Blog / DIY
Designed to attract a wide variety and volume of birds year-round, a bird feeding station is the ultimate one-stop shop for your backyard birds. It can become an attractive part of your landscape that provides the birds with nutrition, shade, and a safe environment. Follow these steps to choose the right location and learn about what basic elements should be included in a bird feeding station.
1. Choose a location
Whether it’s in an existing landscape or a whole new area you’ll be creating for your bird feeding station, think about where you spend your time both indoors and out. Walk around inside your house and position yourself in the spots you spend the most time in. You’ll want to choose a location where you can easily view your birding station through a window to get the most enjoyment out of it. If you plan to keep up your bird feeding station throughout the winter months, you may want to choose a location that you won’t mind navigating to in undesirable weather.
Above all else, the location of your bird feeding station should make the birds feel safe and at home. Birds are likely to feed more comfortably when near natural cover like trees, shrubs, or other vegetation. This provides shelter for birds to view their feeding area so they can see any predators while waiting for their turn to feed. Remember to keep the feeders roughly 10-12 feet from any tree or obstacle to deter unwanted pests from reaching the seed. To help prevent fatal window collisions, feeders should be hung or mounted closer than 3 feet or farther than 15 feet from a window.
2. Install a hanging method
Wherever you decide to hang your bird feeders, it’s important to choose a hanging method that is durable and sturdy. There are an abundance of decorative and simple types of yard poles and hooks available, from a traditional shepherd’s hook to a completely customizable and adjustable hook and display system like the AdjustaPole Yard Kit. You may choose to install several hooks of varying heights for visual interest. Or you could make it a statement area with a pergola or decorative trellis with hooks and spaces for feeders to be hung.
If you’ll be placing your bird feeder in an area with lots of squirrel activity, a pole baffle can be used to prevent squirrels or other pests from climbing up a pole or jumping down onto the feeders from above.
Note: We do not recommend hanging bird feeders from tree branches as this can give squirrels and pests easy access to the feeder content.
3. Select your bird feeders
Now comes the fun part – adding your feeders! Consider which birds you want to try and attract to your bird feeding station. Platform, tube and hopper bird feeders can accommodate several different seed types and will attract a wide variety of birds, while specialty feeders like hummingbird, Oriole and Bluebird are made to attract more specific bird types. And don’t forget about suet feeders! Suet is a great high energy option to offer the birds in the winter months but can also be fed throughout the year to attract woodpeckers and other birds. If squirrels are a known issue in your yard, you could consider putting up squirrel proof feeders to help deter them.
Be sure to choose feeders with features that will make it easy for you to keep clean and is safe, comfortable and healthy for the birds. For more help finding the right bird feeders for your yard, take a look at our bird feeder guide.
4. Provide a water source
The secret ingredient to any bird feeding station is a fresh source of water. All birds drink water and need to bathe regularly to keep their feathers clean. Providing a consistent source of clean and fresh water from a bird bath, fountain or a shallow pond will keep your backyard birds happy so they return regularly. Plus, even birds who don’t typically eat from bird feeders do need a water source which will increase the variety of birds who visit your bird feeding station. It’s important to keep your water source clean and change the water often to prevent bacteria from forming and spreading amongst the birds. If your water source is stagnant, you can add a fountain to keep the water moving and prevent it from becoming dirty quickly.
5. Plant the right plants
Depending on the feeders you choose and the type of birds you’re trying to attract, try to plant a few complementary native plants near your birding station. Native plants can provide the birds with additional nutrition from fruit, seeds, nectar and insects who inhabit the plant. Birds are more comfortable feeding when they have shelter or a quick hiding place nearby. Do some research on the birds in your area and find out which flowers, bushes and trees they prefer and add some color to your bird feeding station!
Note: It is advised to avoid the use of pesticides on plants since they could eliminate beneficial insects that can improve the health of the plants. Consider adding a beneficial insect house near your birding station as a chemical-free alternative.
6. Maintain it
Carrying and pouring big heavy bags of bird seed without spilling can be challenging. A bag clip like the Handle-it bag clip can help you transport small and large bags of bird seed from your garage or shed to multiple feeders with ease. The seed can be stored right inside the bag with the secure latching system and screw cap so you don’t have to worry about it spilling or spoiling.
No matter what type of feeders or seeds you provide, routine cleaning of your bird feeding station is an essential step to keep your backyard flocks healthy and avoid spreading diseases among birds. With feeding the birds comes some unavoidable mess like droppings, shelled seed and feathers. Keep the birds happy and healthy by regularly cleaning your feeders, keeping your water sources fresh and tidying up the area.
Some bird feeders and their parts are dishwasher safe and can be placed on the top rack after disassembling. Be sure to check the manufacturer’s recommendations before placing any feeder parts into your dishwasher. To wash by hand, typically all you’ll need is unscented dish detergent, a scrubbing brush or sponge and warm water. Take a look at our bird feeder cleaning instructions for further information on why and how often to clean your bird feeders.
Stagnant bird baths can be a breeding ground for harmful bacteria and microorganisms that can spread amongst your backyard birds. Don’t forget to clean and change out your water source on a regular basis whether it’s a bird bath, fountain or shallow dish.
The final step
Enjoy it! If you’ve set up your bird feeding station according to the steps described here, you’ll soon be having birds flock to it year-round. Be sure to have your camera, binoculars and checklists ready to record how many types of visitors you can see in your backyard!
The Handle-it bag clip is the all-in-one solution for using and storing big bulky bags of lawn fertilizer, bird seed, pet food, and more. It’s simple to install, reduces spills and makes it so much easier to lift and carry big, bulky bags using the built-in handle! Make your outdoor and indoor chores less of a hassle with these benefits:
- Built-in handle makes lifting and carrying bags easier
- Built-in funnel and pour spout enable easy precision pouring to reduce mess
- Two-point latching system and screw cap ensure a tight closure
- All-in-one storage solution eliminates the need for additional storage bins
- Fits bags up to 16" wide
- Holds up to 40 pounds
- Dimensions: 5" H x 15.25" W x 3.5" D
For those with a seemingly endless to-do list, here are a few ways that Handle-it can help save you time and energy while keeping you organized.
From house plants and patio containers to vegetable gardens and landscapes, the Handle-it bag clip can help you transport heavy bags of soil amendments and plant food to different areas of your house and yard with ease. You don’t need to worry about the bags spilling on the way with the two-point latching system and screw cap. Since Handle-it lets you store the contents right inside the bag, you can keep your garage or shed clean and organized.
Handle-it can help you with:
- Soil amendments
- Plant fertilizer
Yardwork can be hard work but using the Handle-it bag clip can help you easily move around the yard with heavy bags of lawn care products. Lifting bags of fertilizer and grass seed to pour into a spreader takes less effort with the help of a bag clip. Plus, you don’t have to worry about missing the mark and making a mess since the built-in funnel and pour spout let you pour with precision. And at the end of long day of outdoor chores, the Handle-it bag clip lets you confidently seal and store your bags of lawn maintenance products without worry of them spilling or spoiling.
Handle-it can help you with:
- Grass seed
- Ice melt
Keeping your furry, finned, or equine friends fed is a daily task that can become difficult if you buy pet food or litter in bulk. Large bags of food or litter can be tough to lift and challenging to pour, but the Handle-it bag clip can make it easier with the durable built-in handle, funnel and pour spout. Keep your pet food fresher longer by keeping it tightly sealed right in the bag, eliminating the need for extra storage bins and avoiding the extra time transferring food from the bag to the bin. The Handle-it bag clip has a two-point latching system and screw cap that ensures a tight closure with no risk of spilling.
Handle-it can help you with:
- Dog kibble
- Cat chow
- Clumping cat litter
- Litter pellets
- Horse feed
- Fish food
- Bird seed
The Handle-it bag clip was designed with backyard birders in mind to help you carry, pour and store large bags of bird seed. When you use Handle-it, you can transport bulky seed and feed bags to multiple bird feeders in just one trip. With the built-in funnel and pour spout, you pour out the exact amount you need in the precise direction you want it, getting more seed in the bird feeder and less on the ground. The seed can be stored inside the bag with the secure latching system and screw cap so you don’t have to worry about it going bad or making a mess.
Handle-it can help you with:
- Bird seed
More ways to use Handle-it
The uses for Handle-it are seemingly endless! There are surely more solutions that aren’t listed here, but here are a few additional ways the Handle-it bag clip can help you with your chores and hobbies:
- Wood smoker pellets
- Bath salts
- Deer corn
- Crafting supplies like beads, sand, and soy wax pellets
Learn more about how to use and install the Handle-it bag clip.
As the days grow longer and the temperatures start to rise, you should begin seeing more and more signs that Spring has arrived - and with it, the hummingbirds! You may live in an area where you find yourself lucky enough to host hummingbirds year-round, but for the rest of us, we reluctantly say goodbye to these little beauties each fall and impatiently await their return in the spring. If you're like us, you find yourself checking the hummingbird migration map daily for sightings in your area. As we watch those little hummingbird icons inch ever closer, below are some quick hummingbird feeder tips to make sure you're ready.
The tried and true formula for hummingbird food is simple: about one part white granulated sugar to four parts water. This 20% sugar concentration best mirrors the sugar concentration naturally found in flowers preferred by hummingbirds. Also, the natural sugars found in flower nectar are primarily sucrose, like that of white granulated sugar.
Boil the water for approximately 2 minutes, add the sugar, and stir to dissolve thoroughly. Cover and allow to cool before using or pouring into a clean storage bottle. A large batch of nectar can be made and stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. This makes refilling the feeder easy so you won't mind doing it every few days.
- We do NOT recommend adding red food dye or any artificial coloring to the nectar.
- Make sure to thoroughly clean your feeders before the first use of the season and before each subsequent refill (see below for more on cleaning).
- We only recommend using regular white granulated sugar in nectar preparation.
- Do NOT use honey. Honey is comprised primarily of fructose and glucose and therefore hummingbirds digest this much less efficiently. Also, fermentation and mold growth occurs much more rapidly in nectar solutions using honey than those from granulated sugar.
- Do NOT use artificial sweeteners! Remember, these sweeteners contain no calories, which means they provide no energy to the hummingbirds.
- Higher concentrations of nectar can be used. In fact, offering nectar with higher sugar concentrations early in the season and again in the late summer can help hummingbirds recover from and prepare for migration. (Don't go too overboard though! Studies show that hummingbird nectar concentration preference caps off at about 50% or 2 parts water to 1 part sugar.)
Cleaning Your Hummingbird Feeder
In order to be a responsible host, you must keep your feeder clean and full of fresh nectar. Every four or five days take down your feeder and discard any unconsumed sugar water. Be aware, in periods of extreme heat (or if you hang your feeder in direct sunlight) the nectar may need to be changed more frequently as the fermentation process can happen quicker. If you notice that the nectar is turning milky, or that white strings or black spots are growing in it, pour the nectar out and clean your feeder immediately.
Take apart your feeder and flush with hot tap water – a little vinegar can be added to the water to help prevent mold from becoming established. Visually inspect the feeder for black mold. If mold is present, place all parts in dishwasher for a thorough cleaning for a glass feeder. For a thorough cleaning on plastic feeders, use a pipe cleaner or small brush when washing the feeder parts by hand with a solution of one part bleach to nine parts hot water, or with a mild solution of unscented dish detergent and warm water. Be sure to rinse thoroughly with water and let dry completely before refilling.
This is where selecting your hummingbird feeders carefully becomes important! Always look for a hummingbird feeder with removable parts to make a thorough cleaning more feasible. Check out our selection of Easy Fill & Clean™ Nectar Feeders here!
Keeping Your Hummingbird Feeder Full
The need to change the nectar depends on the temperatures, where the feeder is hung, and number and frequency of hummingbirds feeding at your feeder. If the birds are not emptying your feeder between cleanings, it's unnecessary and wasteful to fill it completely. Fill only with the amount of nectar they will consume in a few days. Remember, hummingbirds to not use their beaks as straws for drinking nectar. Rather, they stick their beaks into the feeding port and then extend their tongue into the nectar. A hummingbird's tongue is quite long and has a very different structure than you might think, allowing them to reach rather deep for a drink. Depending on the species of hummingbird (and the individual bird) they will be able to reach pretty far down in a feeder to drink the nectar.
Over time you will get a feel for how much nectar to put in the feeder.
Happy Hummingbird Viewing!
Feel free to share your hummingbird stories with us in the comment section below - or find us on social media!