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Maybe you’ve seen others with 10+ bird feeders, and you can’t help but wonder: “How many bird feeders do I need?” I too was curious about this, so I analyzed data from Project FeederWatch and found a definite answer. Here’s what I found:
As a general rule, you need as many as 7 bird feeders. First-timers should start with 1 bird feeder, then gradually increase more to within the range of 4 – 10. By having more bird feeders and bird feeders of various types, more birds are fed at once and different bird species will be attracted to your bird feeders.
Now you know how many bird feeders you should have! But there are a few caveats that you have to take note of. I’ll discuss it in this article. Read on for more details!
How Many Bird Feeders Do I Need? (A Facebook Survey)
To find the optimal number of bird feeders, I first thought of asking a simple question in a Facebook group that I was in: “Backyard Birdwatching”.
I thought that in order to find out how many feeders you should have, I should ask some people out there who are already well into feeding birds with feeders.
Here’s the question I asked:
The responses took a few days to roll in. There were a variety of comprehensive answers, but most of them commented with just a single number of feeders that they have!
I compiled the numbers into a graph so you can easily see the trend:
We can observe is that the most number of bird feeders that people own is more than 10! Also, we can see that People also like to own 6 feeders, coming in second at 4 votes.
However, I realized that this poll was too small to get any conclusive results. So, I went on to do an even deeper analysis!
Oh, by the way, here’s an interesting article that you need to read about painting bird feeders! Based on the research, painting alone can make a huge difference in the bird feeding habits of birds.
My article will cover most aspects of painting bird feeders safely!
How Many Bird Feeders People Actually Have: FeederWatch Site Analysis
In order to find more definitive answers, I analysed data from Project FeederWatch! Project FeederWatch is a bird feeder observation program that is organized by Bird Canada and Cornell Lab of Ornithology that runs every year.
With the data, I am able to look at how many bird feeders these participants actually own!
Here are the results:
Feel free to hover your mouse or tap/click on the graph elements to interact and watch the numbers change accordingly!
If you want to learn how to plot such cool graphs, you can try out some courses on Tableau.
Here’s what the graphs above all mean:
The average number of bird feeders that backyard birders own is 7.5, but this can range from between 4 and 10 feeders, depending on their personal preference. However, the number of bird feeders that birders have the most is 5, at 11.5% of the total, as seen in the graph above.
Also, as seen out of all the participants, the feeder that was owned the most was Suet feeders, followed by Ground feeders, and Tube feeders.
Feel free to click on the bar lines below to check which feeder types constitute the different bird feeder counts, from 1 to 20.
Can You Have Too Many Bird Feeders?
Here comes the most important question that I need to address! I’m sure you have thought about this when you are considering buying more feeders. Here’s a simple answer:
You can never have too many bird feeders. This is entirely up to you depending on your time commitment to cleanliness, maintenance, and costs in purchasing bird feed. There is no point in setting up more feeders but not being able to make the most out of all of them. Start with one and increase gradually.
In my analysis of FeederWatch data, I discovered that many backyard birders have feeder counts up until a hundred in rare cases!
What a feat to be able to handle so many at once! However, I personally don’t agree to have excessive amounts of feeders, but you should just have enough that you are able to handle and maintain in the long term.
My advice: You should just have between 4 and 10 feeders per backyard. Just follow what has worked for many other backyard birders!
This will do you well enough. If you want to spruce it up, consider a birdbath or birdhouses to complete the full bed and breakfast package!
If you’re wondering how long birds take to find new feeders, no fret, I have actually written a full article on this with the answer. Go read it here to check it out!
Is It Good To Have Multiple Bird Feeders?
It is good to have multiple bird feeders, preferably between 4 and 10 feeders. More specifically, it is good to have various types of bird feeders that can contain various types of feed in them. This approach will ensure that there is diversification of bird feed to attract a wide variety of bird species to birdfeeders.
You should definitely aim for owning multiple bird feeders because it can bring about lots of benefits such as diversification of bird feed, leading to attraction of different bird species!
Let me give you an example. If you set up a log feeder and fill it up with suet, it would definitely attract more woodpeckers because it simulates how it naturally feeds from its natural sources: tree barks!
In fact, at this point, if you realize that the number of bird feeders isn’t the problem you’re facing when trying to attract birds, check out this article where I list out 29 reasons why!
What Type of Bird Feeders Should You Have?
Let’s start with how you can own different types of bird feeders. Based on some recommendations from a Facebook Community group that I’m in, you should own a feeding pole that allows multiple bird feeders to hang down from.
Here are some guidelines that I have summarized from their discussions:
You should have 3 types of bird feeders:
- A hanging/tube feeder with sunflower seeds first
- A suet basket hanging feeder
- A hummingbird feeder.
You can then start to add more other types later on to attract more variety of birds.
Here, I compiled the 3 simple bird feeders you can purchase to work well together as a set! You can start with getting a tube feeder from Amazon here, a solid suet feeder here, and some hummingbird feeders here.
These choices are all great and work well, but feel free to choose one that you think looks great and suits your budget!
Recommended Tube Feeder
Recommended Suet Feeder
Recommended Hummingbird Feeder
My suggestion is to start with these 3 basic ones first. Then ramp up to 7 if you can accomodate more!
Now that you know how many bird feeders you should have, the best course of action now is to take action!
Of course, all of the information mentioned in this article is only a guideline and you can purchase as many as you like – no one will judge! (Even if you purchase up to 100!)
Okay, that’s all for this article. Thanks for reading and I hope you all the best. Happy birding!
My Recommended Birding Resources:
Hey there, Justin here!
Here’s a list of all my favorite resources, products, and brands I trust and love.
Safe Paint for Bird Baths Guide: Learn about non-toxic paint for painting bird baths.
Safe Sealers for Bird Baths Guide: Learn which sealers are safe for bird baths.
Safe Paint for Bird Feeders Guide: Learn what special care needs to be taken to paint bird feeders with the right paint.
Safe Paint for Birdhouses Guide: Learn about non-toxic paint for painting birdhouses. (Not the same as bird baths!)
Bird Identification Apps Guide: 2 of my favorite birding apps are Merlin Bird ID, and eBird Mobile! Merlin is great for tracking and identifying birds, and eBird Mobile is great for tracking the birds sighted when birding.
Check out my resources page for the full list of resources I recommend!
Justin is the founder and author of Birding Outdoors. He is a Nanyang Technological University (NTU) alumnus with a Bachelor of Biological Sciences and a former data analyst.
Now, Justin runs the Birding Outdoors blog full-time, hoping to share his deep love for birds, birding, and nature with others.
To unwind, Justin enjoys gaming and reading.