If you thought you needed to live in a very rural area or own a large yard to enjoy the peaceful and fascinating hobby of watching birds visit and feed your home, you would be wrong.
Although that means you have a better chance of seeing a greater number and more diverse range of birds, it is still possible to enjoy feeding and watching birds, even if you live in an apartment and the best you can offer feathery visitors is a window or railing mounted feeder.
If you are looking for inspiration or suggestions of products that can help you to enjoy birding, even if you haven’t got the most spacious and expansive yard, then you’ve come to the right place.
At BirdWatchingBuzz we want all our readers who have a love and respect for our feathery friends to enjoy the satisfaction of feeding and watching birds.
To help, we have put together a guide to some options you may want to consider for alternatives to traditional bird feeders.
- 1 Best Apartment Railing Bird Feeder
- 2 Best Hanging Bird Feeder for Apartment Railing
- 3 Window Feeders
- 4 Hanging a Feeder On Your Deck
- 5 How to Attract Birds to Your Feeder
- 6 Respect Landlords, Property Owners and Your Neighbors
Best Apartment Railing Bird Feeder
Later in our guide we are going to look at window mounted bird feeders, which are one of the more popular options for encouraging flying visitors to stop at your home.
However, before we get into them, we are going to look at apartment railing bird feeders.
These are best suited to anyone who has a balcony and a railing outside their apartment. Which may be worth considering as your first option if you are not sure you want birds congregating so close to your
There are two key parts you need to benefit from this solution – a railing clamp of some kind that will hold the weight of a bird feeder and the bird feeder itself.
Stokes Select Deck Hook with Clamp-on Bracket
From Stokes Select, we have selected this railing clamp made from weatherproof and rustproof metal that has been powder coated. This durable and sturdy solution is easy to install and does not require the use of any tools. Measuring 34-inches, the clamp hook on deck rail is designed for any railing with a thickness of up to 2-inches.
Best Hanging Bird Feeder for Apartment Railing
Perky-Pet Panorama Bird Feeder
To couple with the above rail clamp, we have selected this hanging bird feeder by Perky-Pet. It has a maximum capacity of 2-pounds of seed and has a tray-style design feeding section and a circular perch that runs all the way around the feeder providing a place for birds to settle as they help themselves to some grub.
It has a special Sure-Lock cap that locks the lid into place to keep squirrels out and the powder-boated brown finish helps protect it against the adverse effects of the weather and rust.
At BirdWatchingBuzz, we feel that window feeders are perhaps the best options when there is a limited amount of space or none. These can be carefully attached to any glass surface or window with the use of suction cups. One of the great things about a window bird feeder is you can watch birds up close and personal without even needing to leave the house.
The only thing you need to be careful of is the windows you choose to have them attached to. For instance, if you choose windows for rooms where there is a lot of traffic, it could scare off the birds a little.
To help you choose the right window bird feeder, we have highlighted our 4 favorites of the options available right now.
Entirely Zen Window Bird Feeder
The first window bird feeder we have chosen is this Entirely Zen model. It features four ultra-strong and durable suction cups that will ensure it stays exactly where you install it even when you are fortunate enough to play host to many birds at one time.
What’s more, thanks to its incredibly clear design, you will always have an unobstructed view of the visitors to your feeder. Another thing that makes this a great option is that compared to other bird feeders with seed trays that slide out and have a tendency of slipping and spilling seeds all over the place, this has an easier to use, removable tray that will always keep the seeds in place.
It also holds more seeds than others, meaning you don’t need to refill it quite as often.
In addition to those features, it also benefits from raised drainage holes that ensure the seeds are dry, even during inclement weather. You will also find it easy to install and to keep clean too.
Nature Gear Window Bird Feeder
Next is this stylish house-style window bird feeder from Nature Gear. It has been fully weatherproofed with the sidewalls and roof designed to keep all forms of adverse weather and squirrels. This has a very tough and durable structure made from a transparent and robust acrylic and oversized suction cups (of which there are three).
The manufactures have not only made it so it will not fall apart easily and withstand various forms of impact but that it is easy to install and refill when it runs out. You don’t need to remove the entire feeder (which can be a bit of a pain) as there is a sliding feed tray that is easy to remove and replace.
As is the case with the model above, the seed tray features drainage holes that have been precisely drilled to avoid water collecting up and causing mold to form on the seeds.
Nature’s Hangout Window Bird Feeder
Another awesome window bird feeder is this from the company called Nature’s Hangout. Like the others, it benefits from crystal clear acrylic so you can have close-up and impeccable views of your feathery visitors.
We really like its open-plan design and the fact that also like the others, is very easy to empty and clean thanks to the fact it comes with a removable tray for the seeds and built-in drainage holes to prevent water from puddling around the seeds.
All the window bird feeders we have featured state that they have the strongest suction cups. The great thing about is model is that the suction cups come with a lifetime guarantee.
You have space for four cupful’s of birdseed at one time and there is a padded and comfortable perch for your flying friends to sit on while they enjoy food and seek shelter from the weather when it turns bad thanks to the house-style cover and roof.
Birdious Tube Window Bird Feeder
The last of the four window bird feeders we wanted to single out was this model because of its spherical design. It makes for a different look and feel to the rectangular and square ones you see so often.
You can set it up in minutes and it has a 3-compartment seed tray that can be attached and detached easily when you need to clean and refill it.
Made from acrylic like the others in our guide, this has been designed to last for an exceptionally long time. As well as a large food tray, there are also two handy water troughs to encourage your new feathered friends to have a drink or even a bath.
Hanging a Feeder On Your Deck
Although we have touched upon this briefly already, we wanted to devote an entire section to the option for bird feeders you have if your property has a small balcony or decking. If you are concerned about using window bird feeders or just would rather, they were close to your house, but not that close, we have some excellent solutions for you.
We have handpicked some of the best hooks and poles you can use on your decking to hang bird feeders from so you can still enjoy your birding hobby.
Grey Bunny Heavy Duty Extended Reach Wall-Mounted Deck Hook/Wall Pole
First up, we have this multi-functional and multi-purpose decking pole and hook that is made from heavy duty, sturdy and rust and weatherproof steel. It is relatively easy to set up with minimal work required and once it has been installed you can adjust the angle and height of the hook with the hand swivel.
We especially like its length. At 37-inches, there are not many squirrels who would dare to try and climb it to get to the bird feeder and all that free grub.
As long as it has been tightly secured to the decking or wall you can attach some of the heavier planters and bird feeders without fear of the pole snapping or the feeders dropping and breaking.
When you consider its relatively low-price tag, it’s an even more attractive bird feeding solution.
SwingArm USA Strongest Extended Reach 60-Inch Double Hook Swinging Bird Feeder Pole
How about an easy to set up bird feeder pole that can be attached to just about anywhere as the others we have featured can, but with one added bonus – it can take two bird feeders at a time.
Made in America, the StrongArm USA extended and swinging hook and pole helps to keep the birds away from your deck, even if you set it up there, so there is less mess to clear up.
While the swinging action helps make refilling your bird feeders a cinch. With an extendable length up to 60-inches, this pole is capable of supporting a maximum weight of 25-pounds.
Deck Pole Alternative – Umbrella Stand
There are a number of places online where you will see references to a deck feeder hack. It involves using an umbrella stand. Rather than inserting one of your umbrellas, you could invest in a shepherd’s hook pole.
This idea is best suited to properties where there are even stricter rules. So, give it consideration, especially if you are not allowed to connect, attach or hang anything to your property’s decking.
Tips For Your Deck Feeder
If you intend to set up a deck bird feeder, and are using any of the poles, clamps and hooks mentioned in this post, most bird feeders will work with them. The main issue you are going to have in this scenario is that squirrels will find it much easier to get to the feeder. Therefore, look out for those feeders and poles categorized as being “squirrel-proof”.
At BirdWatchingBuzz we have already tackled the subject of squirrel-proof bird feeders and have covered our favorite options here.
Of the many great products, we reviewed in that post, if we had to single one it would be the crème de la crème of the bird feeding world, the Squirrel Buster Plus. Whether you opt for the smaller model known as the Squirrel Buster Standard or the larger Squirrel Buster Pro, we think you will be bowled over at just how durable and high quality they are.
How to Attract Birds to Your Feeder
Whatever way you choose to set up feeders for birds you want to bring to your garden, you may wonder how you can attract them. The general thought is birds are very visual when it comes to finding food. Therefore, the best way to encourage them to visit your feeders is by making them as eye-catching as possible. Two of the best ways to achieve this is with water and greenery.
Give the winged guests to your garden someplace to stop and groom and have a drink with birdbaths. You can either use heated and more traditional birdbaths that you can purchase online and attach to deck railings or you can simply place a small dish with some water in it on top of a little table. Birds enjoy preening and grooming in water, not just drinking it, so if you put it out for them, they are likely to show some interest.
If your decking, balcony or whatever space you have in your yard lacks horizontal space, you should consider the vertical options you have. A wall of plants is a great way to attract birds. If you don’t have a wall you can use to grow a climbing plant on, you could invest in a freestanding planter. Remember to use lots of colorful flowers and foliage.
If you do have a small ledge, balcony or deck you could add some potted plants to give your yard a bit more greenery.
Simple, but effective, window boxes placed near your bird feeders can provide the area with flowers and greenery. There are even birds that use window boxes to nest in. The addition of cotton, twigs or even miss can make it an attractive place for birds to make their nest.
Don’t worry if you still find it hard to add water or greenery around or close to your feeder as the chances are that birds will find it eventually. It may take some time to get established, but trust us, they will show up!
Respect Landlords, Property Owners and Your Neighbors
There are some considerations you need to make that relate to leased condos, units, apartments and properties that are part of owner’s associations.
Always Check Your Property Lease
Before you even start looking at bird feeder options, if you are in a leased property you should check the lease thoroughly. Some HOAs and leases forbid the use of bird feeders on the properties they pertain to.
Why is that? Bird feeders being used often means that unwanted wildlife is attracted to the property, not just squirrels, but raccoons and bears, bird droppings everywhere and huge piles of birdseed shells.
Many owners associations and landlords just don’t want to deal with those kinds of problems. You may still be allowed to have something, so don’t be completely put off the idea. It may mean that you need to ask your landlord or someone in charge. For example, a hummingbird feeder that doesn’t rely on seeds to feed the birds may be acceptable.
The nectar you fill those kinds of feeders up with is unlikely to attract any unwanted creatures and the droppings made by hummingbirds will not only be incredibly small but minimal.
You can find out more about some of our favorite hummingbird feeders here.
Always be Contentious and Considerate of Neighbors
Whether there are people living at either side of you or beneath you, you need to consider how having bird feeders could impact their property. Are they going to need to deal with broken shells on their patio or decking?
This type of problem could easily be avoided by using bird seed that has already been shelled, which is often listed as “hearts”. Although they are a bit pricier than the seeds sold in their shells, they are more convenient and less messy.
Similarly, you should consider whether there is going to be a lot of feces landing on the neighbor’s directly beneath your property. A simple remedy to both these problems would be to lay out a mat or rug beneath the feeder to catch any excess that falls.