Those who know me well know I love three things best (besides my kids, of course!); a good book; Li-Lac chocolates; and a new bird feeder. There are a few feeders I own and regularly use that really stick out as my true blue heroes. Whether they hit the mark on beauty, reliability, sustainability, budget or overall enjoyment, these are my top three recommendations.
- JC’s Wildlife Fly Through Feeder (Etsy)
- Large Size
- $74.39/Free Shipping
- Medium Size
- $64.49/Free Shipping
- Available in red, yellow, green and gray colors
My first premium ground feeder was purchased from my Wild Birds Unlimited store in Paramus, New Jersey. My second, and the one I like best, is from JCs Wildlife. Both sit on my deck today and feed my growing flock of feathered and furry friends.
I first discovered ground feeders in my Duncraft catalog and they intrigued me.
I had grown up on traditional tube and hopper feeders in the 1970’s and had always thought that all birds ate from up on high. That’s not true at all. Doves, sparrows, cow birds, cardinals, tit mice, chickadees, blue jays and juncos are frequent visitors to both of my covered feeders. I also enjoy the antics of our frequent squirrels, our celebrity chipmunk, Celeste, and the very rotund and equally hungry groundhog we’ve named Ms. March.
Our JC’s Wildlife Fly Through Feeder (I have a large model) has a wide peaked green roof that keeps seeds and guests dry during inclement weather. Sturdy legs give the feeder just a little height and improves air flow around the feeder’s easy-to-clean, lift out plastic tote seed caddy (love this). The caddy holds a good supply of seed and the dual-dish design allows you to offer one type of seed on one side of tray, and another type of seed on the other.
I’ve also observed that the space beneath the feeder serves as a hiding spot when visiting creatures need a quick place to take cover.
It’s easy to maintain and looks like it is built to last with sturdy recycled materials. I’m keeping with my aim to try to buy more sustainable products. Plus, my purchase supports a company who makes their products in the United States. My American-based backyard birders should try to do that as often as they can!
I’ve paired my Fly Through Feeder with an open platform feeder below and surrounded them both with lush bee and butterfly friendly flowers in spring and summer and a hug of sheltering evergreens in the fall and winter.
This micro rest stop is always open to the wildlife who discover my deck in their travels no matter the season.
A ground feeder does bring its challenges, like the increased need for cleaning and seed-sapping visits from furry neighbors like squirrels, chipmunks and groundhogs. They’re part of my eco-system, too, so I don’t mind, though I do take extra care to clean up frequently which does add time to my chore list.
- Garden Treasures Plastic Hopper Bird Feeder
- $11.98 plus shipping
- Available in green color
If I was forced to have only one feeder in my yard (gasp), the Garden Treasures Hopper would easily be the one. Not only is it budget-friendly, but it holds enough seed to host hungry flocks of my feathered friends. It has lasted me through some pretty tempestuous East Coast weather!
This feeder holds a full 6 pounds of seed and is easy to clean.
It attracts a huge variety of birds with its six generous feeding ports. The 12-inch coated looped hanging cord does not rust and works with deck clamps, shepherd hooks, tree branches and more.
I have used these feeders for two years and I see little wear from sun, wind, and precipitation. The drainage trays are well constructed and help keeps seeds dry. The overhanging plastic roof provides limited protection from the elements.
The closing feature requires a little practice to get the roof to close snugly. Once you get the hang of it, you won’t have squirrels flipping up the top to rob you of your seeds. This feeder has a much better closing system than other feeders than just rely on flimsy plastic tabs or easy-to-open flip tops.
You can fill this workhouse feeder with black oil sunflower seeds, safflower, cracked corn, or mixed seeds.
As your feathered visitors stop by for a meal, the feeder may sway a bit causing some seed to fall away from the tray ports. Fear not! That will provide you with a nice way to view your ground feeding birds. Plan your housekeeping accordingly.
If you are just starting out as a birding enthusiast, pair up this feeder with a shepherd hook and some black oil sunflower seed to create a budget-friendly, bird feeding magnet!
- Yosager Deck Bird Bowl
- $19.99/free shipping with Prime
- Available in clay color
I am particularly nostalgic about this dual-purpose birdbath and bird seed bowl as it was the very first bird feeder I set out in my new home in 2019.
I really cannot say enough good things about this product.
As I watch from my kitchen window, I see a world of birds and furry creatures that make me smile. No matter the weather, from early dawn to deep dusk, there is a regular parade of hungry diners who wait in line for their turn to chow down.
In terms of design, there are a couple of features that make it better than other, more expensive competitive products. The first is the durable, adjustable clamp. It’s made of strong, weather-resistant black powder coated steel to prevent rust. It’s attached to the steel bowl ring in one solid piece.
What makes this bird bath a favorite is the heavy-duty polypropylene clay-color bowl with a ridged lower lip that fits with a secure “click” into the supporting ring. When it gets windy (and it does here in New Jersey), the bowl doesn’t blow away. And when it’s full of bird and furry friend traffic at lunchtime, the bowl stays right in place.
I’ve read some reviews and seen reader photos where the bowl tips as the clamp isn’t secured to a level surface. Simply insert a wooden shim as you’re adjusting the clamp to solve that problem and bring your item level. If you’re using this for bird food, remember there are no drainage holes. You’ll need to clean out any wet or old food to prevent mold or spoilage.
My first bowl lasted about two years before I had to replace it. I couldn’t find a way to replace just the bowl, so I had to buy the whole unit again. I left the ring clamp up on the deck and it’s enthusiastically used as a bird perch.
This is one of my top choices for a bird bath, a bird bowl feeder, or a gift for a bird lover.
While these three are my favorites, I’ll be introducing you to more bird feeder designs in coming posts. I’m especially excited to try out some new hummingbird feeders I’ve just received! Stay tuned for more news soon.
P.S. Have a bird feeder you love and recommend? Tell me more! Write to me at [email protected].