One of the easiest ways to see a variety of new bird species is to set up a bird feeder in your yard. There’s nothing better than looking out of your window to see a new species you haven’t seen before. The only question is, how do you continue attracting birds during the winter months when many birds have flown elsewhere for the winter?
Different types of birds enjoy feeders at different heights, so catering to the winter species you may see is a step in the right direction. We’ve got you covered. Read on to learn more about how you can attract birds during the winter and our picks for the best bird feeder for winter.
Related: homemade bird feeder ideas
Best Bird Feeder for Winter – Comparison Table
Reviews of the Best Bird Feeders for Winter
1. Bird Quest SBF2Y 17” Spiral Thistle Bird Feeder
If you’re really big on how your garden looks, it’s only natural that you may have concerns about your bird feeder’s appearance. That’s not a concern you need to have regarding the Bird Quest SBF2Y 17” Spiral Thistle Bird Feeder. This bird feeder has an attractive spiral design that envelops the main tube where the feed goes, so it looks exquisite. It not only looks attractive, but this feeder may also make you wish you were a bird – it looks pretty fun to play on!
The great thing about this feeder is that several birds can eat on it simultaneously due to the continuous spiral perch. It may be a bit tricky for the birds to find the food holes, considering that the holes are dotted about all over the feeder. This can be rectified fairly easily by punching a few more holes in.
The birds could eat upside down or standing when using this feeder, too, which is pretty cool!
It’s not too difficult to clean either: just make sure you don’t leave it too long: otherwise, any rotten food can damage the plastic of the feeder. As we’ll mention later in our buyer’s guide, you shouldn’t be leaving the cleaning of your bird feeder for longer than about a week anyway, as it can damage the birds.
The feeder also doesn’t have a cover to protect it from the rain, so it’s even more important to ensure that you properly maintain it. You can use this bird feeder with a dome or baffle to protect it from the winter (this is not included, but this one is loved by over 17,000 people who bought it on Amazon).
It’s ideal if you want to feed several birds simultaneously, and the large capacity is perfect for the winter, so it’s a solid option worth considering.
- Easy to clean due to detachable bottom
- Sturdy and long-lasting even through the winter, if properly maintained
- Spiral perch is fun and can hold many birds
- Attractive design
- Not enough feeding holes
2. Woodlink Natube5 Audubon Tube Feeder
This bird feeder looks very sleek in a nice copper color, so it’ll look good in the garden. It’s easy to mount and is 13.5 inches high, so it fits a decent amount of food inside of it. It’s versatile and allows a variety of birds to feed on the 4 ports it offers—also a big hit with finches. So, if you’re looking to attract more finches, this will be a good choice.
The Woodlink Natube5 Audubon Tube Feeder is extremely easy to maintain with a removable bottom. This makes it easy to clean, especially during the winter months.
The good-looking bronze cover also helps protect the bird’s food from getting wet, but the feeder has no problems keeping any food in because the holes are just the right size to keep food in but allow the birds to feed easily. Easy to use and incredibly affordable, you could put a couple of them around your yard to attract a variety of birds.
Also, purchasing this feeder supports the National Audubon Society, so you can rest assured that you’re helping to make a difference. This is a good product that is durable and will last a while, all at an affordable price, so what are you waiting for?
- Sleek-looking design in copper finish
- The perching system attracts finches
- Weather-resistant – ideal for the winter
- Supports the National Audubon Society
- Only 4 perching stations
3. Squirrel Buster Plus Squirrel-Proof Bird Feeder
This bird feeder comes with a lot of cool features and it has the winter months in mind. It has a huge capacity and is easy to clean, exactly what you need for the winter.
This product is perfect if you need something to keep squirrels out of your bird feeder. Any squirrels that want to snatch your bird food will be hard-pressed for success with this feeder. The squirrel will have a hard time doing more than just dangling or sliding around on the feeder.
The top of the feeder is made of metal and has a sloping design, so the squirrel cannot hang from the top to get to any of the feeding ports. It’s also easy to fill and has a lot of capacity for the feed, so you shouldn’t need to fill them too often, either. You should check the feeder if it rains, as you can still get some water in it.
The biggest problem with this product is the price, which is insanely high compared to many other picks. But it’s worth the cost of a good quality bird feeder that repels any pests easily.
- Squirrel Proof
- Attractive design
- Large capacity
4. Nibble Weather Proof Anti Bacterial Bird Feeder
This bird feeder can be used throughout the year, not just during the colder months. Its main selling point is that it’s easy to clean, a huge plus for the cold winter months when you don’t want to venture into the cold outdoors too often to change your bird feed.
The Nibble Weather Proof Anti Bacterial Bird Feeder has a simple design, but it hangs well and the feed holding tube is sturdy and durable. It’s tenacious against the elements, with a UV-stabilized, sun-proof polycarbonate coating that doesn’t discolor. This will also help, in conjunction with the polypropylene fittings and metallic alloy, to prevent rusting and cracking.
As the name suggests, the anti-bacterial coating helps stop harmful bacteria growth, keeping the birds safe.
For cleaning, remove the perches, the ports, and the base to quickly clean the whole feeder.
It also has a decent capacity, allowing you to easily add up to 350g of seed. All of this comes at an affordable price.
- Helps to protect from the sun
- It isn’t suitable for attracting blue jays
5. Perky Pet 325C 2-Tier Copper Panorama Bird Feeder
This bird feeder has a unique design. This is because it’s a panorama feeder, meaning the food is dispensed around the bottom.
It’s ideal for feeding various birds (since you can buy a one or two-tiered version). The two-tiered version can also hold more feed, so you don’t need to fill it as often.
It’s pretty easy to set up, so there’s no excessive playing around to figure out how it works. It’s difficult for many animals to reach if it’s placed high in the air, too, so no pests steal the food. The anti-rust design helps it last a long time.
The feeder also looks good, which is always a welcome addition when it’s going to be placed in your garden. It’s incredibly affordable, though not as cheap as others on this list.
- It has space for many birds to eat and can be done from any angle due to the circular perch.
- Decent size capacity
- Copper outer helps to prevent water from coming in
- Susceptible to ice build-up around the lid of or inside this feeder
Buyer’s Guide for Winder Bird Feeders
Where you live greatly impacts the kind of birds you attract to your garden during the winter. Chances are, no matter where you live, you’ll manage to attract a few birds to your yard during the winter, but they’ll vary from the ones you would typically get during the summer.
If you’re from North America, you could anticipate seeing some finches, sparrows, woodpeckers, jays, and cardinals during the winter months. Many plants and insects that birds tend to feed on for the rest of the year aren’t around during the winter, so your bird feeder will be a valuable source of nutrients for your feathered friends.
What should I look for when buying a winter bird feeder?
When looking for a bird feeder for the winter, your two biggest priorities must be protecting the birds and the kinds of bird foods that will be contained in the feeder.
During the winter months, you should ensure that your bird feeders have covers over the food dispensing areas so that no food gets blown away or buried in the case of a storm or snow. This is mainly because wet bird food can become moldy and is unhealthy for the birds. If you get a cover that goes around the edge of the feeder, it will protect it during a storm.
You can add baffles to the feeder in case you don’t already have a built-in cover with the feeder. You can also buy a baffle separately and make one yourself.
You’ll need something reasonably easy to clean. It’s easier for bird feeders to become dirty in the winter due to the build-up of ice and snow, so the seed will worsen in quality. The birds don’t have many options of where to go for food during the winter either, so the feeder will likely generate more visitors, thus making them dirtier. With this in mind, it’s worth looking for a model that’s easy to wipe and remove spoilt food so the feeder doesn’t become moldy.
For a bird feeder for winter, it’s worth investing in a bird feeder with a large capacity. As previously mentioned, part of this comes down to the fact you’re likely to get more birds coming to the feeder during the winter months. Another factor to consider is that winter is, well, cold! You don’t want to constantly go out to refill the feeder when you’re in those lower temperatures.
Squirrels are real pests when it comes to bird feeders. They will, no doubt about it, come to raid your feeder of as much as they can without any remorse. You could use a bird feeder pole that has a baffle to stop squirrels. This will make it difficult for your little pesky neighborhood squirrel to get to the feeder. If you don’t already know, a baffle is a big, usually circular object placed on the pole to stop squirrels from getting up. (If you feel bad for the squirrels, you can put out a squirrel feeder, too, and make everyone happy.)
Keep the feeder as far away as possible, ideally 10 feet away from nearby tree trunks and branches. If the feeder is close to any trees, it makes the baffle moot, as the squirrel can jump onto the feeder.
How to attract birds in the winter
Bird feeder aside, here are a few extra tricks to help you get more birds into your yard in the winter.
Types of feed to offer
You’ll need to make sure the bird feed you buy is of good quality and versatile enough to attract a variety of birds. The feed you choose can massively change the type of birds you attract and how many. During the winter, it’s a good idea to try and use high-fat feed with plenty of energy. Some examples are:
- black oil sunflower seed
- millet seed
- peanut butter
- suet mix
You could also consider adding Nyjer seed to attract finches.
Keep your feed stocked
If you leave the feeder empty for too long, the birds will find somewhere else to eat. For this reason, it’s worth ensuring that the feeder is always full, hence why a larger bird feeder is recommended.
If you have a birdbath in your garden, ensure it’s always filled. It can be trickier for birds to find water during the winter, so naturally, if they see you have a birdbath, it’s a big plus for the little guys. You could even get a heater for the birdbath to keep the water warm. It’ll be like a little spa for the birds!
Birdhouses & shelter
Adding a little birdhouse to your yard is a welcome addition for a bird; it gives them somewhere to take shelter from the cold. You could also create a little pile of leaves and twigs near the feeder so the birds have extra shelter close to their food source.
On the shelter, the birdhouse should protect the birds from any cats if you let them outside.
Location of the bird feeder
Keep the feeder away from the access of squirrels. It would help if you also considered keeping the feeder away from windy areas and from the rain. It would be best to put it near some natural cover so they can easily hide.
As for height, put it somewhere the birds can easily find. There’s no way to know how long the birds will take to find the feeder. You’ll need to put it somewhere more visible if they can’t find it. You’ll also need to put it low enough to change the food out. Many people choose to put them roughly 5-6 feet off the ground.
Prepare your bird corner early on
It can be handy to ensure that you start preparing the yard before winter comes along, usually during the autumn, so the birds know they can use your yard as a sanctuary and they don’t just find your yard when it’s the last resort. It must become a little hangout for your birds, almost like a nursery, well before winter.
Your preparation can include choosing a landscape suitable for birds, such as evergreens for sheltering and plants with extra fruit and sustenance during the winter.
Adriana Copaceanu is a passionate nature lover living in the country on her dream property where she grows vegetables, lavender, and wildflowers that she shares with the wildlife they attract. When she's not in the garden, she loves spending time with her chickens and planning her next nature project. Check your her books below: