Choosing the best bird feeder for small birds is often a trial and error process.
It really depends on what birds and other animals you have visiting your garden.
Most of us prefer to attract small, colourful birds.
By having the best bird feeder for these types of birds will improve your chances of keeping them around and enjoying their company.
In a hurry?
After years of trying various bird feeders, we finally found one that ticks all the boxes – The iBorn Squirrel Proof Bird Feeder
Table of Contents
What Makes The Best Bird Feeder For Small Birds?
A Feeder Protected With A Metal Cage
Just as I’m sure you do, me and my wife love sitting at our dining room table, watching birds feed from our feeders and drink and bathe from the birdbath.
It’s probably akin to watching tropical fish swim around and feed in a fish tank – it’s very therapeutic.
However, the opposite of therapeutic is watching a flock of wood pigeons or starlings descend on our garden and strip our feeders bare in a matter of minutes or hours.
I know these guys need to eat too, but because there are so many of them, we prefer to look after the smaller varieties.
Over the years we’ve battled with starlings and won. The pigeons, on the other hand, became a real pain.
We tried putting out different varieties of seed, to see if there was anything the pigeons didn’t particularly enjoy.
No chance. They eat pretty much anything!
Even without being able to rest on a perch, the pigeons just flap their wings furiously and hover there
We didn’t want to put a cage around our feeders, but the sheer stubbornness and determination of the pigeons meant we had no other choice.
The good news is that metal cages around a traditional, vertical feeder, stop almost any creature getting in, except for small birds.
Even squirrels can’t get to the seeds in a caged feeder.
Without some sort of cage, you’re not going to stop larger birds from getting at the seed.
Needs To Be Easily Dismantled For Cleaning
Okay, so there are plenty of caged bird feeders on the market, but nearly all of them are poorly designed when it comes to cleaning them.
Once a feeder starts getting used, it doesn’t take many days for it to accumulate bird droppings and a build-up of discarded seeds and skins that eventually turn into mulch.
This not only looks and smells bad, but it can also make birds seriously ill.
For some feeders, you need a tiny Philips screwdriver or an Alan-key to remove screws and bolts in order to dismantle the feeder.
This is an unnecessary pain in the ass, and just lazy design.
With other feeders there just isn’t an option to take the feeder apart which makes it extremely difficult/impossible to clean it.
You need a feeder that comes apart quickly and easily, so you can get to all areas for cleaning.
Unless you clean your feeders regularly (once a week or fortnightly), you’re likely to attract disease and parasites that can make your wild birds sick or worse.
A clean bird feeder will also attract more birds – so a win-win for everyone.
The iBorn Bird Feeder has a metal cage that simply lifts off.
It’s only held down by gravity, but because it’s quite heavy, it fits firmly in place.
From there, the feeding tube twists off from the base so you can easily clean the plastic feeding tube and the base.
A Domed Shaped Top And Base
Another annoying design of so many feeders is having a flat top (lid) and/or base.
All that happens is it acts as a platform for droppings and mulch, which build up much quicker on a flat surface.
Those saucer-shaped bases are the worse for the accumulation of gunk!
A dome shape will allow this type of waste to slide off the feeder. In wet weather, it’s especially useful.
UV and Rust Resistant
You can buy some lovely, ornamental looking bird feeders. We had a cream coloured one.
The problem with many of these type of feeders, is they go rusty after 12 months of British weather.
You need to ensure your feeder for small birds has a rust-proof and anti UV coating to protect it from rust and fading.
Two, Four or Six Perches?
The number of perches on your feeder is a personal choice.
It’s definitely nice to see loads of birds feeding at once.
Just two perches are enough for me, simply because the feeder needs to be much bigger to accommodate four or six perches.
We’ve got a few two perch, iBorn feeders in the garden all with a different seed.
A larger feeder means a lot more seed, and seed that potentially will sit in the feeder longer than it should.
A two perch feeder makes it easier to clean and less costly if you have to replace seed that isn’t eaten.
The iBorn Bird Feeder
- Has a strong, metal cage that can be easily removed
- UV and rust-resistant coating
- Dome-shaped base and cover
- Can be taken apart very easily and quickly for cleaning and refilling
- Ideal feeder for a wide variety of small birds
- Only has 2 perches
- Can’t think of anything else!
We love this bird feeder.
The little birds love it.
We’ve yet to find a feeder that can beat it.
Any bird that can fit through the bars can enjoy feeding from the iBorn Feeder.
It’s Squirrel proof, Pigeon proof, Dove proof, Crow and Jackdaw proof. Job done!
Niger Seed Feeder
Although the Niger Seed Feeder is on my list for “best bird feeders for small birds”, it’s really only designed for Goldfinches.
Niger seed is tiny in size, and so the Niger feeder only has very small openings – just big enough for little Goldfinch beaks.
Starlings, Pigeons, Doves etc. have never bothered with it.
In fact, it’s only the Goldfinches that enjoy niger seed.
We do get the occasional blue tit showing an interest, but on the whole, it’s the Goldfinches that eat it.
The niger seed feeder is easy to clean, easy to take apart and ‘cheap as chips’ to buy. The seed also lasts a long time.
We usually have 1 or 2 of these feeders to give the Finches more choice.
The problem we have at the moment is the Goldfinches prefer the heart seeds over anything else, so tend to ignore the niger seed if there’s a choice.
Still, it’s a good feeder to try for attracting small birds.
With the iBorn Bird Feeder, we’ve finally found a bird feeder for small birds that ticks all the boxes for us.
Pigeons and Starlings don’t even bother trying to get at the seed anymore.
In fact, we now get very few pigeons in the garden at all. 🙂
Our regular little birds are finches, tits, robins, house sparrows and dunnocks.
I also think they enjoy the security of the cage, as we often get a sparrow hawk preying on the little fellas!
Cleaning is easy as it gets due to the way the feeder comes apart.
I can’t recommend the iBorn Bird Feeder enough.
What’s your experience with using bird feeders for small birds?
Any other recommendations?
We’d love to hear from you. Please drop any comments below.