A new type of feeder is growing in popularity that makes feeding birds accessible to many more people, window feeders. As the name suggests, window feeders are bird feeders that attach to your window instead of hanging from a pole or tree. This opens up the world of bird feeding and bird watching to those who may not have a yard (such as apartments or condos) or no room or desire for a big feeder pole.
I had never experimented with these myself until I moved into a townhouse. Then I suddenly didn’t have much yard, and the homeowners association had rules against feeder poles or deck clamps. This lead me down the path of trying out all sorts of window bird feeders, and now I have some recommendations and tips from my experiences that I can share with you.
There are many window feeders on the market now to choose from, so I’m going to share our favorites and why we think they are the best window feeders for your money.
Top 5 Best Window Feeders For Birds
This window feeder by Papagai is my top choice for feeding seeds. I chose this model for two specific reasons; it had no plastic back to obscure the view of the birds (even clear plastic gets cloudy and weathered over time), and it was easier to refill and clean. The seed tray slides completely out for easy cleaning and refilling without having to take the feeder off the window. The feeder I had before did have a tray that lifted out of the main housing, but shells and seeds would always somehow fall down the cracks and get all stuck on the bottom and I would have to take the whole feeder off the window to clean that out. This is much better. The tray is a little on the shallow side so you will probably be filling it up more often.
People on Amazon seem to agree with me that the design is well thought out and executed. It seems to me this company read reviews on other feeders and took peoples concerns into consideration with this design. Another reviewer said they had a very good experience with the company’s customer service. A real top notch window feeder.
- Curved roof is attractive and provides a little more viewing space
- No plastic back means better viewing
- Four strong suction cups keep it secure, and are placed outside of the viewing area
- Seed tray slides out for easy cleaning and refilling
I’ve always been a big fan of Droll Yankees bird feeders. Yes, they are more expensive, but I find them to be higher quality. The plastic is thicker and overall everything seems a little more sturdy than the cheaper versions. Plus, Droll Yankees is known for their customer service and you can often get replacement parts or feeders at no charge. The dome provides a little weather protection and its height can be adjusted. The dish is pretty deep for a window feeder and thus can hold a variety of food. I’m really enjoying this one and would name it another top seed feeder.
- Deep dish holds a good amount of seed
- Can also be used for peanuts or mealworms or suet nuggets
- Feeder slides off the suction cup mounts for cleaning
- Dome has adjustable height to allow for, or block, larger birds like starlings.
- Dome offers some weatherproofing while the dish contains drain holes
- “Open Air” design means no parts block your view
The last seed feeder we will mention here is the Nature’s Hangout. It’s one of the best selling window feeders on Amazon (at the time of this article). It’s a solid beginner bird feeder that is a good size for at least two birds to feed at once. The tray lifts up from the housing so you can remove it for refilling seed or cleaning, and the tray depth is pretty good and will hold a decent amount of seed. There is a partition in the middle if you wanted to feed two different types of seed and keep them separated. If you are wanting to try out a window feeder to see if it’s right for you without thinking too hard about features or special types, this is a good classic style to begin with at an affordable price.
I personally used this as my first feeder and got a lot of enjoyment out of it. However I found that after I had used it for awhile there were two features that didn’t work well for me and I switched out to another style. The clear plastic on the back began to go opaque on me after about a year. I like to take pictures of birds at the feeder so this was kind of a big deal for me. Also I found that the removable tray got seeds and shell stuck under it and I had to take the whole feeder off the window to clean it. You may not experience these things or they may not matter for your personal usage.
- Clear housing
- Removable feeding tray that lifts up and out of feeder
- Tray and housing have drain holes
- Three suction cups for mounting
Window feeders don’t just hold bird seed, this cage feeder from Kettle Moraine will let you offer suet cakes. Suet is a great high energy food that many birds love, especially woodpeckers. Regular seed feeders can be difficult for woodpeckers to land on and most, and many larger woodpeckers won’t bother with them. I love woodpeckers so I was happy to find this.
The coated wire seems to hold up well against the pecking and scratching (and the occasional squirrels who’ve gotten to mine). If you need to bring it inside to clean you just slide it up off the suction cups. I’ve had Blue Jays and squirrels hopping up and down on mine and they haven’t knocked it off, so the suction cups do a great job.
Tip: Make sure the suet you use is firm and dry, not greasy. If it’s too greasy the birdies will fling little grease bits onto the window and make a mess that’s a pain to clean. This isn’t a problem with most store bought suet but something to keep an eye out for.
- Vinyl coated wire mesh
- Only needs two suction cups
- Holds one standard size suet cake
- Hinge door opens and swings down to replace cake
But what about my beloved hummingbirds? Fear not, there is a window feeder for them to! I really enjoy using this cute little “The Gem” feeder by Aspects. It’s tiny, but has plenty of perch space. I was a little worried it had only one suction cup, but I haven’t had a problem with it falling off the window.
As you probably know, it’s critically important to keep hummingbird feeders clean and the nectar fresh. I like this feeder because it lifts right off the suction cup mount and doesn’t have any little complicated parts. Just flip the red top open, dump the old nectar, wash out, refill, and place back onto the mount. Super easy.
Tip: To avoid drips and the feeder sitting askew, make sure not to overfill.
- Two drinking ports
- Perch bar all around feeder top
- Boasts a lifetime warranty
- Easy to clean
- Simple to lift on and off the suction cup bracket
Things to consider when buying a window feeder
Ease of viewing
Will you be watching your feeder from inside the house through the window or more from your back yard? Do you have window panes on the exterior? These things may affect the type of feeder you buy. If you have window panes on the outside of your window, you’ll need to measure the height and width to make sure you buy a feeder that will fit inside of your dimensions.
If your primary viewing of the feeder will be from inside the house, I strongly recommend getting a feeder with that has no back or has a window cut out of the back. Many feeders have a clear plastic back. You can see through these pretty well at first. But over time the exposure to the changing temperatures and weather conditions, plus bird activity in the feeder, can scratch it up and the plastic can become cloudy and more opaque. Also, are the suction cups in a spot that block some of your view?
Ease of cleaning & refilling
Whether you are reaching out your window or walking outside, you don’t want refilling or cleaning your window feeder to be a chore. The easier this is, the more likely you are to keep it stocked with seed, and keep it clean. After you spent time getting those suction cups to adhere just right, the last thing you want to do is unstick them constantly to get the feeder on and off the window.
Because these are open to the weather more-so than normal seed feeders, the seed gets wet more often and shells can accumulate in the tray. You’ll need to dump old seed and shells at least weekly. Also they don’t hold as much as large feeders so you will be refilling more frequently. Find a feeder design that will make this process easy for you.
Look for things like a tray that slides out without having to take the feeder off the window. Also feeders that lift up off of the suction cup brackets.
Tips for hanging window feeders
Take a few minutes to think about the best placement for your feeder. Will you be able to see it from multiple angles in the room? Are there window panes or other features you need to position it around?
Then, consider access from other species such as squirrels and cats. Is the feeder at least 5-6 feet off the ground? Do you have a deck railing, air conditioning unit, outdoor furniture or other objects nearby that a squirrel could jump off of and get onto your feeder? You’d be surprised how far they can fling themselves! Try to position your feeder as far away from jumping-surfaces as you can. I had to put one of my feeders in the far upper corner of a window to be out of range of leaping squirrels!
How to attach window feeder suction cups
I have rarely had a feeder fall off the window. If you follow these tips, most feeders have great sticking power even with large bird or squirrel visitors (see above picture for proof, ha!)
- Using a glass cleaner, clean the window surface of all dirt and debris.
- Take the clean suction cups and hold the flat part against your palm for about 10-15 seconds. This warms up the cup and makes it more flexible.
- Take your finger and swipe a little grease from the side of your nose, or forehead or an oily part of your scalp and rub just a little bit around the inside of the suction cup. I know that sounds kinda gross but that little bit of oil will help it stick really well. You can also use cooking oil but just the slightest hint of it, too much and the cups will slide around on the glass and not hold.
- Once the cups touch the window press down in the middle of the cup on the raised “knob”
I find in most cases it is easier to have the cups installed on the feeder and attach everything at once rather than trying to line the cups up by themselves and attach the feeder after. If you reposition too many times, it’s best to start steps 1-4 again with a clean surface to maintain good suction.
Warmer glass helps, but I’ve installed these on a 30 degree winter day and had no issues. I think the freshly cleaned glass surface and small amount of oil in the cup are the most important aspects to getting a good seal.
What kind of food should I feed in my window feeders
As we showed you above, there is a window feeder for pretty much any type of bird food you want to put out. One thing I’ve found that has made the window feeder experience even more enjoyable for me is using shelled bird seed. Most brands sell seeds that have already had their shells removed. They can be found under names such as “no-waste”, “hearts”, “hulled”, “chips” or “no-mess”.
Bird seed can be messy because of the shells. Is there something directly under your window feeder that you might not want to get a pile of shells all over? Maybe some nice plants, a window-box, or a patio seating area.
Also, there will be a lot of shells left in the feeder tray/dish that you will often have to dump/clean out. A no-shell mix will cut down on that. Shells can also be extra messy if you have a window feeder with a removable tray that sits inside of the main feeder housing. At first this seems like a good idea, lifts right out for easy refilling. But somehow shells always get down between the cracks, underneath the removable tray, and cake up on the bottom of the main feeder. You have to take the feeder off the window to clean this up.
I hope this article will set you on the path of trying out window bird feeders. If you want to learn a little more about how to use them and how to attract birds to them, see our article here about attracting birds to window feeders. You’ll really enjoy watching birds up close and getting to feel so close to nature right from the comfort of your own home.