This years’ best list highlights some unique, modern designs with a focus on bird health and ease of cleaning and maintenance. Birds are not simply for our entertainment. We must be stewards of nature and protect them as well by providing a safe feeding environment for them.
In 2021 birds had their own pandemic and thousands died from disease outbreaks that experts believe were transmitted at poorly maintained bird feeders and birdbaths where birds congregate and infect others.
We must protect our bird friends by committing to regularly cleaning our bird feeders. So a significant consideration for this year is the ease of cleaning and maintenance to make it easier to protect our birds!
We are less focused on larger capacity (set it and forget it) feeders, as they are more inclined to get dirty between refills and have a higher potential of seed spoilage that may be unhealthy for birds. Instead, we recommend placing a few smaller feeders which can also help reduce the potential of “bully” birds trying to dominate a single large feeder.
This years' list includes best overall feeder and best in class for tube feeders, squirrel prevention, and hummingbird feeders, for those of you who enjoy multiple bird feeding stations.
We decided to no longer recommend platform feeders because of the potential danger for birds to spread disease through contaminated feed as they walk amongst it.
For helpful tips on picking the right birdfeeder for your backyard, check out our latest post on bird feeder FAQs.
Best Overall Feeder –
ClearView Deluxe Window Bird Feeder
Leaping to the top of the list for 2022 is a new unique premium window feeder from ClearViewBirds.com. Window bird feeders are unique in that they bring birds up-close to brighten our windows daily! The birds become great companions for us to bring some much needed optimistic and peaceful energy into our homes. Even urban or apartment dwellers without sizable backyards can still bring the beauty of nature via feathered visitors to your living space.
Many window bird feeders struggle to give an unobstructed view of visiting birds which is why we loved this design that moved the 4 suction cups off to the sides to provide a large viewing window to see the birds up-close without the cups in the way!
ClearView Deluxe Window Bird Feeder
ClearView Deluxe is our Clear Winner for ease of cleaning and bird health features! It consists of two interlocking molded parts instead of glued together pieces of acrylic; and no square corners which make for easier cleaning. We also like that it has UV resistance, so it should last longer than its competitors and won’t yellow in the sun.
Its claim to fame is it is the “first and only bird feeder designed with birds’ health in mind with 4 layers of protection for birds.” The inventor was concerned about the outbreaks of Salmonella in 2021 that killed thousands of birds on the West Coast which became a significant driver of their “health focused” design, and we like the outcome.
They’ve named their unique acrylic formula NatureCare®, which provides anti-yellowing, an antimicrobial (optional) to inhibit microbe growth, as well as heat, chemical, bleach, and detergent resistance, so they say it is optional to clean and sanitize the tray in your dishwasher instead of via the traditional bleach soaking method. We’ve run samples through multiple dishwasher cycles, and it looks great so far with no discoloration. They reiterate that it should be rinsed outside, placed in the top rack by itself on a sanitize cycle every other week for best results or at least monthly.
They have incorporated a unique textured perch design to reduce the likelihood of birds jumping into the seed to minimize contamination.
Lastly, we like it has a unique interlocking tray design that separates the water from the 2 seed compartments to keep the water cleaner longer. It features a domed roof for all-weather feeding, accommodates larger birds, and sheds rainwater to the water cups on the sides.
At $39, it is a bit pricier than some of its competition, but it appears to be worth the extra money for the wide-open design, and unique cleaning and safety features it delivers.
Here is a one minute video from the founder discussing the unique design for the cause of bird health. https://youtu.be/6ujoOQXNFvg
Overall, we love their new modern design focused on bird health and think it is worth the price for a premium window bird feeder made in the USA. ClearView Deluxe is available on Amazon - Purchase Here
Best Tube Feeder - EcoClean® Medium Seed Tube Feeder
Tube feeders provide feeding stations for small and medium sized birds. They typically hang from a pole or branch.
We like the EcoClean tube feeder by Wild Birds Unlimited. EcoClean also includes protection for birds in the form of an embedded antimicrobial to inhibit bacteria growth, “that won’t wash or wear away”.
The tube design uses small open feeding “portals” that keep birds from jumping into the seed and potentially spreading disease.
Their 1-¼ quart Medium version has 4 feeding portals and given its relatively small size it can still be cleaned and disinfected in a regular bucket with a diluted bleach solution. I like the easy-clean feature of the removable bottom, they call it Quick-Clean®, and it is helpful for ease of maintenance because old seeds can get moldy and grow harmful bacteria.
Given the small perches, tube feeders are ideal for smaller songbirds (as an example, Cardinals and larger birds struggle a bit to stay on the perches to reach the seed). There are different capacity sizes available ranging from about $40 to over $100 for the extra-large capacity version. The Medium version we recommend runs about $60.
EcoClean is available online or local WBU retail stores - Purchase Here
Best Squirrel Proof Feeder –
Brome Squirrel Buster Standard
from Brome Bird Care
Squirrels are amazing athletes! And they have infuriated birders for decades! Given a chance they will clear out your bird feeder(s) regularly, seemingly just to torment us. The best alternatives are squirrel baffles for poles, special “hot pepper” bird seed, and squirrel proof feeders. Although more expensive, the latter deter squirrels by surrounding the feed by a cage, physically shutting off feeding portals with their heavier weight, or spinning them off (which can be entertaining! You can find some entertaining videos on YouTube).
We like the Squirrel Buster Standard from Brome Bird Care. It is a good balance of deterrence effectiveness, price/value (at $51), and ease of cleaning/maintenance. This particular model has 4 metal perches and uses the heavier weight of squirrels vs birds to physically lock out squirrels from the feeding portals via a moveable shroud. It uses a weight adjustable spring mechanism that enables you to tune the feeder to provide birds access, but not squirrels (or other heavier creatures).
Squirrel Buster Standard from Brome Bird Care
We like the clean simplicity of the design which also minimizes microbes via the small metal perches, so birds are not able to walk in the seed as well as the ventilation properties to keep seed fresher.
There are other larger versions available, but at over $100 we are reluctant to recommend them. Given their larger size they are more difficult to clean, maintain, and disinfect in a reasonable sized bucket.
Squirrel Buster Standard is available on Amazon - Purchase Here
Best Hummingbird Feeder – Rihogar Hummingbird Feeder
Who doesn’t love hummingbirds! They are such amazingly quick, colorful, and graceful miniature creatures! There are dish and bottle versions and even some pretty glass blown versions.
The important selection considerations are ease of cleaning and maintenance, leak-proof design, and the presence of an ant moat. As pretty as some of the ornate bottle designs are, we typically steer clear of them due to the inherent difficulty with thorough cleaning because of the small neck size - “bottleneck”.
Our favorite is a dish design from Rihogar
At under $20 for a set of two we like the simplicity and ease of cleaning of their red 12 oz leak-proof dish design. They are just easier to clean and maintain than their bottle designed brethren and this 2-pack from Rihogar also includes 2 cleaning brushes and 2 hanger hooks. We recommend two feeders to keep one up while the other is being cleaned or you can place two feeders a distance apart to keep a single hummingbird from trying to dominate a single feeder. It’s amazing how territorial these miniature birds can be!
Rihogar Hummingbird Feeder 2 pack
There are 5 easy access built-in ports and a dual purpose high set perch (so they can be alert for potential predators and they are easier for us to view them) – it doubles as a place to rest for the hummingbirds (if they ever do!). The flower-shaped nectar portals are simple and raised to keep out rainwater, not dainty decorative flowers that need to be individually removed and cleaned. The red color top section attracts hummingbirds and (for most of us) an ant moat is required. With Rihogar they also include a second ant moat in the form of hanger hooks that can also be filled with water.
Simply fill it with a sugar water mix (4 parts water to one part sugar). It’s easy to make your own nectar instead of buying, and we do not recommend using red coloring for hummingbirds. Nectar spoils quickly, especially with direct sunlight! So, remember to clean and replace any unused nectar at least weekly and more frequently in hot weather or in direct sun (try to find a shaded location if possible).
The one negative is this model is NOT dishwasher-safe. So you’ll need to use a diluted bleach solution to disinfect it every two weeks or so. Just make sure to rinse it thoroughly and dry it completely before refilling as even traces of bleach are dangerous to hummingbirds.
Rihogar Hummingbird Feeder is available on Amazon - Purchase Here
Why don't we include Platform Feeders?
Platform Feeders can be dangerous for birds. We’ve made the decision to no longer recommend platform feeders because of the danger they can pose with birds transmitting disease by walking in the seed, contaminating it, and infecting others.
Diseases such as Salmonella spread through contaminated fecal matter from infected birds, which essentially means birds transmit the disease primarily through their feet, polluting the feed with every step as they walk in and amongst it. If you currently have a platform feeder, we recommend you consider replacing it with one of the safer options mentioned above.
We love our birds and hope you will do your part by protecting them with a safe and clean feeding environment so they thrive in 2022!
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