With over 620 species of bird flying around Britain, it’s understandable we want to encourage more into our gardens, and a good quality bird table can be the first step to achieving this.
But with prices varying from £20 to over £100, it can be difficult to know which bird tables are worth the money. The best bird table has to be easy to assemble, easy to clean and most importantly, provide a safe place for birds to feed when food is scarce.
The colder months are when food is hardest to come by and birds will benefit the most from a bird table with a regular food supply. High-fat foods help birds maintain their fat reserves during this time, whereas high-protein seeds such as black sunflower seeds are more beneficial for moulting birds during warmer summers.
All the bird tables below have been picked by our experts and include a variety of ground feeding trays, stylish hanging bird tables, and mounted metal designs to prevent squirrels reaching the food.
The style and size of bird table you buy will depend on the birds you’re hoping to attract. For example, blackbirds, wrens and robins prefer to feed on the ground so require a ground bird table. Other designs may have low or adjustable roofs to deter bigger birds like wood pigeons while allowing smaller birds to visit.
Find our selection of the 10 best bird tables, below.
How to choose the best bird table
Bird feeders of different shapes and sizes will attract different birds. For example, the classic hanging bird feeders often suit small birds such as finches and sparrows which prefer to perch while feeding. In comparison, ground bird tables will attract blackbirds and wrens.
The RSPB recommend buying a bird table that’s at least 3-4 square feet, as a table any smaller is likely to cause fighting between birds.
The material it’s made out of should also be a consideration. Most bird tables are made from wood, which looks the most natural, but they can also be metal, plastic and polycarbonate. Metal poles can also deter predators because cats and squirrels find them difficult to climb.
There are four main types of bird table to consider.
- Mounted: Typically mounted on a wooden or metal post, the bird table should be between 4-6 feet off the ground. Many have a cross-shaped base to reduce the chance of it falling over.
- Hanging: Wire or a light metal chain should be attached to each corner of the table and hung from a washing line or tree branch. To avoid the table spinning, the wire needs to be hung from more than one point.
- Ground Tray: Birds such as blackbirds, robins and wrens prefer food at ground level. This should be mounted a small way above the ground to prevent damage to the grass below.
- Window Ledge: A little more unusual but some bird tables can be attached to window ledges with angle brackets.
How to secure a bird table to the ground
A mounted bird table has two options for securing it to the ground. It can simply be driven into the grass itself, or it comes with a cross-shaped base that needs pegging down.
Any post without a base should be driven into the ground by at least a foot to make it sturdy. For cross-shaped bases, the bird tables should be pegged into the ground or secured with rocks (or other heavy objects) to prevent it falling over in the wind.
Make sure to place your bird table somewhere quiet and sheltered, away from wind and out of direct sunlight. If possible, it should be close to a lookout point, such as a small bush, so that the birds have somewhere nearby to escape to if they’re disturbed.
Are you a keen wildlife gardener? Why not take part in the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch on Friday 28th to Sunday 30th January 2022?
Sadly, birdlife in the UK is struggling and according to the RSPB, our bird population has declined by a staggering 38 million over the last 50 years.
The RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch, is now in its 43rd year and a great way for wildlife enthusiasts to get involved as citizen scientists and keep an eye on visiting garden birds. Last year over a million people took part, which helped the RSPB create an accurate picture of how our feathered friends are getting on, as well as highlighting which species most need our help.
At this time of year birds are more likely to visit gardens in search of much-needed food and shelter, so by providing a selection of tasty treats, you’re not only doing your bit to sustain local bird life, but encouraging birds into your patch too. To make sure you’re ready for the weekend, check out our guides to the best nutritious feeds, best bird feeders, best bird tables and best bird baths.
How do I get involved with the Big Garden Birdwatch?
Fun for all the family, simply watch the birds in your garden or local green space for an hour at some point during the weekend, and count the species that land – not the ones that fly by. You then need to log your findings on the RSPB’s database. You can pre-register to take part, and if you can’t tell a sparrow from a starling, don’t worry, you can also sign up to receive a free guide to help you identify the different species.
Last year saw greenfinches move onto the UK Red List for at-risk species, for the first time. Thought to be affected by a disease called trichomonosis, the RSPB are keeping a close eye on chaffinches and house sparrows as it’s feared they might be susceptible to this disease, too. While this is concerning, you can help by regularly cleaning your bird feeders to reduce the spread of this parasite.
10 of the best bird tables to buy
Want to encourage a wider variety of birds to visit your garden? Browse our list of the best bird tables, below.
Bempton Hanging Bird Table
Designed to attract small tits and finches, the Bempton Hanging Bird Table is only 30cm tall, 18cm wide and 18cm deep. With intricate woodwork in a distressed green finish and a Verdigris copper roof, the bird table is stylish and best hung from a tree branch.
RSPB Adjus-table Bird Table
The RSPB Adjus-table Bird Table ensures that only smaller birds can fit into this feeding station. The table slides up and down the central pole to allow for three different roof heights. This enables you to deter larger birds such as wood pigeons if you so wish, and the roof is removable for easy cleaning.
RSPB Country Barn Bird Table
Made from FSC certified wood, this bird table has a wide 35cm tray to allow plenty of room for birds to feed and rest if needed. A recycled plastic tray is removable for easy cleaning and the base is wide to support the impressive country barn design.
RSPB Open Bird Table
The Open Bird Table is a simple design made from FSC certified timber in the UK. The table has a removable tray on top for easy cleaning and is supported by a solid wood post with additional supports beneath the feeding platform for extra stability.
Hove Wall Mounted Bird Table
Designed to be mounted onto a wall or fence, this bird table has been treated with anti-bacterial coating to help prevent diseases spreading between birds. The felt roof and food tray have been constructed to allow water run-off and it’s hand-built in the UK.
Fineway Nordic Bird Table Feeder
The contemporary design of the Fineway Nordic Bird Table Feeder comes fitted with a three-pronged stabiliser that will pierce the ground and should prevent it from falling over in adverse weather. It’s made from pre-treated wood and galvanised metal for additional weatherproofing.
RSPB Ground feeding table & food offer
For birds like blackbirds, thrushes and wrens that prefer feeding at ground level try this simple wooden ground feeder from the RSPB. It has four sections for different bird foods, and each one has drainage to prevent the feed getting soggy. This table also comes with 1kg of insects and 900g of no-grow ground mix, so you can start feeding your feathered friends as soon as it arrives.
National Trust Hanging Bird Table
We love this attractive bird table made of FSC-certified, eco-friendly wood. The simple design suits both contemporary as well as more traditional gardens. As it can be hung up anywhere in the garden it’s great if you lack space or need to keep it tucked out of the way, and it comes at a great price point.
Astoria Bird Table
If you have a lot of birds nesting nearby, the Astoria Bird table is a good bet. The generous split-level design helps prevent overcrowding while keeping a large surface area for birds to feed from, and the roof will keep visitors and food dry.
This Product Guide was last updated in January 2022 and we apologise if anything has changed in price or availability.