You don't have to be an avid bird watching fan to enjoy the great selection of British garden birds that visit our backyards daily. Whether pottering in the garden or enjoying a cup of tea on the decking, their song is the perfect accompaniment.
Bird feeders, houses, poles and tables are a great way to encourage birds to your garden, but why have one bird feeder when you can offer a selection of gourmet options for our feathered friends!
What is a bird feeding station?
Variety is key when aiming to attract more garden birds species – certain birds prefer different seeds. For example, goldfinches have a particular taste for black nyjer seed while other birds prefer peanuts or sunflower seeds. By using a garden bird feeding station you can hang a collection of different feeders and offer multiple options for wildlife, thus enticing more birds to choose your garden.
There is plenty of bird feeders on the market, from covered wooden ones to elegant metal stations.
We've chosen a range of different sizes and styles for every kind of garden that are affordable and easy to assemble, so you can start enjoying the wonderful wildlife that comes to your garden sooner.
The best bird feeding stations to buy 2022
RUDDINGS WOOD Metal Wild Bird Feeding Station
The easiest to assemble bird feeding station
This fun and easy-to-assemble bird feeding station pole features multiple landing and food hanging points, a birdseed mesh basket, and even a small birdbath water tray to keep wild birds flying into it every day.
Extra features: Three hanging hooks, metal seed tray, ground spike
Review: "Easy to erect, looks great, birds very happy & making full use of it!"
Honeyfield's Wild Bird All in 1 Dining Station
The best all-in-one bird feeding station
With 12 hanging points, you won't be short of space for your bird feeders with this metal bird feeding station! A treat and water tray is also included. The detachable twin fork adds extra stability.
Extra features: 12 hangers
Review: "This is the best bird station I’ve ever bought, my last one fell apart but this one is so strong and easy to put together. And with the extra fork part at bottom of station it’s so sturdy. I’ve got squirrels and pigeons and magpies they love it."
Maypole Slate Bird Table
The best bird feeding station with base
This bird feeder stands with a sturdy base and is handmade in the UK, with a slate roof on the birdhouse and anti-bacterial Marcide coating to prevent diseases from spreading. It also supports sustainable forests, with two trees planted for every one cut down.
Material: Sustainable wood treated with anti-bacterial Marcide coating to prevent diseases from spreading
Extra features: Built in seed catcher
Review: "Top rate bird table, easy to erect and an affordable price. The birds are delighted and we are too!!"
Green Jem Wild Bird Feeding Station with Leaves
The best for smaller gardens
The leaves and sweet bird atop this bird feeder make a lovely addition to this metal bird feeder pole. You can slide each 'branch' to position it exactly as you'd like.
Material: Brown hammertone finish
Extra features: With ground prongs
Review: "Great feeding station and just what we were after. It's not been put in it's spot yet but we have assembled it and love the fact that each 'branch' can be adjusted on the pole to sit higher or lower so it's much easier to fit on different sized feeders/fat balls/suet slabs/water."
Riverside Woodcraft Feeding Station
The best large bird feeding station
A multi-function feeding bird table with a seed feeder bracket. Made in the UK with an anti-fungal and anti-bacterial colour rich coating.
Material: Wood, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial colour rich coating
Extra features: Ground stakes sold separately
Review: "Great looking sturdy bird table, bought specifically to feed pigeons because we love them. My sons put together in about 20 minutes with the screws lining up well. It also looks great and we're pleased!"
Supa Wild Bird Feeding Station
The best bird feeding station with accessories
Amazon's Choice when it comes to bird feeding stations with a wealth of positive reviews, this model comes with three hooks and two dishes for ultimate flexibility.
Extra features: Comes with a mesh feeding dish and water bowl
Review: "Fantastic bird station has everything your garden birds need. Easy to assemble and would look fantastic in any garden. Highly recommend."
Honeyfield's Wild Bird Feeder Pole
The best simple bird feeding station
Sometimes simplicity is the best policy and if you want a subtle but functional feeding station this elegant design from Honeyfield's is perfect.
Extra features: Stability plate included
Review: "This is perfect and much easier than hanging on a tree etc. I can move it around the garden, so I can see the birds better. I would definitely recommend and it has good sturdy construction too."
Material: Treated wood
Review: "Very attractive little bird table for the price. It needs weighting down to stop it toppling in a breeze and the pole which comes in two pieces needs a little extra glue to stop it wobbling, but still amazed that it’s as reasonably priced as it is. Love it!"
RSPB Premium feeding station
The best for feeding a variety of bird species
Built with strength, stability and bird safety in mind, this RSPB feeder helps you serve a larger variety of wild bird food for the birds visiting your garden.
Extra features: Secures with four-pronged base for the ground, eight hooks
Review: "This feeder frame works a treat and looks great. I had read other reviews stating that the legs were weak so I was careful when I pushed them into the ground and I made sure I followed the instructions for correct installation and it was all fine. The legs did not bend at all. It is a nice addition to the garden. Confidently recommended."
Nature's Market Hanging Bird Table
The best hanging bird feeding station
Ideal if you don't have anywhere to secure a stand or pole in your garden, this compact bird table has a traditional feel and shape, but would fit into any garden.
Review: "You get what you pay for and this is a good bird table for the price. I struggled a bit putting it together, most of the screw hole were there but some where missing and that made it difficult because I did have a drill. I got it together in the end. If it hadn't of been the missing screw holes I would have given it 5 stars."
Bird feeding station FAQs
What should I look for in a bird feeding station?
The key thing is stability - once you've loaded on your bird feeders the last thing you want to happen is for the bird feeding station to fall over!
If the bird feeding station has a base, is there a way to secure it into the ground? Perhaps it has metal spikes to drive into the soil? Most bird feeding stations will also tell you how much weight they can hold - another consideration to bear in mind if you plan to hang a lot of feeders.
Where is the best place to put a bird feeding station?
It's lovely to position your bird feeding station in view of a window so you can watch your feathered friends but be sure not to place it too near the house as this could put the birds off.
If you'd like to entice birds closer, try hanging a couple of separate bird feeders above your window to test it out, but make sure to still provide other options for shyer bird species.
Also, consider how close it is to trees or hedges - birds like to queue up for their buffet somewhere they feel safe and can rest their wings. Positioning it nearer some hedges or a tree may encourage them to come and investigate, but too close and squirrels will certainly try to take some feed as their own! Kitting your feeders with a squirrel baffle should help prevent this.
How do you feed birds on a budget?
It's often much more economical to buy bird feed in bulk, rather than smaller packets. Of course, this depends on you having the space to store it.
Seed mixes are designed to attract a selection of British birds. Peanuts are also inexpensive but provide valuable food resources for many native species in winter.
You can also make your own bird feed, such as fat balls. Their really simple to make and a nice hands-on task you can make with grandchildren to introduce them to the birds!
Is it safe to feed wild birds?
Wild birds need as much help as they can get to keep their tummies full! However, it is important to put out the right foods for them.
For example, while peanuts are great for winter, they can be harmful to nestlings, so in spring and summer, it's important to only put out peanuts in a specially designed mesh feeder. Also, ensure any seed mixes you put out do not contain peanuts in spring/summer.
Bill Oddie from Springwatch recommends suet as great food for the cold winter weather. Wild birds need the energy to keep warm and the birds love it!
Some foods that are toxic to birds include: Avocado, fruit pits or seeds, chocolate and milk.
Some foods that wild birds love include: pinned oatmeal, soaked sultanas, raisins and currants, mild grated cheese, soft apples and pears cut in half (with core removed), sunflower hearts, bananas and grapes.
Choosing bird feeders for your station
To attract a wide variety of birds, you can add a number of feeders to your station by hanging them from the hooks or screwing them into the base. But what feeders should you choose to make for a hanging haven?
The preference is completely up to you but you may find some feeders attract certain species of birds. The main types of bird feeders you can incorporate in your bird feeding station are:
Hopper feeders - designed like a small hanging house, this feeder helps to protect seeds against weather and bird droppings. A great addition if you don't have a table built-in to your feeding station. Popular with most wild birds including finches and sparrows.
Seed feeders - a tubular feeder to contain the seed with an entry point for feeding. Great for attracting many different species from small robins, sparrows and blue tits to larger birds like woodpeckers.
Suet feeders - made from wide metal mesh to house suet balls and cakes. Most popular with tits and starlings.
Nut and nibble feeders - a tubular feeder made of steel mesh for wild birds to pick feed through. Popular with tits, nuthatches and other species of bird that cling.
Nectar feeders - a hanging dish with nectar at the bottom, great for attracting hummingbirds.
Nyjer seed feeders - designed like a seed or nut and nibble feeder but with smaller feeding ports and finer mesh to make it perfect for finches.
How to take care of your bird feeders
Michaela Strachan from Autumnwatch and Springwatch has some wise words for bird lovers wanting to take the best care of their bird visitors and feeders.
"I remember years ago, we did a piece about cleaning your bird feeders. And even Chris Packham was quite surprised how regularly you should clean them. Because the thing is, if one bird is ill and comes to your feeder, it will pass it onto all the other birds who come to your feeder.
"So you do have to clean your bird feeders regularly. It's not just about washing our hands anymore, you’ve got to wash your bird feeders!"
The bird feeders we have selected can all be taken apart easily to clean. Just use hot soapy water and a sponge or cloth to clean and leave plenty of time to dry.
Read next: The best patio heaters for your garden
How to build a bird feeding station
You can make a DIY bird feeding station if you're rather handy or feel like getting creative. The key is to provide multiple areas to hang feeders. Also, if you have space, a water supply is a great addition to attract more birds.