You may think if you want to enjoy feeding birds from your home, that you need to live out near the woods or have a large yard. This is not true! That may bring higher variety or greater numbers of birds, but birds can be found anywhere. You can still enjoy feeding birds if you have a tiny yard, or even no yard at all. In this article I will recommend the top 4 window mounted bird feeders for apartments and condos as well as some options for mounting a bird feeder to your apartment railing. We will also talk about how you can have feeders on a small deck with no yard space and attracting birds to your feeders.
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*Best option for an apartment railing bird feeder
Window mounted bird feeders, which we’ll go over below, are a good option for many people as they are easy to set up and get started with. However they aren’t always the best option for everyone. You’re apartment may have a balcony with a railing that would be perfect for attaching a feeder to, but you’ll need something to hang the feeder from. All you need is a good railing clamp and you can pretty much use any bird feeder you want.
You are going to need two things to mount a bird feeder to your balcony railing, a railing clamp with a pole and hook, and the feeder itself. Here are our recommendations:
Apartment railing clamp
Green Esteem Stokes Select Bird Feeder Pole, 36-Inch Reach, Deck or Railing Mounted
This quality made clamp and hook from Green Esteem is easy to install and perfect for apartment railings, patios, and decks. It holds up to 15 pounds which is more than enough for a bird feeder full of seed.
Not only is it a great option for you to use to mount a bird feeder to your apartment or deck railing, but a portion of every purchase is donated to a bird habitat and conservation!
Hanging bird feeders for apartment railing
The Droll Yankees feeder in the table below is a great option for hanging from the above clamp-mounted pole but I thought I’d give you one more option.
Squirrel Buster Standard Bird Feeder
The Squirrel Buster by Brome is a very popular hassle-free, squirrel-proof bird feeder that has a lifetime guarantee from the manufacturer. Maybe you live on the 3rd or 4th floor or higher and you think you don’t need a squirrel proof feeder. Maybe you don’t, but it’s a great feeder at a great price either way and it certainly doesn’t hurt to have that feature. You really can’t go wrong with this feeder and coupled with the clamp above you’ll be ready to start feeding birds from your balcony!
Top 4 window mounted bird feeders for apartments and condos
Here are my top 4 picks taking into account their space requirements, durability and ease of use;
|Natures Hangout||Window Feeder||View on Amazon|
|Kettle Moraine||Window Suet Feeder||View on Amazon|
|Aspects Jewel Box Hummingbird Feeder||Window Feeder||View on Amazon|
|Droll Yankees Tube Feeder||Hanging Feeder||View on Amazon|
Let’s take a closer look at each of these 4 window based feeder choices.
In my opinion, window feeders are the best solution when yard space is limited or non-existent. These affix to any window or glass surface using suction cups. An added benefit of this is you will get to see the birds close-up. You do need to be a bit careful with placement. If they are located on windows in high traffic areas of your house, this may spook them a bit. For more information on how best to use and enjoy window feeders, see our article How To Attract Birds to a Window Feeder.
Natures Hangout Window Feeder – Top Pick For Window Feeders
Made of clear, durable plastic for full views of the birds, this will stand up to the weather no problem. This model has a removable seed tray that you can lift out for refilling or cleaning without having to remove the whole unit from the window. Both the seed tray and the bottom of the main housing have holes for water drainage, so rain or snow won’t be pooling in the tray. The small overhang will provide some weather protection for the seed and birds. This model has a great rating on Amazon, and has personally worked very well for me. I purchased it while living in a condo where I didn’t have a yard. It has never fallen off the window, and many different species of birds have come to eat. It is also very easy to just pop off the window and wash periodically.
Another type of window feeder you can try is a suet cake feeder. Suet cakes are blocks of fat that can include seeds, nuts, fruits, mealworms, peanut butter and a variety of bird friendly foods. Woodpeckers love suet, but many other birds will also enjoy this high energy treat. This feeder also attaches to the window via suction cups. You load the cakes through one side where a door pulls down. I also personally own this feeder and have been very pleased with it. It has never fallen off the window, even when a big fat squirrel was climbing all over it and jumping on and off! I eventually moved it to a location the squirrel couldn’t get at it, but I was pretty impressed that it held up under his assault.
Hummingbirds are one of the most fun birds to view and feed. Now with this window feeder, everyone can enjoy these tiny birds. Brightly colored red top will attract the hummers. There are three feeding ports they can choose from and a perch bar if they want to sit down. It comes with a detachable ant moat, which is a nice feature to have! Check out our article about making your own simple hummingbird nectar.
Another type of window feeder you can experiment with would be a regular hanging feeder, hanging from a hook that is attached to the window with suction cups. The Woodlink Window Glass Hanger for Bird Feeders is made just for this purpose. It can hold up to 4 lbs, which should be plenty if you choose your feeder carefully.
If you want to go this route I recommend a slim tube style feeder. This Droll Yankees tube feeder has a 1 lb seed capacity, and weighs 1.55 lbs, which should mean hanging it from the hook is no problem. It’s slim design means you don’t have to worry about large domes or trays not having enough clearance between the feeder and your window. Droll Yankees is a high quality brand, and this feeder will be durable through all seasons. It is compatible with most bird seed (sunflower, millet, safflower and mixes). If you have any problems the company has great customer service.
Hanging your deck feeder
If your apartment or condo has a small balcony or a deck, and you would rather try hanging your feeders there than from a window, here are a few options.
Clamps onto horizontal deck rails and can hold up to 15 pounds. You should be able to hang almost any style of feeder you like from this. As always, read the item description before purchasing to make sure this will fit on your deck railing.
The clamp-on deck hooks are very handy, if you have the right type of deck railing to use them. Unfortunately at my last house, I did not. The top of the railing was curved and the mounts wouldn’t sit properly without a flat surface. That’s where this universal pole mount can come in handy. One side will clamp onto a vertical railing “leg”, and the other side can clamp onto a pole of your choosing. No damage to the deck, no holes drilled. I used the Droll Yankees Shepards Hook, which is a little pricey but good quality and you can adjust the height. You can also buy the Double Arm Mount Hanger accessory and hang two feeders from the same pole, or one feeder and one hanging plant.
If you are able to drill into your deck or side of the property, you can also consider a wall-mounted pole. This pole can hold up to 15 lbs and can swivel 360 degrees so you can angle it just where you want for maximum viewing. I lived in one condo where I used this type of pole. The design of the deck had a perfect spot to hang this right in front of the kitchen window. (see picture below)
Another “hack” that I haven’t tried but I think might work would be to use an umbrella stand. Something like this Half Round Resin Umbrella Base. Instead of inserting an umbrella you could find a good sturdy shepherds hook pole. This might work well for properties where you have more serious restrictions, such as not being allowed to even clamp anything onto your deck.
Deck Feeder Recommendation
If you are using any of the above clamps and poles, you should be able to choose any bird feeder that you want. However, feeding birds from a deck usually means there is a high probability that squirrels will be able to access your feeder. Therefore you might want to choose a feeder specifically made to be “squirrel proof”.
The ones I always recommend are the Squirrel Buster series by Brome. There are many sizes and styles to choose from. We have personally used both the Squirrel Buster Plus and the smaller Squirrel Buster Standard and love them both. The quality and durability are great. It has high marks for keeping squirrels away, and the company has great customer service.
See our recommended feeders for some more ideas on the best bird feeder for decks and balconies.
Attracting Birds to your Feeder
So you put up your window feeder or deck feeder and need a little help attracting the birds. It is thought that birds mainly find their food sources visually, so you want to try and catch their eye as they fly by. Two things will help with this – greenery and water.
- Window boxes: a window box near your feeders will add greenery and flowers. Some birds even find window boxes a nice place to nest. Add in some moss, twigs or cotton that they can use as nesting material.
- Potted Plants: if you have a deck, small balcony or ledge adding a few potted plants can make your area more lush. A simple “ladder shelf” or “tiered shelf” can also help you fit many more plants into a small space.
- Vertical Gardening: No room to spread out? Try going up! Walls of plants, or “vertical gardening” is growing in popularity. Maybe you have a wall divider between your deck and your neighbors deck that you can utilize. Search for “pocket hanging planters”. No wall? You can try vertical freestanding elevated planters like these.
- Birdbaths: you can get creative here, with the space that you have. You can find both standard and heated birdbaths that attach to deck railings, such as the Songbird Spa. Or try just a shallow dish on top of a small table.
If you can’t figure out a way to have plants or water, that’s ok. Given enough time the birds will very likely find your feeder regardless. When I put mine up, I didn’t do anything additional and it took the birds about a week. For a friend of mine, it was more like 6-8 weeks! It really depends on your area. Just keep the feeders clean and filled (periodically change the seed as needed). As they say “if you build it, they will come”.
Respect Neighbors and Property Owners
Lastly – some special considerations unique to leased properties, apartments, and units with owners associations.
Check your lease
Some leases or HOAs may actually include a stipulation that you cannot have bird feeders. Why? Feeders can mean messy piles of birdseed shells, bird droppings, and even attracting unwanted wildlife like raccoons or bears. Some associations simply do not want to deal with those possibilities. Unfortunately, you have to respect the terms of your lease. However, it may be worth asking if a hummingbird feeder would be okay – there is no messy seed involved, the nectar wouldn’t attract critters, and hummingbird droppings are fairly minimal.
The rules at a condo complex I lived in once said I could not clamp anything to my deck, so I worked around that by using the suction cup window feeders.
Be Considerate to your Neighbors
If there are people living beneath you, consider how your bird feeder might affect their space. Are shells going to be falling onto their deck or patio space? You can try to minimize this by using pre-shelled seeds, sometimes called “hearts”. They are more expensive but will eliminate a lot of the mess. If your feeder is on a deck you can try placing an outdoor rug or mat beneath the feeder to catch the excess.