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How To Feed Birds With No Yard

In the hustle and bustle of urban living, not everyone has the luxury of a backyard to enjoy nature. That doesn’t mean, however, that you can’t bring a touch of wildlife into your home. Bird feeding is a rewarding activity that can be enjoyed even without a yard. In this guide, we’ll explore some creative ways to feed birds without a yard. In fact, you can use these methods to feed birds even if you live in an apartment. 

Option 1: Window Feeders

window feeder carolina wren cardinal
Cardinal and Carolina Wren enjoying snacks at our window feeder

Window feeders are an excellent choice for bird enthusiasts without a yard. These compact feeders attach directly to your window, providing a front-row seat to up-close bird viewing. In most cases, these windows utilize suction cups that you simply press onto the outside glass of the window. 

Choosing the Right Window Feeder

Start by selecting a window feeder that suits your preferences and the local bird species. Opt for sturdy, weather-resistant materials and a design that allows easy refilling and cleaning. If you have small windows make sure you take measurements. You want the feeder to be easy to clean and refill, and we recommend an open-back design so you always get an unobstructed view. 

We recommend the Bird Feeder Hub Window Feeder. It has a removable seed tray for easy cleaning and refilling. There are four suctions cups to keep things secure, and they are located outside of the main area to not block your view. It has a tall interior and wide perch for larger birds like cardinals, mockingbirds and woodpeckers. The back is completely open, so you won’t get stuck with a plastic back that gets scratched up and becomes foggy with age.

Diversify Your Feeders

Seed feeders are a good place to start, but they also make suet window feeders and hummingbird window feeders. So if you have success with a seed feeder and want to attract even more diversity of species, consider adding in different types of feeders.

Securely Install the Feeder

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to securely install the window feeder. If the window feeder you are installing does have suction cups, you will need to thoroughly clean the exterior of the window before placing the suction cups against the glass. Remove any dirt and dust, and allow the glass to completely dry. Additionally, plan out the exact spot where the feeder will be installed before installing it. Make sure it’s placed at a height that allows you to observe the birds comfortably, and also reach it easily.

If you have trouble with the suction cups you can warm them up for a few sections in your hands or some warm water to make them more pliable. A tiny bit of oil can also help it stick to the window.

Selecting the Right Feed

Different bird species have different dietary preferences. Choose a high-quality bird feed that caters to your local bird population. The good news is that most bird seed companies offer premixed bags of bird food for certain instances. For example, if you want to attract songbirds, such as cardinals, finches, blue jays, and more, look for a mix specifically tailored for attracting songbirds. 

Additionally, if you’re worried about the mess that bird seed can make, consider using a no-waste mix (which may be labeled as “no-mess” or “perch and patio” mix). These types of blends contain nothing but the seeds, meaning the shells have been removed. So everything in the blend is consumable by your feathered friends. 

Regularly Clean The Feeder

One thing that many people forget is to regularly clean their bird feeds. The truth is that birds are more likely to visit a clean feeding station, and regularly cleaning can help prevent the spread of diseases. 

A mixture of dish soap, warm water, and just a little bleach (no more than 1 part bleach to 9 parts water) works well to clean and disinfect the bird feeders. Make sure to thoroughly scrub the feeders to remove any germs, dirt, grim, mold, or mildew. Then simply rinse the feeders and allow to air dry before filling them back up with seeds and reinstalling. 

Option 2: Hanging Feeders For Balconies Or Patios

deck patio feeder
Deck bird feeder and bath | image by Charley Lhasa via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0

If you have a balcony or patio but no yard, hanging feeders can be an excellent alternative to window feeders. Or you can utilize both types of feeders to attract even more birds to your home.

Choose Appropriate Hanging Feeders

Select hanging feeders that are suitable for your balcony or patio space. Consider the size and weight capacity to ensure they are securely fastened. You should also consider the material in which you will be installing the hanging feeders on. For example, certain hanging feeders are designed to be installed on a wooden railing, while others were made to be hung from metal railings. 

Secure Hanging Hooks

It is not uncommon for hanging bird feeders to include their own hardware required to install the feeder. If, however, you have a feeder that doesn’t include the hardware, you can typically Install sturdy hooks on the patio/porch/deck/balcony ceiling to hang the feeders securely. You may find more options by searching for deck plant hooks for hanging plants, it’s the same idea. There are options that clamp to deck railings, or some that you can screw into wooden posts.

Diversify the Feeder Types

Hang different types of feeders to attract a variety of bird species. Tube feeders, platform feeders, and hummingbird feeders can add diversity to your avian guests. Additionally, hang the feeders, whether they are all the same type or not, at different heights and not too close together.

Provide Shelter and Water

Consider adding a small bird bath or providing shelter in the form of hanging plants to create a welcoming environment for birds. You may be thinking, “How can I add a bird bath if I don’t have a yard?” There are several different types of hanging bird baths and even window bird baths that work well for anyone without a yard. 

Option 3: DIY Bird Feeders

DIY bird feeder
Creative DIY bird seed feeder

For those who enjoy a hands-on approach, creating your own bird feeders can be a fun and rewarding activity. It is also a wonderful way to keep children busy during rainy or snowy days. 

Types Of DIY Feeders

There are an array of different DIY bird feeders that you can make in the comfort of your own home. One of the simplest methods is to wrap a piece of suet in a mesh bag, secure the bag closed with a piece of twine, and then hang it from a hook. Many people also have success with pinecone feeders. Take a pinecone, use some string or twine around one end to create a hanging loop, then roll the pinecone in peanut butter and then bird seed. These are small and easy to hang from nearby trees or deck hooks.

Gather The Required Materials

The type of materials needed will depend on the type of feeder you are making. For example, if you are a plastic bottle bird feeder, you will need an empty plastic bottle that has been thoroughly washed and dried, wooden dowel, twine, and then the bird seed. You will also need a sharp knife or box cutter to cut a hole in the bottle that is large enough for the birds to access the seeds.

Create Perches

Adding perches to your bird feeder will allow your feathered friends to securely sit or stand while eating. Wooden dowels work well for porches, and can be inserted through the bottle. You can also use wood spoons or even sticks. No matter what material you decide to use, make sure that it is fastened securely to provide the birds with stability while visiting the feeder. 

Hang Your DIY Feeder

Once the feeder has been assembled, you will need twine or string attached to the feeder. This will let you hang the feeder outside of your window or from your balcony, porch, or patio. Once you have hung the feeder, fill it with the desired bird seed. 


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