If you’re truly passionate about ornithology, you will definitely enjoy feeding birds – be they wild or in captivity – to better observe their behaviour. And there’s just nothing better than bird feeders for this: they are an inestimable help to delve into their precious world that will surprise the most sceptic of humans.
Crow, for instance, have discovered that vehicles could open nuts; sparrows are able to open supermarket doors to get food, a necessity that isn’t always on hand. We’ve designed the following shopping guide to help you discover everything there is to know about bird feeders. Are you ready for it?
- 1 Key Facts
- 2 Ranking: The best bird feeders on the Australian market
- 3 Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about bird feeders
- 3.1 What are bird feeders exactly?
- 3.2 How is the ideal bird feeder?
- 3.3 What types of bird feeders are available out there?
- 3.4 When should I place food in bird feeders for wild species?
- 3.5 Where should I place my bird feeder?
- 3.6 Why opt for a bird feeder with a roof?
- 3.7 What food should I use for wild birds?
- 3.8 What kind of birds generally use bird feeders?
- 3.9 How should I clean my bird feeder?
- 3.10 Do outdoor bird feeders require special care?
- 4 Shopping Criteria
- 5 Summary
- Bird feeders are absolutely essential if you’re a bird lover, whether there are in captivity or wild.
- In Australia, feeding wild birds is legal. However, it is very important to offer the right food to each bird so as not to later their original eating patterns. It is also a great way to attract different species for observation.
- There are key aspects to consider when buying a bird feeder: it must be easy to clean and should offer a support for the animal to sit and eat in peace.
- The robustness and durability of the materials are also fundamental, in particular for outdoor models that are placed on a terrace, a window or in the garden.
Ranking: The best bird feeders on the Australian market
It has become extremely common to see people feed birds in times of need, especially during the colder months when food becomes scarce. The Australian market offers a wide range of bird feeders designed for different uses. Whether you want to attract wild birds or simply feed birds in captivity, there’s one out there tailored to your needs. In the following section, we introduce to our selection of the very best models available right now.
No. 1: C&S Products Mini Wire Bird Feeder[amazon box=”B000QFQ2EW” description_items=”0″]
Founded in 1986, C&S Products has specialised in producing high quality wildlife food and feeding accessories ever since. Their mini wire feeder is a wonderful little tool to give birds what they need – food – while allowing you to observe them and enjoy their presence. This model is easy to use and clean: simply lift the lid, fill it and put the lid back!
The mesh design allows you to pass a stick or thin pole through it for birds to use as a perch while they enjoy their meal. This bird feeder features a top hook that will allow you to hang it wherever you want – a tree branch in your garden or any protuberance on your terrace. This lightweight model is great for birdwatching experts and beginners alike.
No. 2: AnnBay Window Bird House[amazon box=”B0798MPY43″ description_items=”0″]
This bird feeder by AnnBay is a great option if you want to be able to do some birdwatching from the comfort of your own home. Using a set of three sturdy suction cups, you can easily place it on any window of your home and observe as birds stop by for a snack. Made from transparent acrylic, this bird house also features a comfortable rubber perch for the animals to rest on.
The removable tray is divided into three feeding zones, allowing you to offer different foods for more species to enjoy. This also makes the feeder easier to clean, and the holes on the bottom of the tray and feeding unit contribute to a healthier environment. The small water trough located in the tray is a nice plus for birds to hydrate themselves too.
No. 3: Fdit Bird Foraging Ball[amazon box=”B07HKVT7G9″ description_items=”0″]
This little foraging ball by Fdit is as multifunctional as it is elegant, and it will be an elegant yet useful addition to your birdcage or garden. Made from durable and safe plastic, this feeding ball is easily hung to any space you’d like via a chain-and-hook system. This stylish feeder is transparent, allowing you to conveniently notice when food is running low.
Simply open the ball in half – it is held together via four magnet points – and fill it up. The openings on the feeder make it easy for birds to eat away. This model presents a small bell that will also help you know when you have visitors to observe.
No. 4: Colorday Bird Feeder[amazon box=”B07G9FFCHX” description_items=”0″]
This no-frills bird feeder by Colorday is an option that offers incredible value for money, and it’ll be a fantastic addition to your bird’s cage. This bowl-shaped stainless steel model is resistant to rust and very easy to clean. The attachable base is made from two plates screwed together, while a metal circle holds the bowl in place.
The measurements of this feeder make it ideal for large cages at home, but also for smaller travel bags and crates so you don’t have to buy various products. Past customers have reported that their birds simply couldn’t get enough of this Colorday feeder.
No. 5: Hamkaw Gazebo Bird Feeder[amazon box=”B0079GHJXY” description_items=”0″]
Last but not least, this classic and elegant bird feeder by Hamkaw will be perfect to feed your winged friends in style in your garden. Shaped like a gazebo, it is very attractive for birds and has a large capacity so that you know there’s enough for everyone. What’s more, the transparent container allows you to see when it’s time to refill.
This model is made from resistant ABS material and will withstand harsh weather conditions. The roof also contributes to keeping the food nice and fresh, so birds can come and rest on the outer edge of the gazebo and enjoy their meal. It’s easy to clean and fill, as all you have to do is lift the roof and get on with cleaning or adding more food for birds.
Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about bird feeders
You don’t need to have a farm in the Outback to enjoy the singing of birds or to relax and observe their behaviour. All you need is a window overlooking the outside, and you’ll be able to contribute to their food throughout the year with a quality bird feeder. We discuss key points and answer the most frequently asked questions in the next section to help you get rid of any remaining doubts you may have.
What are bird feeders exactly?
Available in various shapes and sizes, these containers are placed inside or outside cages and feature an opening for birds to have access to food. External feeders also exist: these devices contain seeds and grains so that wild birds can feed during rainy periods.
Feeders for wild birds are commonly found in many western countries, and they are also being introduced in Australia. It is necessary to protect these types of bird feeders from cats when they are placed outside houses, and from squirrels or other animals when they hang in trees, parks or gardens.
How is the ideal bird feeder?
The ideal bird feeder needs to be sturdy enough to resist through the winter months. It will also need to be water and moisture resistant in order for the seeds to remain dry. Last but not least, the product you opt for should be easy to assemble, install and clean.
What types of bird feeders are available out there?
Physical and online shops offer a wide range of bird feeders, both for captive and wild birds alike. We’ll now have a look at the most common models on The Australian market. Many types are available, depending on where they should be placed, their shape, size or design:
|Type of bird feeder||Features|
|Hanging feeders||Tray or platform feeders are the most classic models, featuring holes on the bottom for the water to pass through. They are generally hung on posts, trees, walls and windows, and some have roofs for animals to cover themselves from rain and other nuisances.|
|Tube feeders||As their name indicates, they are tube-shaped and can be made from different materials, sizes and capacities.|
|Wall feeders||Their support is designed to anchor it to the wall and are commonly found in gardens, exterior terrace walls and balconies.|
|Feeder with suction cups||These models are specifically designed to be stuck on windows.|
|Hopper feeder||The hopper is a container that empties itself as the birds eat, operating by gravity drop. They are also called automatic feeders.|
|Suet feeder||Birds particularly enjoy both suet and tallow. Suet feeders feature a vertical netting through which birds can peck about.|
When should I place food in bird feeders for wild species?
You should do so during periods of prolonged cold. This is particularly recommended from mid-April until the end of August. However, please note that it is not advised at all to feed birds during spring and summer, and there are two main reasons for this.
First of all, many species become insectivorous during that period of the year. Secondly, feeding wild birds in summer may lead to the development of a dependency relationship. This is particularly true with younger birds who must learn to feed themselves.
Where should I place my bird feeder?
Having a domestic parrot in a cage and having a feeder for wild species are two quite different things. Either way, it is important that you keep them away from predators, such as cats. In that regard, look for any nearby bush on which those animals could climb and get to the feeder. If you really enjoy birdwatching, here are some tips for you:
- View: You should have a clear view on the bird feeder, so make sure to place it in an open spot that you can easily see from your window.
- Protected area: It is important that your feeder be set in a place that can also shelter birds during harsh weather conditions. If you live in a particularly rainy area, look for a place where birds can be safe from bad weather.
- Ease of use: You should set your bird feeder in a place where you can easily fill it. If you need to use a ladder to access it, it will make tasks such as cleaning much harder.
- Attractive design: It is naturally recommended to opt for a model with bright colours that will catch the eye of wild birds. You can also use pots with flowers and colourful objects next to your bird feeder.
- Appealing food: You should buy the seeds and grains most suitable to each wild bird. While hummingbirds love nectar, for instance, this isn’t the case of all species.
- Birdbaths and perches: If you want wild birds to be comfortable on your feeder and to linger around, add perches and plenty of water for them to enjoy.
- Food levels: You won’t always notice them, but many birds will sneak in to enjoy the food you offer. This is why you are encouraged to regularly check how much is left in your bird feeder.
Why opt for a bird feeder with a roof?
It usually doesn’t matter too much whether your feeder features a roof or not. That being said, it’s a good idea to have one if you want to feed wild species. First of all, they will protect birds from the rain and larger species. Secondly, a roof will keep the food dry and the birds will be able to use your feeder for the night.
What food should I use for wild birds?
It is most appropriate to use foods with a lot of calories during the colder months. Peanuts or black seeds, for instance, have a high fat content. Tallow cakes and balls are also very useful during winter, although you can use these all year round. Here is a list of recommended foods:
- Seed blend: The best ones include sunflower, ground corn and peanut.
- Sunflower seeds: Try to avoid roasted and/or salted seeds.
- Dried fruits: Crushed almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts and corn – unroasted and unsalted.
- Seeds: Small seeds like millet, oats or thistle.
- Fruits: Both fresh and dehydrated.
- Bread: Made with standard vegetable oil or vegetable oil mixed with seeds, berries or insects.
What kind of birds generally use bird feeders?
You can’t expect all birds to come and visit your feeder, but you’ll definitely see certain granivorous sparrows on a regular basis. Keep in mind that these animals always make sure that the environment is safe before approaching, which means that you may not get visiting birds right away. Here is a list of the most common species that you may observe in your backyard in Australia:
- Common blackbird
- Australian magpie
- Rainbow lorikeet
- Common starling
- House sparrow
- Noisy miner
- Sulphur-crested cockatoo
- New Holland Honeyeater
- Silver gull
- Crimson rosella
- Magpie goose
How should I clean my bird feeder?
It is essential for you to keep feeders squeaky clean, as birds can often transmit disease. It is generally recommended to clean them thoroughly once or twice a month. You are advised to wait until the end of the winter feeding season to take care of any open-air bird feeder. Here are some maintenance steps you can follow:
- Equipment: Wear rubber gloves for cleaning to avoid harmful pathogens. Make sure to have a hand brush handy – easily purchasable in online or physical pet shops – to remove dirt from hooks, hangers and poles. Or save yourself some money and simply get an old toothbrush to scrub away.
- Detachable parts: Disassemble your bird feeder as much as possible, which will allow you to thoroughly clean all its parts.
- Exterior: Make sure to also clean the exterior of your bird feeder. There may be wet traces of grains and seeds on the sides and underneath, which you should remove before cleaning.
- Products: You can either use commercial products or mix your own solution: nine parts hot water, one part chlorine. Another effective method is simply using your regular dishwashing detergent.
- Thorough cleaning: Make sure to get rid of any faeces and residues, both inside and outside the feeder.
- Rinsing and drying: Once you’ve cleaned away all organic debris and dirt, rinse thoroughly with water and dry it well before filling it again.
Do outdoor bird feeders require special care?
As you know by now, maintaining the cleanliness of your bird feeder is fundamental, considering the risk of spreading diseases. People living in snowy areas are strongly encouraged to clean their feeder during the thawing period. Bacteria tend to mix with food and water, which can lead to a potential epidemic outbreak.
It is also essential to prevent any risk of contamination via excrements or food waste. The general rule advises to clean your feeder twice a month, but feel free to do so more often if you can. You’ll quickly notice that this is a necessity if a lot of birds visit. You should also make sure that uneaten food doesn’t pile up.
You might think that getting a bird feeder is an easy task, but there are so many models and types available on the market that it can prove to be a real challenge. This is why there are a number of different aspects that you should be aware off if you want to make the right shopping decision. In the following section, we’ve detailed those key criteria to help you in your purchase.
- Captive or wild birds
- Location of the bird feeder
- Ease of use
Captive or wild birds
It is very important for you to know if you’re looking for a feeder for domestic, captive or wild birds, in particular if you’re beginning with bird feeding. Checking the measurements of the model will be essential if it is destined for a cage: you don’t want to receive your feeder and realise that it simply doesn’t fit.
Location of the bird feeder
As you’ve discovered during our article, you won’t need the same type of feeder for your house or apartment as for a terrace or garden. We explained earlier that models designed for outdoor use could be hanging, wall-mounted or fixed with suction cups, amongst others. However, remember to place your bird feeder out of the reach of predators such as cats.
Ease of use
Bird feeders should be simple and user-friendly. This basically means that it should be easy for you to refill or empty for cleaning. It is also important for your feeder to be comfortable for these winged animals, whether they are your own or roam freely through woods and urban parks.
One fundamental feature that your feeder should count with is a support or perch onto which birds can land and access the food without difficulty. Remember to consider this aspect when making your purchase.
As you discovered earlier, the market offers many different designs for bird feeders. Certain models are very decorative and tailored for your garden or terrace, but the most important aspect is always the comfort of birds. Prefer wide and spacious feeders with a roof if you want to place it outside.
The manufacturing materials of your bird feeder are naturally a fundamental criterion. You should opt for a model made with resistant and durable materials that will withstand harsh weather conditions, in particular if it is destined for outdoor use. Wooden feeders should be treated to protect them from humidity. We encourage you to always favour quality over affordability.
We have mentioned this before, but we want to emphasise on the fact that your bird feeder should be easy to clean. A model with detachable parts will make for easy maintenance. You can find simple bird feeders on the market that focus on ease of cleaning to avoid making this regular task unpleasant and uncomfortable.
Bird feeders are extremely important accessories for birds, since their sustenance depends on them. Large models with a good support for animals to rest at their leisure before eating are ideal. The great news is that the Internet now gives you access to an incredible range of bird feeders to choose from.
These products tend to be very affordable, which allows you to focus on their most important characteristics: these include their materials, design or ease of cleaning. This latter aspect is absolutely key for the health of these incredible creatures that bring so much beauty through their melodies and plumage.
If you liked our shopping guide on bird feeders, feel free to share it on your social media. You can also leave us a comment in the section below, and we’ll be more than happy to answer any question you might have!
(Source of featured image: Mikhailo Kazaryk: 72221738/ 123rf.com)