Monday, May 10, 2021

List: Ten backyard birding products not worth the money because they actually suck!

In early March, I was super excited for our most recent birding investment.  If you remember, this Friday Ramblings post (link) I introduced you all to my new backyard bird feeding station.  In an attempt to organize the bajillion six bird feeders that I've collected, we scoured the internet for a solution.  These bird feeding stations seemed like the best answer.  Find out below how well THAT plan worked for us..

Can we take a moment to appreciate the below photo?  I accidently spooked this Common Grackle.  As a result, the piece of straw he was holding in his beak dropped.  The bird then slowly looked back at me with complete disgust.  Yes, that photo is evidence that I've been GRILLED by a bird.  Ok, moving on...

five bird feeders that suck

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Ten backyard birding products that suck.

This bird feeding station lasted a whopping four days.  The first time that a slight breeze blew, it snapped in half leaving a mess and wasted bird seed all over the lawn.  We called and received a new one thinking the product was defective.  We also took the time to separate and balance all of the feeders so that the weight would be evenly distributed.  This time it lasted two days.  Another broken feeding station and another big mess.  Less important, but still a pain nonetheless, having the feeders on top of each other left them FILLED with bird poop.  This product is a major FAIL.

What I recommend instead are the typical Shepherd's hooks like these (link).  They may take up more room, but they're sturdy and reliable.

Our first nyjer seed feeder was FAT.  I did this on purpose because I figured that it would hold more seed and allow for more birds to feed at once.  What I didn't count on was all the wasted seed from not being able to properly drain.  The seed was constantly getting stale due to rain and humidity.  As a result, the birds wouldn't go near the feeder a few days after fresh seed was put out.

What I recommend instead is a long, thin thistle seed feeder like this one (link).  It needs to be filled up more often, but there's no more wasted bird seed and hard earned cash!

I adore my mosaic hummingbird feeder.  It's absolutely gorgeous.  The problem is, hummingbirds won't drink from it.  The pale blue colors don't really attract any hummingbirds which makes the feeder hard to be discovered, even with the red stopper.  Actually, the red stopper got sun bleached white in less than two months so that's another major fail.  Finally, the feeder isn't easily cleaned which is super important when serving food to such delicate creatures.

What I recommend instead is a bright red window feeder like this one (link) or a bright red hanging feeder like this one (link).  Using feeders like this lets me see lots of hummingbirds all season long!  As a double bonus, they fly right up to my window.

Speaking of hummingbird feeders, another birding product that's not only a waste of money but actually harmful to the birds, is bottled nectar.  The red food dye is unnecessary and harmful to the birds.

When we first saw this product, we got way too excited to find a product that works according to the reviews, doesn't hurt the squirrels, and doesn't require any fancy tools.  The squirrels saw this torpedo as a game, not a deterrant.  They would jump on it and slide down the pole like a ride.  Once down, they would jump over it and climb up to the bird feeders.

What I recommend instead is strategically placing the bird feeders so that squirrels can't get to them by jumping.  Then spray your poles with something slippery like Pam cooking sprayJust be careful not to spray too high otherwise you'll be watching your bird friends sliding on down.

Bell feeders are a great addition to your backyard bird feeders.  They're versatile and do a great job of keeping away larger bully birds.  Some bell feeders come with nothing more than a rubber stopper.  New flash, the bully birds and even rodents can push the feeder up so that they can raid the tasty treats inside.  In some cases like mine, they can break the bell feeder in half.

What I recommend is a bell feeder with a metal screw stopper like this one (link).  This mechanism will do the best at securing the top in place and keeping those bully birds out!

While suet cages themselves don't actually suck, they aren't great at attracting larger woodpeckers.  They're great at bringing flocks of starlings, maybe a downy woodpecker or a red bellied woodpecker, and offering other things like oranges or nesting materials.  They are not great at attracting larger woodpeckers because they don't have a tail prop.  If attracting larger woodpeckers like a Northern Flicker or Pileated Woodpecker is your goal, suet cages will be a major fail.

What I recommend instead is a two cake suet feeder with a tail rest like this one (link).  This feeder has all the benefits of the suet cages plus the benefit of attracting larger woodpeckers.

Hummingbird houses make for beautiful decorations, but they are simply not effective.  Hummingbirds don't live in a house.  For short nesting periods, they live in teeny tiny little nests made out of stretchy fibers like spider webs bleh gag barf nestled into the corner of a tree branch.  They will never nest in a birdhouse.

What I recommend is to give up the idea completely and invest in another hummingbird feeder instead.

To be clear, this product does work, just for a short period of time and it uses Permethrin.  This chemical is supposed to be safe around pets, bird, and people, but it's still a chemical.  There is another option that's chemical free and doesn't need replacing.

What I recommend is to use this umbrella shaped ant guard (link) that holds water that ants are hesitant to cross.  This natural deterrent does a great job of keeping ants out of the hummingbird feeders without using any chemicals.

For the grand if grand means most horrifying finale, we have this squirrel resistant bird feeder.  The way it works is that the birds are able to eat the food and then when something heavier lands on it, it closes so that the heavy creature can't get food.  At first I was intrigued with this product and decided to look into it.  To my disbelief, the reviews have pictures of little songbirds with snapped necks because they got stuck in that closing mechanism.  Not only is this product a fail, but it's CRUEL and unsafe to our little bird friends.  I'd rather feed the squirrels.

What I recommend instead is the same as above.  Strategically place the bird feeders so that squirrels can't get to them by jumping.  Then spray your poles with something slippery.

Did a birding product ever disappoint you?


  1. That blue bird on the photo ain't happy at all, looks like it will kill you and call its friends to the feast LOL

    1. This bird is famous at my job. Every time I get annoyed, I create a meme with a speech bubble coming out of his beak. What an angry bird!

  2. Omg that bird pic is hysterical! He reminds me of that grumpy Eagle from The Muppet Show. The only disappointing product we’ve had is a squirrel baffler. One of those clear plastic domes that hang under a feeder. The squirrels literally used it as a step stool to get into the feeder!

    1. The only product that I've found that works with the squirrels is spraying spam onto the poles.. LOL That bird picture makes me laugh every freaking time!

  3. That bird is pissed lol!
    The only wasted money I ever spent was on a cute wood bird feeder. The weather element ps in addition to the fat squirrels who liked to perch on it weakened the glue that held it together and it snapped in half.

    1. oh no! That's the worst when something is cute but just doesn't last. I think my feeders are mostly a composite wood which is probably what helps keep them looking good, although their colors have faded some. I'm blame that on the acid from the bird poop.. lol

  4. My God! I know all birds are innocent animals but blue bird in the photo you shared looks so guilty. Very nice review Dear friend! Thanks.


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