There is nothing more rewarding than looking through the window, no matter what the season, and watching the birds go about their morning and evening rituals. If the sight of
blackbirds, starlings, sparrows, great tits, blue tits, robins and many other British birds besides pleases you then you need to put some effort into attracting them into your garden. The only sure-fire way to draw birds to your garden is by offering them food. To coin a phrase, continually provide the eats and they will come and come again.
A bird feeding station is a device ( a sturdy metal pole rigidly affixed to the ground with lateral branches and hooks ) that facilitates the hanging of bird feeders. All but the very basic type of bird station will usually have a seed tray and water tray at the centre of its pole.
Variety is key when you are trying to attract more garden bird species. Each species prefer different seeds; goldfinches have a particular taste for black nyjer seed while other birds prefer peanuts or sunflower seeds. The purchase of a garden bird feeding station means that you can hang a collection of different feeders and this offers multiple options for wildlife.
Bird feeders come in many types and in all shapes and sizes. They are perfect for gardens and patios alike, they allow you to get up and running and feeding your garden birds in no time. There’s no need to add brackets to your fence or wall and bird stations are easy to maintain or even move should your birds prefer a different location in your garden.
Buyers Guide: Key Things to consider when buying a bird feeding station.
1. The Price
An important consideration when buying a bird feeding station is, of course, price. At the absolute bottom end of the market, you would expect to pay something in the ballpark of a bit above £10. That is without any bird feeders being included although some bird stations do come with those as part of the package. At the top end of the price range, for a stunning, sparkling, beautiful and robust bird feeding beast, taking pride of place in your garden, you could be talking of something ten quid short of £100.
What do you want to pay? It’s up to you – but remember the maxim – you get what you pay for.
2. Aesthetic Quality
You are going to buy something that will be prominent in your garden for a very long time, so the look of your bird station, you simply must agree, is an important consideration. The vast majority of bird stations have the usual spiral finial at its top (one small bird station on this page boasts a bird design finial), so variation in design is pretty minimal.
In general, the more robust and strong your bird feeding station is, the more aesthetically pleasing it will be and usually more costly. The two premium bird stations on this page consist of one of a sturdy metal design and one of wooden construction. The other three are of metal construction with one of these having a slightly different design compared to the norm.
3. Fixing it to the Ground
Bird feeding stations need to be securely attached to the ground as when their large surface area fully laden with bird feeders is exposed to the wind a large force is created. There are essentially two ways to fully secure a bird station. One is by using a stabiliser. These usually have four prongs that fix into the ground and the bird station pole is secured into it. Some stations have these included but for others, the stabiliser may have to be purchased separately. Check this before buying as it may affect your decision on price.
Another way to fix your bird feeding station to the ground is by using your DIY skills. An inset can be concreted into the ground and your bird station pole fitted into it.
4. Number of hooks
The simple question you need to ask yourself is “how many feeders do I wish to hang from the station?” This will tell you how many hooks you need to have on your bird station. The most basic bog-standard bird feeding station will have at least two hooks with no feed or water trays. Some stations will have up to ten hooks and two trays, enough space to hang a whole panoply of available feeders, so you have a multitude of options.
5. Do you want it to be squirrel-proof?
Grey squirrels will soon discover ways to obtain food from your bird station if you do not take precautions to prevent them. Presumably, you are reading this page because you are interested in buying a bird feeding station, and the easiest way to thwart squirrels from obtaining food from a bird station is by buying a squirrel baffle. This is a half-dome piece of plastic that fits some distance up the pole to prevent squirrels from going any further. These will work only if your bird station is some distance from places where squirrels can leap from, so take note of this when positioning your station.
For some bird stations, squirrel baffles may be hard to affix, due to thicker poles or different designs. For example, the wooden station on this page has a thick square pole, and the Tom Chambers station has a very thick circular pole which is incompatible with most squirrel baffles. Some ingenuity may be required to make it squirrel-proof. Simply making each individual bird feeder squirrel-proof is one solution, although a more costly one.
It goes without saying that the stronger and sturdier your bird feeding station is, the longer it will last. Some poles are much thinner than others, but it all depends on how many feeders you wish to hang from it. More delicate bird stations will be less able to be overladen with feeders. Most bird stations are treated with anti-rust coating to protect them from the ravages of the weather.
7. Accessories that come with the product
Some bird feeding stations come as a package with bird feeders supplied. One station reviewed on this page, the Gardman Complete Bird feeding Kit, a mid-range bird station, comes with four bird feeders supplied. You need to know that the quality of these feeders is not of the greatest and if you are not constrained by a tight budget, a premium bird feeding station combined with separately bought bird feeders, although more costly, might be more to your liking as the whole package is linked with higher durability and increased longevity not to mention, more pleasing to the eye.
Here we go into more detail on the five bird feeding stations we have selected. Two are premium products ( the Tom Chambers station and the Riverside Woodcraft station) One is a mid-range product (the Gardman station with bird feeders included) The other two (the Honeyfield pole and the Green Jem station) are lower range products:-
1. Tom Chambers Grand Bird Station
The Tom Chambers bird feeding station is one of the most elegant bird stations you can buy. Its sheer beauty will make it the centrepiece of any garden, attracting wild birds from all around into the bargain. This bird station is definitely at the premium end of the market, but you may feel that it is a purchase well worth the outlay. This sturdy feeding station will last years, so it is money well spent.
The Tom Chambers station has a very heavy 38mm gauge pole ( this is no flimsy product ) which is one reason why it is described as Grand. The pole is fixed into the ground using a double stabiliser foot ( 4 prongs in total ), so the purchase of a stabiliser ( which often has to be bought separately with other bird feeding stations ) is not needed. This provides even more stability, making the Tom Chambers station one of the most sturdy Bird Feeding Stations on the market.
This station comes with 4 hooks to hang bird feeders ( bird feeders not included ) and an additional one for a suet ball treat. It also comes with an extra-large Seed tray and a water dish. If squirrels are a problem in your garden, I suggest that you buy some squirrel proof bird feeders. The Tom Chambers bird feeding station, as far as I know, does not have a squirrel dome available for purchase. The squirrel baffle dome seen further down the page is incompatible with this product.
Two strong stabilisers included
Ample number of hooks
Feeding tray and water tray included
No bird feeders included
More difficult to make squirrel-proof
Manufacturer: Tom Chambers
Superb heavyweight Bird Station
Double stabilisers for extra stability
Heavy gauge pole, brackets and accessories ( seed tray, water dish and extra hook )
Note: Cannot be used with Bird Station Patio Stand
Pole: 38mm gauge
Height (above ground): 2.3 m
2. Riverside Woodcraft Bird Feeding Station Deluxe
The Riverside Woodcraft bird feeding station, the deluxe model, is a premium product and a marvellous alternative to many of the cheaper and flimsier metal ones people stick in their lawns. It has a very sturdy wooden base and strong metal brackets for attaching bird feeders to. This is the deluxe model, a smaller model is also available.
The whole thing is 1.8m tall, 0.5m shorter than the other premium Tom Chambers Grand station on this page. It has eight sturdy metal hooks to hang bird feeders (not included) from and boasts an anti-fungal and Anti-bacterial colour rich coating.
Due to its square wooden pole it may be difficult to add a squirrel dome to it, to fend off the pesky critters, so a little ingenuity may be required. The Riverside Woodcraft Deluxe station is of an extremely sturdy construction, but it may still need to be fastened to the ground to stop it falling over in very windy conditions. This can be achieved by using anchoring pegs. These are not included in the package and will have to be purchased separately, obviously inflating the overall price.
Two feeding trays
Anti-fungal anti-bacterial coating
No bird feeders included
Anchoring pegs not included
Manufacturer: Riverside Woodcraft
Superb sturdy Wooden Bird Station
Anti-fungal anti-bacterial colour rich coating
2 side feeding tables
Metal brackets for hanging feeders
Dimensions: 70 x 70 x 180 cm
Height (above ground): 1.8 m
3. Gardman Complete Bird Feeding Kit
The Gardman Complete Bird Feeding kit is a mid-range bird feeding station, and as the name suggests is a kit that comes with an adequate bird pole and a collection of four bird feeders. We have the usual bird feeder tray and water tray below the main feeders. Its finial gives it a tiny bit of style.
For your money you get a 2.3 m bird station with 5 hooks and extra strength screw together poles which is staked into the ground to secure it. For more stability you may feel the need to buy extra stabilisers, or if you want to position it on a patio you can buy the Gardman black patio stand as an extra. All this, of course, adds to the cost.
The bird feeders included are not of top quality, but they do an adequate job. Overall you get a decent bird station at a modest price, but some customers might prefer something a little bit more robust, especially if strong winds are an issue.
Medium price range
Easy to assemble
Adequate number of hooks
Bird feeders included
Fits into the ground via spike
2 Black steel seed feeders, 1 Black steel peanut feeder and 1 suet feast feeder included
2 lower trays fitted via spiral fittings
Dimensions: 45.5 x 45.5 x 226 cm
Pole: 25 mm gauge
Height (above ground): 2.3 m
4. Honeyfield’s, Wild Bird Feeder Pole
This is our budget item. It is possibly one of the most basic bird feeding stations you could buy and also one of the simplest in design. It has only 2 hooks for hanging bird feeders and no feeder or water trays. A tiny finial sits atop.
No bird feeders included
Only two hanging hooks
Dimensions: 49 x 10.5 x 5.5 cm
Pole: 20mm gauge
Height (above ground): 1.9 m
5. Green Jem Wild Bird Feeding Station
The Green Jem wild bird feeding station has a slightly different design from your usual bird station. It has a brown hammertone finish with an interesting leaf design and a lovely bird design finial on its top. This is a good little bird station for small gardens and will not be too hard on your wallet.
It is 2m tall and the pole comes in three parts which are very easy to assemble. It comes with an adequate stabiliser, but you could buy a more substantial one at an additional cost to improve its sturdiness. This very basic model does not come with fixed water or feed trays.
Overall this is a good little bird station and has a stylish quality to it, so you can stand out from your neighbours who might be hosting a more bland variety of station.
Ample hanging hooks
No bird feeders included
Manufacturer: Green Jem
Stylish bird finial
2 hooks to hang feeders
Brown hammertone finish
Dimensions: 65.8 x 21.2 x 7.2 cm
Pole: 22 mm gauge
Height (above ground): 2.0 m
Weight: 2.1 kg
Universal Bird Feeding Station Baffle Dome
Can also be used as a cover or feeding shelter
UV stabilised polycarbonate dome
Supplied with attaching mechanisms
Use in conjunction with Chapelwood’s range of dining stations, 22 mm feeder pole kits and most hanging feeders
So you have just bought your bird feeding station but those tricky squirrels are having a field day with it – they get more food from it than the birds you want to attract. Those birds depend on you and you do not want to disappoint. The Chapelwood Dome is just what it says it is, a dome made from polycarbonate material, resistant to the damaging effects of ultraviolet light, that is placed on the feeder pole to prevent squirrel ingress. Just look at the image above. That squirrel is getting no birdseed today!
The dome should be placed at a sufficient height ( around 1.4m ) from the ground to prevent the squirrel from access to the pole by jumping above it. Also, make sure that the feeding station is sufficiently far away from fences, trees, bird tables e.t.c, to prevent any squirrels from jumping from them to any point above the dome.
Reflections on Featured Bird Stations
On this page I have recommended three bird feeding stations, a Chapelwood complete dining station, a Gardman complete dining station and a Tom Chambers Grand Bird Station. The Chapelwood and
Gardman stations are essentially similar in that the purchase of extra bird feeders is not required, but you may feel the need to buy a stabiliser and a squirrel baffle ( should you have a squirrel problem ) with these stations. The bird feeders included with these purchases are not of the heavy-duty variety.
You may feel that the Tom Chambers Grand station is the best buy as it comes with a ready-made stabiliser and you can choose whichever bird feeders you should so desire. If you have a squirrel
problem then the feeders could be of the squirrel-proof variety. The Tom Chambers station is certainly of a more aesthetic design and I suppose the final look of your garden centrepiece is very much up to you. There you have it, the choice is yours.