of seed through the feeders. In addition, she spent time every morning and evening watching and photographing the birds to see how they interacted with each feeder.
Analysis and Test Results
Our tests and observations are supported by research and reports written by well-respected groups like The Cornell Lab and the National Audubon Society. Keep reading to see how conventional wisdom applies to these feeders.
First, we checked with the birds to find out which feeders they liked best, regardless of cost. Then we looked at the price tags because we know you're the one pulling out your wallet.
The feeders that offer the best value earn above-average performance scores at below-average prices. There are quite a few excellent examples in this review. Our favorite budget pick is the Woodlink Going Green Platform feeder. It's durable, easy to use, recycled, a hit with a wide range of birds, and a great deal. We love it.
The Perky-Pet Shorty Finch feeder is another great choice, especially if you're fond of finches. They flock to this simple feeder. Its powder-coated metal base and lid are connected with a fine metal mesh. It's easy for small clinging birds to grasp and does a great job of dispensing their favorite seeds, which are quite small. The Juegoal hummingbird feeder is also a great buy for all you hummingbird fans.
The top-rated Brome Squirrel Solution200 and Droll Yankees Onyx Clever Clean both cost more. They also keep your bird seed dry and mold-free, unlike the other budget options we've listed here. This helps protect bird health and is especially important if you don't clean your feeder often. That service may be worth the money.
Platform feeders attract the widest variety of birds, according to The Cornell Lab. Our tests seem to confirm their findings. The Woodlink Going Green Platform was the only feeder we tested that attracted larger birds like blue jays and red-bellied woodpeckers. At one point, we observed a rose-breasted grosbeak, a house finch, a smattering of goldfinches, and a blue jay in this platform feeder at one time. That is some gratifying bird watching.
Still, the Woodlink didn't come in first in our seed weighing tests, which relied on weighing the feeder at the beginning and end of a day. It's not a perfect test, though, since birds knock more seeds out of the tube feeders, and they leave more shells behind in the platform. Even with those handicaps, it performed well.
The Kaytee Nyjer Thistle Seed Feeder lost the most seed weight each day, by far. It was constantly mobbed, accommodating both perching and clinging birds thanks to its mesh sides and lower platform. The nyjer seed it is built to hold attracts a very specific crowd, though, mostly pine siskins and goldfinches during our test period.
If you want to accommodate a larger variety of birds, a tube feeder like the Brome Squirrel Solution200 is a great option. You can use seeds that attract a broader swath of bird species. All the tube feeders we tested lost about the same amount of feed during our test period. What sets the Solution200 apart is that its outer cage accommodates clinging birds, and a bar below each port works well for perchers. The Brome Squirrel Buster does as well, but the longer our tests went on, the less popular this smaller option seemed. So we recommend the Solution200.
While the Droll Yankees Onyx Clever and Birds Choice Bear Proof were regularly visited by perching birds, their smooth plastic and metal sides do not accommodate clinging species. The birds steadily drained the Droll Yankees feeder, though less rapidly than the most popular options. We did notice that more types of birds seemed to enjoy the Onyx Clever Clean than the Birds Choice Bear Proof, which mostly attracted finches and titmice.
We didn't see larger birds like jays or woodpeckers use any of the tube feeders during the testing period. Finches greatly preferred the Kaytee Thistle feeder to any of the tube feeders. We recommend getting one alongside a tube feeder if you have a lot of finches.
Though we saw ruby-throated hummingbirds enjoying both the Juegoal hummingbird feeder and Perky-Pet Antique option, they found the Juegoal first. They also seemed to enjoy it more often, though our nectar measuring tests were inconclusive.
Species and Seed Variety
The number of birds you're likely to see has a lot to do with how welcoming a feeder is. What matters even more in the long run is what kind of food they hold. From chunky seed and nut mixes to dried or fresh fruits, you can offer your flock any number of delicacies with the Woodlink Going Green Platform. That's a big reason why it provides such stellar bird-watching opportunities.
In contrast, the Perky-Pet Thistle Feeder and the two hummingbird feeders only accommodate one type of feed, nyjer seeds, and sugar water, respectively. It's hard to complain about watching a flock of goldfinches swirl around the thistle feeder or a few hummingbirds hovering to take a sip.
The rest of the feeders work with most popular seeds and seed mixes, including black-oil sunflower seeds. More birds prefer black-oil sunflower seeds to any other feed, so they are your best choice to attract various birds without generating waste.
The Woodlink Platform, Droll Yankees, Squirrel Solution200, and Birds Choice Bear Proof can also hold bulkier seed mixes that include peanuts or corn if you prefer. You have to be more careful with the Twinkle Star Wild and Perky-Pet Copper feeders since their openings are so small.
The Woodlink Platform isn't the runaway winner of this review because it does very little to protect birdseed from the elements or the birds themselves. Seeds are exposed to rain, snow, and bird droppings, increasing the potential for dangerous molds, fungi, and bacteria to pile up or for diseases to transfer through the flock. If you want a platform feeder, you'll have to be more careful about how much seed you set out and how often you clean it.
In contrast, the Brome Squirrel Solution200 offers impressive seed protection. Its compact feeding ports are flush with the feeder itself, keeping the seeds out of the elements. Since birds perch beside the ports to crack seeds, it also keeps their droppings out of their food. Brome also claims that warm, humid air can flow out of the top of the feeder, pulling cooler, drier air in through the bottom to keep seeds fresh. We didn't see any evidence to the contrary.
The Brome Squirrel Buster claims to employ a similar ventilation system. Unfortunately, the platform opening is large enough to collect rain and hold snow, more so than the other options we tested. Both of these feeders are squirrel-proof — unless the squirrels knock them over — so be sure to secure their attachment point.
Not to be outdone, the Birds Choice Bear Proof feeder protects seeds from bears. It certainly won't be damaged by squirrels or raccoons. Its broad lid keeps rain at bay for longer, though it doesn't help much on windy days.
The Perky-Pet Nyjer Thistle feeder has a similar roof and drainage holes in its platform to let any rainwater drain out. A heavy or sideways rain soaks through the light mesh quickly, though, and its seeds are so small and light that they can blow away in a storm. The Copper Panorama feeder's large lid helps keep seeds dry, but its locking mechanism didn't work for us, leaving it vulnerable to squirrel attacks.
The Droll Yankees Onyx feeder has a metal lid and metal ports that will slow squirrels down but no awning to protect the seeds from rain. Its platform does have drain holes, though, unlike the Twinkle Star Wild Feeder.
The Juegoal hummingbird feeder sets a water trap for ants and avoids attracting wasps with its no-leak design. The Perky-Pet Antique option offers neither of these protections.
Ease of Use
Birds eat a lot, and you'll find yourself filling these feeders often. You want it to be an easy process. The Woodlink is as uncomplicated as it gets. Just pour food on the platform. The Droll Yankees Onyx isn't much more complicated. The push of one button opens the tube. It's narrow but not challenging.
The Perky-Pet Shorty Finch, Birds Choice Bear Proof, Twinkle Star Wild Feeder, Perky-Pet Panorama, and even the Juegoal hummingbird feeder are also fairly simple to use. Just unscrew or unlock the lid first. They are about as simple to fill as you'd expect a bird feeder to be.
The Brome Squirrel Buster and Solution200 require more steps. You have to unhook the top wire and remove the outer mesh to fill the Squirrel Buster feeder. The Solution200 comes with a funnel to help you get the seed into the relatively narrow inner tube. They require more patience. With practice, we don't notice the hassle.
You should clean your feeder at least once every two weeks to limit disease or dangerous mold from spreading amongst your flying friends. If it's a hummingbird feeder, you'll need to scrub it (with soap and water) at least once a week, twice if it's hot out. For frequent tasks like this, the easier, the better.
The Woodlink Platform takes the cake here. Just dump out any extra seeds or debris, scrub it down, and rinse. The Droll Yankees Clever Clean isn't far behind, though you will need a bottle brush or a long wooden spoon, a scrubber, and some skill. Just pop the bottom platform off, wash it, and then tackle the tube. The Perky-Pet thistle feeder is similar. Unscrew the top and bottom to access the mesh tube. It's shorter than the Droll and easier to access without special brushes.
The Birds Choice Bear Proof is tall enough that most bottle brushes won't reach the center. Luckily, that's the portion of the feeder that should stay the cleanest. To scrub it, you need to remove the lid and unscrew the lower bolt. The lower section is somewhat blocked by the feeding ports that stretch across it. It's more involved but doable.
The Perky-Pet Copper Panorama and Twinkle Star feeders are shorter, with wider openings than the rest, making them easier to access with a sponge. The trick is getting enough leverage to clean the narrow openings where the seed emerges from the tube into the tray.
Both the Brome Squirrel Buster options require more disassembly before you clean them, particularly the larger Solution200. The smaller Buster's mesh is tightly and evenly spaced, making it easy to run over with a sponge. In contrast, the Solution200's widely spaced mesh and decorative leaves take longer to sanitize. We don't love cleaning these feeders, but it helps to know that the birds love them.
The Juegoal hummingbird feeder is painless to sanitize. You just have to unscrew the lid from the lower bowl to access every nook. The Perky-Pet Antique option is similar, except that you'll need a good bottle brush to clean the glass properly.
The Birds Choice Bear Proof feeder is the runaway durability winner. We can't find a weak point in this 9+ lb steel fortress. That works well for bears, but it's a good investment in general. With no plastic parts to crack in the sun, this model is built for longevity.
The Woodlink Going Green Platform is another highly durable option. The edges of the platform are made of thick, recycled plastic that seems unlikely to crack through anytime soon. The bottom mesh is powder-coated metal that will resist rusting. What seems most durable about it, though, is its simplicity. There isn't much there to break.
The two Squirrel Buster options should both resist squirrel attacks. Brome claims that the plastic elements are UV stabilized, and the metal is chew and rustproof. The Droll Yankees feeder ports and lid are all metal to prevent squirrels from damaging them.
The Perky-Pet Thistle feeder is made of powder-treated metal. Though it dents easily, it should hold up for a while. The top ring rusted and snapped during our testing period, though. It's still functional a year later, but it's far from robust.
The Perky-Pet Copper feeder's metal elements should help it last longer than the all-plastic Twinkle Star option since a metal roof shades its plastic tube. We also expect the glass and metal Perky-Pet Antique hummingbird feeder to outlast Juegoal's plastic option.
Have your binoculars at the ready. With any luck, we've discovered the best bird feeder for your favorite avian guests. Now all you need to do is kick back with a good bird ID book and get to know your neighbors.
— Clark Tate
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