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How High Should a Bird Feeder Be Off the Ground?

 Last Reviewed by Jesse Foutch on 01-16-2024

Different types of birds are comfortable feeding at different heights but the ideal height for a standard bird feeder to be from the ground is about 5 feet. Additionally it should be about 10 feet from any trees, shrubs or structures. 

How high can you hang a bird feeder?

There is no limit to the height that you can hang a bird feeder but you need to keep in mind the types of birds that frequent your yard or what kinds of birds you would like to feed. Different species of birds are comfortable feeding at different heights. Cardinals for instance like to feed off of shrubbery so hang a cardinal feeder at about eye level or around that 5 feet mark. Woodpeckers though are tree feeders so you may consider hanging a woodpecker feeder a bit higher.

Before you buy your feeder and hang it you should consider what types of birds you are going to be feeding and what types of animals you have around that may try and steal the seed or even catch the birds.

How high should a window bird feeder be hung?

Most window feeders are attached to the window with suction cups. I would suggest hanging a window feeder in the middle to upper portion of the window so that squirrels can’t easily sit on the window sill and eat all of the food. You should also make it easy to reach so that you can refill and clean it.

You may have to experiment with the height a little to see what works best for you. Our article on attracting birds to window feeders will give you all our tips for using a window feeder successfully. 

Window feeders will generally cost a bit less than regular feeders. If you rent your home and have to worry about a landlord or just want a super simple option, you can find nice window feeders on Amazon for around $25 or less. We list our favorites here

How high should a hummingbird feeder be hung?

Just like a standard bird feeder, hang your hummingbird feeders about 5 feet from the ground. This height is not a rule that is carved in stone but you want to keep it at a height that makes it fairly easy for you to change out the nectar regularly. You will again want to keep your feeder about 10-12 feet from any trees or other obstructions.

Do not put hummingbird feeders in direct sunlight, keep them in the shade or at least in a partially shaded area if possible. The main reason for this is to keep your hummingbird nectar from spoiling too quickly. Read here for more tips on where and how to hang your hummingbird feeders. 

What is the best way to hang a bird feeder?

You have several different options here and no one option is really the best. It depends on your goals and the environment the feeder will be placed in, but here are some different ways you can hang your bird feeder:

  • From a tree. Hanging your bird feeder is not the best option in my opinion but can certainly be done if you keep a few things in mind. You still need to keep the feeder about 10-15 feet away from the base of the tree. If you choose to go this route I would suggest going with the squirrel buster that I linked to below, especially if you live in an area where there are many squirrels.
  • On a pole. This is a great way to hang a bird feeder and probably our favorite. The pole length is completely up to you and provided you don’t have extremely rocky soil,  the poles themselves usually go right into the ground with a little effort. You can hang them right out in the middle of your yard away from trees and buildings that squirrels can use to leap onto your feeder. Here’s a post I wrote on some great squirrel proof bird feeder poles.
  • Directly on your window. This is a perfectly viable and inexpensive option for a bird feeder. Just keep in mind that when it comes to bird feeders and windows you either need to hang it directly on the window (with suction cups for example), or at least 30 feet from the window. Hundreds of millions of birds die each year due to window strikes.
  • From your deck. You can do this and there are some easy ways to do so such as with a simple hook or hanger like you would hang a fern on. However this can be rather tricky when it comes to squirrels and cats. It’s easy access for them. Additionally you will get bird poop all over your deck, they will fly aways as soon as you walk outside and you really won’t get to enjoy them as much in my opinion. Having said that, many people don’t mind feeding the squirrels or spraying their deck off of bird poop and seed shells making this an easy way to feed birds and get close up views. Additionally hanging feeders from an apartment balcony can be done in this manner as well, check out our article best bird feeders for apartments and condos for a little bit more about this.

What bird feeder predators and thieves should I worry about?

You are familiar with squirrels and the problems they pose. They are very pesky and love stealing the birdseed we put out for our avian friends. A squirrel will go to great lengths to get those free meals and may surprise you in how acrobatic they are. If squirrels are all over your feeder and you need a squirrel proof bird feeder then we really like the Squirrel Buster by Brome. We review the whole Squirrel Buster lineup in this article to help you pick the best one for you. A squirrel baffle is also great for deterring them from climbing a bird feeder pole.

Cats are another worry for many people. They have a natural predator instinct, they are very quiet, and can jump insanely high to nab one of your little friends while he is having a meal. If you own an outdoor cat or have feline visitors in your yard then you may want to invest in an extra tall feeder pole that even high jumping kitties can’t reach, like this one on Amazon. Check out our article on keeping cats away from feeders for more tips. 

Other birds are also something you may need to consider. Hawks are natural predators and are constantly flying overhead looking for their next meal. If you do not give your birds adequate cover from above as well as below they may end up in the talons of a Kestrel or other type of hawk.

squirrel on bird feeder
Image: Jasmin777 |

Ok I’m ready to hang my bird feeder, what kind of seed should I get?

You have several options here but a good mixed bird seed or black sunflower seed is fine to start out until you figure out what types of birds frequent your yard and what they like. You can then determine which birds you want to cater to and encourage more of by putting out certain types of bird seed.

7 thoughts on “How High Should a Bird Feeder Be Off the Ground?”

  1. I was given a bird feeder for Christmas. I’m in the country in Vermont and my house is on a hill with a two level deck. I bought a deck hook and have attached the feeder to it. It’s on the top deck and easily 20 feet above the deck below. It seems like it’s hanging out there in the open and I wonder if it’s too open for birds. I’ve never had a bird feeder before. The trees are just beginning to leaf out but there are branches 10 feet or so from the feeder. Is it too high above the ground?

    • Hi Annamarie – it sounds like it’s in a really good spot! I’m not sure there is such a thing as “too high”, that should be no problem. And 10 feet from branches puts it fairly close to cover which they will like. They enjoy having trees close by that they can perch in and fly back-and-forth from. I hope you enjoy your feeder and watching the birds! You should get plenty of fun birds out in the VT country, it’s a beautiful state.

  2. Thank you! Maybe I’ll come back and let you know how it goes. So far no birds there but I have read that it can take awhile if they aren’t used to a feeder being here.

  3. We live in Fayetteville, Pa, just west of Gettysburg. I normally have lots of birds enjoying our multiple feeders, but this year, hardly any. My neighbor, who lives maybe 50 feet from us, has built a wooden stand for his multiple feeders, where he has had birds in the past as well. He’s getting the normal birds, but for me, hardly any. I’ve got feeders in the front and back yard. I’ve cleaned and scrubbed each feeder and put in new food. Any ideas what might be the problem?

    • Hey Tom, it’s likely just the newly found abundance of food. Birds will typically go for the easiest source of food available. You can try offering different types of food and using different types of feeders. Do you have a suet feeder out? If your neighbor doesn’t then that could attract some species that he isn’t getting. Then of course in a few months you should see some more activity once there are more birds in the area needing food for themselves and their young.

    • Hey Annette, at least in the 5-6 ft range from the ground is going to be best for really any type of feeder. For most people that’ll be at least shoulder hight or higher.

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