Can Bird Feeders Be Too Close? (Explained)

by Alex Kountry
Updated on

Bird feeding can be quite an interesting activity however there are mistakes you could make which would stop birds from coming to feed.

Yes, bird feeders can be too close together and these can deter the birds from visiting.

When you have multiple feeding stations you should have them well spaced to avoid them bumping together when the wind blows and also crowding the birds together.

If you are new to bird feeding and looking at how to place your bird feeders, we will explain why bird feeders can be too close, the risks of keeping them too close and the proper distance that should be between feeders. 

Can Bird Feeders Be Too Close?

Can Bird Feeders Be Too Close

Yes, birds’ feeders can be too close. It is a mistake backyard bird feeders commonly make and this can cause the birds to stop visiting the feeders.

Birds like having their space when eating so when the feeders are too close together they can be stressed and this could cause fights among them.

Spreading out the feeders with different types of seeds will attract a wide variety of garden birds.

When placed too close together, it will only cause congestion. Spreading out the feeders will also help less dominant birds eat their food in peace.

This way they are not bullied by the bigger birds and those at the top of the hierarchy.

To enjoy the benefits of backyard bird feeding and also get a great view yourself, ensure your bird stations are properly and well spaced out.

Related: Here is an article I wrote on picking a good bird feeder with suction cups

What Are The Risks Of Keeping Them Too Close?

There are many problems that come with positioning your bird feeders too close together and they include:

  • Bumping Together When its Windy

When the bird feeders are positioned too close together they tend to bump and clash together. Any little wind can make them crash together and cause a lot of noise.

  • Hitting birds or Trapping Them

When bird feeders are too close together, it can injure the birds especially when the wind hits while they are feeding on it. 

It is possible for them to fall off the feeders or get trapped between two of them.

  • Causes Conflicts Among Birds

When the feeding station is too crowded, conflicts could break out among the birds when they are trying to get to the food.

Dominant birds will easily pick on the lesser birds and this means they would not be able to easily assess food.

  • Can Attract The Wrong Set of Birds and Predators

Some bigger birds like pigeons can become a nuisance at feeding stations. They will chase the smaller birds away and hoard the food to themselves.

Naturally, the weight of the bird feeders cannot take them but if two feeders are close together, they can easily perch on one and eat from the other.

Too many feeders close together is also a ripe place for squirrels, raccoons and larger birds of prey to visit and this can deter the smaller garden birds.

  • Disease Transmission

If there is a disease outbreak among the birds, it is easier for the birds to transmit it when their feeders are too close together.

It can also give room for bacteria and mold to grow and spread from feeder to feeder.

  • Obstructed View 

If your bird feeders are too close together, you as a bird watcher will not be able to get a clear view of your favourite birds.

Because the feeders are clustered together, you would probably not be able to see the birds carrying out their daily activities.

How Far Apart Should Bird Feeders Be?

Bird feeders being too close together poses a serious risk to the birds. As a matter of fact it is very wrong for bird feeders to place their feeders too close to each other.

To minimise the risks that have been enumerated above it is best to set bird feeders 10 feet apart from each other.

This helps to ensure the birds keep their personal space while eating and reduces the risks of squabbling.

Also the shy birds will be able to eat from one or more feeders without being disturbed.

Also check out this article I wrote on bird feeders with cameras

Can You Have Too Many Bird Feeders?

There is no perfect answer to the question of how many feeders a backyard bird feeder should have.

More feeders mean more birds can visit your garden and you get to see a variety of wildlife.

Before increasing the number of feeders you have, you should take into consideration the fact that more feeders come with a lot more responsibility.

It is quite easy to buy more feeders and also get more bird seed and food but bird feeders require a lot of maintenance.

A lot of planning and cleaning up is required for bird feeders or they could easily turn to breeding spots for diseases.

A lot of uproar has been generated over the issue of bird feeding as researchers have come out to say bird feeding activities are causing more harm than good.

This is very likely to happen if the feeders are not properly maintained and the birds get sick from bad food or unhealthy eating environments.

You also have to take into consideration the size of your garden, if you have a small garden it would likely not be able to take too many feeders as it could lead to clustering.

It is noble to want to have many bird feeders but you should think it out thoroughly and plan how to feed and clean in and around the bird feeders to maintain absolute hygiene standards.

What Is The Best Position For A Bird Feeder?

Bird feeders should be positioned in a way that it is easy for the birds to reach it and eat comfortably.

This can be either in the sun or shade depending on your choice.

The feeder should also be placed where it is not easy for unwanted wildlife such as cats, squirrels and raccoons to reach and disturb the feeding birds.  

You can hang a feeder from a tree branch or on yard poles close to vegetation. This gives the birds a feeling of being close to their natural food source.

For example ground birds such as swallows, like to forage among vegetation. Placing the bird feeder close to that area will make it easy for them to locate the feeder.

The feeder should also be placed in a quiet area free from human activity and traffic. Birds are wary of humans and they have a distance at which they are comfortable with human presence.

If there are too many strange sounds or human activities around, the birds would most likely not return to the feeder.

There is no perfect position for placing a bird feeder but take the above into consideration and think about what is best for the birds. 

How To Hang A Bird Feeder Without A Tree

A tree is not the only place available to position a bird feeder. There are various other options such as yard poles, window feeders, table feeders to mention a few.

You can set up a yard feeder pole from which you can hang up multiple feeders. They are quite easy to install and you can purchase them from a hardware store near you.

You can have up to eight feeders on one yard pole and then hang them on it using extension hooks.

Add a birdbath and you have the birdies flocking around your feeder station.

Window feeders are also quite the thing as they are safe and comfortable for the birds to feed on.

Take an extra precaution of placing the feeder within 3 feet or 10 feet from the window to avoid fatal collisions with the window.

Some feeders also come with suction cups which makes it very easy for them to be mounted on the windows.

Other types of feeders are deck hanger feeders, hanging brackets and bird tables.


Bird feeders should not be placed close together to avoid the risk of injury, disease transmission and bird squabbles at the feeding station.

Bird feeders should have a minimum distance of 10 feet between each other.

As much as you want to have more wildlife birds visit your feeding station by increasing your feeder numbers, you should take into consideration the fact that it requires a lot of maintenance.

There is no perfect position to place bird feeders and apart from trees other ways to set up your bird feeder include using yard poles, window feeders, deck feeders and bird tables to mention a few.

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About the author

Alex Kountry

Alex Kountry is the founder of HayFarmGuy and has been a backyard farmer for over 10 years. Since then he has decided to write helpful articles that will help you become a better backyard farmer and know what to do. He also loves to play tennis and read books


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