A bird table is key to attracting birds to your garden. It’s a garden focal point, a source of endless entertainment. But how to choose? If you are looking for your first bird table or replacing an old one, the sheer number of options can be confusing. In this article, we will help you decide. We’ll take a look at the things to consider when choosing a bird table, and give you details of some of our own best bird table picks.
Which is the Best Bird Table – Buyers Guide
You need to take a few factors into account when choosing a bird table that meets your needs and the needs of the birds you want to attract. Let’s take a look.
Size matters in two ways when choosing a bird table. Firstly the size of the feeding platform is important.
Too small and the feeding platform will become overcrowded. This means it will need cleaning more often, you will experience more seed spillage and smaller, more timid birds may be put off by the crowds.
If the feeding platform is too big, it will become a landing strip for big birds like pigeons, who will quickly take over and peck up all your bird food before others have a chance.
We would recommend a feeding platform of 2 – 3 square foot, so 15-18 inches each side.
The second consideration with size is the height of the table feeding platform from the ground.
Too high and birds that prefer to feed on or near the ground like robins or blackbirds won’t use it.
Too low and it can make your birds a sitting target for the local cats and other predators.
A tall table may make a very eye-catching garden feature. But it can also have other drawbacks. If your table is too high off the ground, you may struggle to see the action from your sofa or garden chair. A very high feeding platform can also be a pain to clean and stock up – especially if you are “vertically challenged” like me!
And perhaps most important very tall tables are most prone to blowing over in high winds.
For best results, for you and the birds, we would recommend a feeding platform between 48 and 68 inches from the ground.
You can also add additional feeding space to your table, and offer feeding platforms at different heights, by adding an extension piece.
Most bird tables are made of wood. But all woods are not equally good when it comes to bird table construction. Solid wood tables will last longer than ply. You should also look at what the wood has been treated with: a water-based, animal-safe preservative is what you need. Anti-bacterial coatings can also be useful to stop the spread of disease.
Also look for Forestry Service Certified, sustainable timber.
It may be tempting to go for a bird table with an elaborate design, Maybe lattice-work, carving, thatch or scrolls would fit in with your garden design.
We would advise you to keep it simple.
There are a couple of reasons for this. First off, it’s essential to keep your bird table clean, to avoid a build-up of mouldy food and stop the spread of diseases amongst your garden birds.
The more decoration, nooks and crannies your bird table has, the more difficult it will be to keep clean.
The bird table will also be out in the weather, which will inevitably erode the table over time. Weather damage tends to show first on joints and edges, The more of these there are, the quicker your table will wear out.
Some tables offer a nesting box in the roof space. Though this seems like a nice idea, it’s not. Birds like to nest in a quiet place, and a busy bird table certainly isn’t quiet.
Some tables offer a slot in wire feeder, the sort you might hang from a tree and see blue tits on, in the centre of the feeding platform. Again, not a good idea. The birds who use your table will be those who like to stand on a flat surface to feed. Birds to use wire feeders like to hang at an angle, By combining the two in the same place, things are just going to get overcrowded. Give the birds a bit of space and keep your table and hanging feeders separate.
So, when you’re looking at design, plan to keep it simple.
You may not think that a wooden table sitting several feet off the ground needs drainage, but you’d be wrong.
Birdseed left to sit in a puddle of water will quickly go mouldy, especially in warmer weather.
Be sure the table you choose has a means of letting rainwater run off the feeding platform.
There are two aspects to think of in terms of bird table safety.
First safety for the birds. Before you buy your bird table check that any wood treatment used is animal-safe. Then check the table over to ensure there are no sharp edges or protruding fixings that could injure them.
Then safety for you. This is mainly about making sure you have a bird table that isn’t going to fall over easily. If you are looking at a traditional pole-mounted bird table, check out the base. Is it bigger than the feeding platform? Do the feet allow for the use of anchor pegs for greater stability, or can they be extended?
Most bird tables come with a roof. This is a good idea as it offers the birds and the bird food some protection from the elements.
You need to take a few things into consideration with regards to the roof of your bird table.
First, make sure that the edges of the roof extend beyond the edges of the feeding platform. This way rain and snow will fall onto the ground, not onto the feeding platform.
Secondly, roofing material. Wood is fine so long as it is appropriately treated. But roofing felt will offer more protection and a longer life for your bird table.
A slate roof can be beautiful and extremely durable but bear in mind that it will also be heavy.
Although they can be attractive, think carefully before you choose a thatched roof for your bird table. Thatch is straw, which is a popular nesting material. The birds will be delighted to see you offering them dinner AND a supply of nesting materials. But your bird table might not last long. If you go for thatch, choose a design that is very well secured in place.
A flat-pack bird table will usually save you money and can be a good option if you are on a budget and have good DIY skills.
But if like me you are a bit of a klutz with a screwdriver going for flat pack could be a false economy. If you put your bird table together badly it will quickly become rickety, get damaged and need replacing. I’m sure we’ve all had enough dodgy Ikea furniture to know how true this is.
So check how much assembly your chosen table needs and be honest with yourself about your DIY ability!
We tend to think of bird tables as standing on a wooden pole, and most of them do, but there are other options.
It’s possible to buy wall/fence mounted bird tables and hanging models. These could be well worth considering if you have a small garden or flat.
What Birds Do You Want To Feed?
We’ve already talked about how the hight of the feeding platform will influence what birds you attract. But you can also have an influence on this with the design of the feeding platform.
If you are happy to keep open house for all the birds in your area, then an open-sided bird table will be perfect.
If you find you are getting overrun with pigeons, doves and other big birds you might want to think again. If they find your table, Pigeons and doves will eat up all your feed before the smaller birds get a look in. In fact, the presence of such big birds at the table can scare off the smaller ones altogether.
If pigeons are a problem for you and you want to give the smaller birds a chance to think about opting for a table with smaller openings, it will make it more difficult for the bigger birds to gain access.
Our Top Bird Table Picks
Best for Big Gardens – Ballycastle XL
- Part Assembled – comes in 3 pieces
- Made from sustainable timber
- Slate effect roof
- Treated with Water Based preservative.
- Extendable feet provide additional stability.
- Steep pitch roof ensures rapid rain runoff.
Inspired by the Giants Causeway’s hexagonal slate pillars in Ballycastle, Ireland this bird table is a truly handsome beast.
The six-panelled roof is topped by a solid wood acorn finial giving the table height without raising the feeding platform to an impractical level.
The table offers drainage channels to allow rainwater runoff, and extendable feet give all-important extra stability.
The Ballycastle is also available in a deluxe version with two additional, height-adjustable feeding platforms.
If you are looking for a well-constructed bird table which will create a focal point for your garden the Ballycastle is hard to beat.
Best For All The Birds – Bath Universal Featheredge Bird Table
- Unique Featheredge roof design
- Open construction allows a clear flight path for large and small birds.
- Anti-fungal treatment helps maintain a healthy feeding environment.
- Constructed from sustainable solid wood
- Minimal assembly comes in just 2 pieces.
The Bath bird table is a great option if you are looking to offer food to both small and larger birds. The open design allows easy access for all whilst an anti-fungal treatment keeps the feeding platform healthy and aids against the spread of diseases.
It’s a classic design that will fit into any garden and comes solidly made from sustainable timber with just 2 pieces to slot together.
An excellent option at a very competitive price.
Best For Small Birds – The Fordwich Bird Table
- Smaller openings restrict access for big birds.
- Rustic, log-lap wood creates an attractive look.
- Hand made in the UK to withstand UK weather.
- Constructed from sustainable FSC timber.
- Delivered in just 2 pieces for easy assembly
- Choose a black or green roof.
- Deluxe version offers additional feeding platforms.
If you have problems with pigeons, this is the table for you. The semi-enclosed feeding platform is just not that easy to access for larger birds, whilst providing plenty of year-long shelter for our smaller feather visitors.
The log-lap finish and thick, shingled roof give an attractive rustic appearance to the table, whilst being sturdy, hardwearing and practical.
And a choice of colours and optional extras mean the Fordwich will fit right into most gardens.
If you want to focus your feeding on smaller birds, this could be the table for you.
Best for Big Numbers – Deluxe Glencoe Bird Table
- Multiple feeding platforms allow you to feed a variety of birds.
- Slate, mansard style roof ensures rapid water runoff.
- Anchor pegs included to ensure stability.
- The anti-bacterial coating reduces mould and fungus.
- Delivered in 4 pieces for easy assembly
- Constructed from sustainable solid wood.
The Glencoe is one of the largest bird tables on the market, and with its smart slate roof and acorn finial, it will make a stunning garden feature.
The Glencoe overcomes some large bird tables’ problems by offering anchor pegs for stability and additional, lower feeding platforms for birds like robins and blackbirds.
Despite its impressive size, the Glencoe won’t test your DIY skills too much as it is delivered in just 4 pieces for easy assembly.
This bird table is a great option if you want to support a wide range of wild birds in your garden.
Best For Small Spaces – The Hove Fence/Wall Mounted Bird Table
Dimensions: 255×255 x255mm plus 500mm bracket
- Traditional bird table design
- Solid wood bracket for easy wall or fence mounting.
- Drainage channels keep food dry.
- Overhanging roof provides shelter.
- Constructed from sustainable solid wood
- Minimal assembly required.
If you don’t have room for a free-standing bird table, this is the one for you.
The Hove looks just like a traditional bird table but can be fixed to a wall or fence with a solid wooden bracket.
This means you can have a bird table in the smallest garden or even on the wall outside a flat.
Though hanging feeders are great for birds like blue-tits, ground-feeding birds like to feed on a flat surface or platform, so if you want to attract them you really do need a table, and the Hove gives you that option, whatever size your outdoor space.
Best On a Budget – The Maypole
- Solid Wood Bird Table
- Traditional Design
- Flat packed with simple instructions.
- Designed and hand-built in the UK.
- Constructed from sustainable timber.
On a budget? No problem. The Maypole is a sturdy, attractive traditional bird table at a penny-pinching price.
The trade-off is that it comes flat packed, and you will need to assemble it yourself. But never fear! There are very clear assembly instructions, and a host of customer reviews confirm that this table really is easy to put together and solid when finished.
Best of all, the birds will love it.
If you are on a budget, or if you just like a bit of a project, the Maypole could be a good choice for you.
The Best Bird Table – A Matter Of Choice
Adding a bird table to your garden brings nature right to your door and helps support our wonderful native wildlife.
In this article, we’ve given you some pointers on how to choose the best bird table – what to look out for and what to avoid.
There is a bird table out there for every size and style of garden and every budget. We hope this guide will help you find the right one for you.
If you have suggestions or questions, we would love to hear them, leave us a comment below – or send us a picture of the birds at your table!