Bird Feeder Placement: Where and How to Hang a Bird Feeder

Updated: May 15, 2024

While the type of feeder you select is important, learning how to hang your bird feeder is also part of successful backyard bird feeding.

In addition to selecting the right types of bird feeders, where you place the feeders in your yard can effect how successful you are with your backyard bird feeding. In order to attract the most birds, follow these simple tips on bird feeder placement.

Learn how (and how often) to clean bird feeders.

Measure Distance From Windows

bird feeder placementCourtesy Donna Rogers
Window bird feeders are safe for birds

To prevent window strikes, place bird feeders either within 3 feet of your windows or more than 10 feet away from them. You can even try a window bird feeder to see birds up close. If the birds hit your window from within 3 feet they will likely not be going fast enough to hurt themselves. If your feeders are more than 10 feet away, they birds should have time to make adjustments and avoid your windows. This won’t completely stop window strikes but it should help.

Here’s how to help a bird that flew into a window.

Use a Strong Bird Feeder Pole

how to hang bird feederCourtesy Danielle Yakup
Downy woodpecker perched on a bird feeder pole

If you are using a bird feeder pole or shepherd’s hook to hang your feeders, be sure that it’s large and sturdy enough to hold the weight of the feeders you plan to hang without bending.

Add a Baffle

how to hang bird feederRob Ripma
A male northern cardinal sits on a baffle, waiting for a turn at the feeder

To avoid issues with chipmunks, squirrels, raccoons, and other critters, consider using a baffle. Remember, in order for a baffle to be successful, your feeders should be places at least 10 feet from the closest object that squirrels could jump from. The top of the baffle should sit at least 4 feet off the ground.

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Hang Your Bird Feeder High

17 Jeffrader Bbxjuly20Courtesy Jeff Rader
Bird feeders may attract more than just birds!

Be sure to hang your feeders high enough that ground predators can’t jump up and catch the birds on your feeders. This bird feeder placement tip is especially important if you live in an area that has many feral cats.

Plant Shrubs Nearby

275085903 1 Tarvah Mcginty Bnb Bypc 2021Courtesy Tarvah Mcginty
Red-headed woodpeckers on a peanut feeder

Provide some nearby cover for your birds to hide should a hawk or other predator come by. Groups of small shrubs tend to be a good choice. Psst—find out what foods hawks eat.

Should You Hang a Bird Feeder Near a Birdhouse?

“My 8-year-old daughter was curious if placing a birdhouse next to a bird feeder is a good idea. But she wondered if the birds living in the house would prevent others from visiting the feeder?” asks Birds & Blooms reader Ginger Cooper.

Birding experts Kenn and Kimberly Kaufman say, “That’s a smart observation from your daughter. During the breeding season, most bird species don’t like having other birds—of any kind—too close to their nests. So if a pair chose a nest box right next to a feeder, they might try to drive away all the potential visitors, or they might be so distracted by all the traffic that they wouldn’t succeed in raising their own young.

We recommend placing nest boxes at least 20 feet away from feeders for small birds such as house wrens—and even farther away for birds like bluebirds or tree swallows.”

About the Experts

Kenn and Kimberly Kaufman are the official birding experts for Birds & Blooms. They are the creators of the Kaufman Field Guide series and they speak and lead birding trips all over the world.

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