You may have seen some birders with over 10 bird feeders, and you can’t help but wonder how many bird feeders you should have for optimal feeding! I too was curious about this – so I analyzed thousands of bird feeding sites from Project FeederWatch and conducted polls to find some answers. Here’s what I found:
You should aim to have about 7 bird feeders. However, having a range of 4 to 10 bird feeders of various types and bird feeds is still optimal. This will help to diversify feed sources and attract a variety of birds to the bird feeding station.
Now that you know how many bird feeders you should have and have an idea of how many people actually have, we can explore the results more deeply. Read on to understand the reasons and how I arrived at my answer!
How Many Bird Feeders You Should Have: 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”. This group is kind of like my go-to place for queries! 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:
Well there’s not much of a trend, isn’t there? That’s quite true, given that the number of feeders can vary a lot among many people. However, what we can observe is that the most number of bird feeders that people own is more than 10 (5 votes)! Also, we can see that People also like to own 6 feeders, coming in second at 4 votes.
I realized that this poll was way too small to get any conclusive results. So, I went on to do an even deeper analysis!
How Many Bird Feeders People Actually Have: FeederWatch Site Analysis
Looking at the results from the poll, it’s rather inconclusive!
So, I went on to delve deeper into data to get some answers as to how many bird feeders that participants from Project FeederWatch use. 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! So, I took the data, did some crunching using R and Tableau, then came up with this visualization:
Feel free to hover your mouse or tap/click on the graph elements to interact and watch the numbers change accordingly!
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 follow what has worked for many other backyard birders: aim for within a range of 4 to 10 feeders per backyard. 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!
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!
What Type of Bird Feeders You Should 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, namely: (1) a hanging/tube feeder with sunflower seeds first, (2) a suet basket hanging feeders, and lastly (3) hummingbird feeders. 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!
I suggest that you get all these together to start with, then slowly ramp up the number to about 7, which doesn’t take too much effort! All the best with feeding the birds!
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!