Location, location, location.
My favorite location for feeder placement is outside.
Now you may disagree, but you are making a big mistake.
Sure, putting your feeder outside means that you may have to go out to fill it once in awhile, but that's a chance you'll have to take.
All kidding aside, placement is as important or more so than the bird feed you offer.
You might offer a bird's gourmet, but if your feeder placement is all wrong, your offerings will just sit there.
If you are like me, you'll think mostly of your own needs first, and well you should.
Place your feeder where you can best see it.
If you spend most of your time at the kitchen table or at your desk then place your feeder so you can view it from those spots.
Remember, we feed birds for our own pleasure not simply for the birds.
It is pretty silly to have a feeder that you never get to see.
That would be like driving a car and you can't drive or having a swimming pool but you can't swim, they all are rather pointless.
Also, keep in mind with your feeder placement that you will need to fill and clean this feeder on a regular basis, often times during bad weather.
When the weather is bad, you may be reluctant to refill the feeder. Remember that this is probably when the birds need you the most!
If you live in the snow belt like I do, you will need to keep a path shoveled to your feeders and birdbath. Be sure to shovel an area under your feeders for the ground scratching birds like juncos.
Don't put your feeder in some hard to reach place, like the top of a high tree.
You should be able to pick up your feeder, dump out any old seed and fill it again, without having to use a ladder.
Now we move on to feeder placement that is best for birds.
Try to find a spot that meets all of the above criteria and that also offers some good cover and habitat.
It is very good for feeder placement to be near natural cover such as trees or shrubs.
By providing nearby shelter, you offer a place where the birds can hide from predators while waiting for their turn to feed.
Evergreens are particularly good because they provide excellent cover year-round and many offer pine nuts as food.
Birds need to feel comfortable, by providing habitat, your birds will feel more at ease.
The further away from protection your feeder is, the fewer visitors you will see.
As you can see, feeder placement is very important for both you and the birds
Although nearby shelter is good, don't put your feeder too close to a nearby tree.
Cats will try to use trees and other obstacles as jump-off points to catch your birds.
Squirrels will also use them to try to get to a feeder. It is best for feeder placement to be 10 to 12 feet from any tree or obstacle.
Feeder placement should also keep a bird's eye view of the surrounding grounds into consideration.
Cats and snakes hide out in flowers planted below your feeders.
You also need to consider the "mess" factor. Expect feathers, seed shells, and droppings and select a feeder location where clean-up will not be an issue.
No mess bird feed is available and you can prevent seeds from germinating if you microwave it. I find that one minute per pound does the trick.
Make sure the seed cools down before you fill your feeders.
If you have squirrels in your neighborhood, expect unwanted visitors. Squirrels especially love sunflower seeds and peanuts. You should invest in a squirrel proof feeder and baffles.
I have found that well placed carpet tack-board will keep anything from climbing a pole.
Be sure to clean your seed feeders at least once every two weeks to prevent spoilage and disease. Often seed can become moldy, and diseases such as salmonella can grow in moldy, wet seed.
At least once a week, spray your feeder with rubbing alcohol. It kills off germs and bacteria while evaporating into thin air.
No harm, no foul.
Proper placement of your feeder also allows for easy cleaning.
If you have a hummingbird feeder, be sure to clean it every three days or as the weather warrants
Next is a tricky one.
Feeder Placement in front of windows.
Placing feeders in front of your windows where you can see it, but not where your rock hard windows can cause damage to confused birds is not easy.
Birds are often fooled by the reflections seen in windows.
If bird-window collisions become a problem (and one is a problem), try moving your feeders just a bit. Hopefully that will give the birds a less reflective view of your windows.
Across North America, an estimated 100 million to one billion birds die each year after colliding with human-built structures.
The reflective and transparent characteristics of glass make windows invisible killers. Birds see a tree reflected in a window or a plant behind it, not the glass.
You can hang sun catchers or put attractive decals on your windows.
Often, shades and curtains can be partially drawn.
Attractive wind socks and other items cam be placed in front your window.
Some large cities require some lights be left on to minimize night time collisions and newer buildings have lighted outlines.
Where you place your feeders is important for you and the birds. If you don't have natural habitat, consider planting a few trees and shrubs.
With dwarf varieties, even the smallest city or urban yard can find room for a tree and some shrubs.
Water Attracts More Wildlife
For more great tips and ideas, sign up for your weekly "Gardening For Wildlife" newsletter today.