Should Bird Feeders Be in The Sun or Shade? (Explained for Beginners)

by Alex Kountry
Updated on

Intending bird feeders are sometimes confused on feeder placement positions.

Feeders can be in the sun or shade depending on a variety of factors such as the time of year and the kind of birdseed in the feeder.

Placing the bird feeder in the sun enables the birds to easily see the feeder and flock to it.

If the feeder is in the shade, the birds might not spot it and as such the feeder is deserted.

This article will answer your questions on proper feeder placement and the pros and cons of the bird feeder being in the sun or shade. 

Should Bird Feeders Be In The Sun Or Shade?

Should Bird Feeders Be in The Sun or Shade

Bird feeders can either be in the sun or shade depending on the positioning or arrangement of your backyard.

There is no perfect placement formula as the most important thing is for the feeder to be visible to the birds. 

Hanging your birdfeeder in the sun will definitely make the birds spot the feeder easily, however some bird feeders worry that during the heavy summer seasons the sun can easily affect the bird seed.

Placing the feeder in the shade ensures that the bird feeder is protected from harsh weather conditions such as extreme heat or rain.

This could also give the birds a chance to rest or nap when they come to feed.

Whether the feeder will be in the sun or shade, there are some tips you should take into consideration before setting the feeder in place

  • Safety: the feeder should be placed in a safe location where predators cannot easily get near it. The presence of predators can deter the birds from regularly visiting the feeder.
  • Visibility: feeders should be placed where the birds can easily see them and where they can easily lookout for predators and avoid them.
  • Windows: as much as you want to place the bird feeders in the shade, do not place them near windows. Birds collide with windows frequently and this can be fatal to them. Feeders should be placed at least 10 feet from any window to avoid collision. 

Related: Here is an article I wrote on keeping bird feeders too close

What Are The Pros And Cons Of Keeping It In The Sun Or Shade?

Pros of Keeping Bird Feeder in The Sun

  • It is a good spot for the bird watchers to watch and recognise their favourite birds.
  • It is easy for the birds to spot the feeder and flock to eat.’
  • It is closer and looks more natural to their food source especially if it’s close to a tree or their favourite vegetation.


  • The bright glare of the sun can easily confuse a bird during the hot summer months.
  • The feeder is exposed to all extreme weather conditions such as heat or rain.
  • Rain can easily make the birdseed wet and such leads to moldiness.
  • The sun can easily melt suet if it is part of the bird feed.

Pros of Keeping Bird Feeder in The Shade

  • Provides a place for the birds to rest after eating
  • Gives the birds some protection from predators and rodents
  • Shields the bird feed from getting wet or spoiling rapidly.


  • Birds may not easily spot the feeders in the shade and as such the feeder would not be frequented.
  • The bird feeder would most likely not be able to watch the birds since they are close to the house.
  • The feeder might be close to a window and fatal window collisions can occur.
  • The placement of the feeder might not be close to the bird’s natural eating source such as a tree or shrubbery and as such they might not recognize the feeder as a feeding source. 

How High Can A Bird Feeder Be?

There is no height you can’t place your feeder as birds can alight anywhere to eat, however since you do not have wings you have to choose a height with which you are comfortable.

You also have to take into consideration the fact that there are various birds visiting your feeder.

Some birds such as sparrows are ground birds and prefer to feed on the ground and different species of bird would prefer to feed at different heights. 

Woodpeckers for example are tree birds and their feeders can be hung higher up. On the other hand cardinals prefer shrubbery so their feeders should be placed a bit lower.

You can take note of the birds around your area and their feeding habits before hanging the feeder, so you pick the best location closest to their natural feeding source. 

Experienced bird feeders have advocated that 5 feet from the ground is a very good height to place your bird feeder. 

This height ensures the feeder is safe from squirrels and cats, comfortable enough for you to hang and also watch the birds and certain birds that feed on all tree levels will be attracted to it.

You can also choose to place it under 4 ft if you have more of the ground birds populating your garden and higher (8- 10ft) if you have higher level birds in your vicinity.

Choose a height that works for not just you but the birds that you are feeding and you can also read up about different birds and their comfortable feeding heights.

Also check out this article I wrote on choosing a bird feeder with trays

Can I Keep My Bird Feeders On My Balcony?

Yes you can keep bird feeders on your balcony especially if you live in an apartment building and do not have access to a private garden.

Before you embark on these though, ensure you find out if your apartment doesn’t have rules against bird feeding and whether some of the equipment you would be using are acceptable within the building.

Once this has been settled, pay attention to the bird species flying around your area so you can know the right things to attract them.

Also pick a feeder that is suitable for balconies as they are different from garden feeders. You can choose a balcony rail feeder, tray feeder or window feeder.

Your choice depends on whichever one you are comfortable with as they all have their pros and cons.

Make your balcony feeder attractive to birds by placing flowers and potted plants around.

Also clear the area of junk and make it as bird welcoming as possible.

Once the birds find the atmosphere relaxing they will keep on returning to the food source.

Should I Put My Bird Feeder Near My Garden?

Putting bird feeders near your garden is a great way to attract birds to your garden. The two serve to work hand in hand with each other.

Vegetation and colorful flowers are very attractive to birds and they will come flitting around your garden.

When they discover the bird feeder and they realise the source of food is there to stay, they will keep returning to the garden.

A birdbath will also help cement their relationship with your garden as birds love water. 

The type of garden you have determines the bird species that will come to your bird feeders as different species like different plant foliage. 

How Can I Attract Birds To My Bird Feeder

If you just started backyard bird feeding and you are wondering how you can attract birds to your feeder, here are a few tips to successfully do that:

  • Position your feeder in a way that the birds can easily spot it.
  • Place the feeder in a natural spot i.e. the feeder should be placed close to the bird’s natural feeding source. For example if you have more ground birds around you, then place the feeder closer to the ground near vegetation.
  • Place a birdbath in your backyard. Nothing attracts birds more than the sight of water and they will also locate the food feeder.
  • Plant bird-attracting vegetation and plants in your garden to attract birds to your feeder.
  • Source for superior quality food. Buy high quality seeds which the birds would love. Also invest in no-waste foods such as nectar, insects, mealworms and the likes. 

These few tips would help ensure the birds see your feeder and come to eat from it.


You can choose to place your bird feeder either in the sun or shade depending on the way your garden is arranged and which works best for you.

The feeders should be in a location where they can be easily spotted by the birds and where it is safe from predators. 

A bird feeder can be placed as high as 10 feet but the traditional recommended height is 5 feet.

You can adjust depending on the kind of bird you have in your vicinity.

You can keep a bird feeder on balconies and attract birds. If you have a garden, place your bird feeder near the garden as it will attract birds to the feeder.

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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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