There are ways to tell if your hanging or perched bird feeders are too low, but it’s best to place them as high as possible for the birds’ safety.
If any part of your bird feeder is lower than 4 feet, you may need to reposition it. The optimal height for a bird feeder is five to six feet. Bending over to re-fill or remove feeders is one sign that they are too low, as is contact between the feeder and other plants.
Hanging or openly sitting bird food on a platform feeder should not be placed too close to the ground, as this would expose it to the risk of spoilage from rain splash back or moisture from vegetation.
In addition, if a bird feeder or bird food tray on a stand were to be hung or placed too low, it would be within easy reach of typical backyard pests.
Squirrels can reach up or jump vertically to grasp a feeder, providing a footing for them to climb on top of a feeder the rest of the way, so you’ll never be able to prevent them from a too low feeder.
Raccoons are similar to squirrels but are considerably less nimble, thus if you want to keep raccoons away from your feeder, you should place it at a height that they can’t possibly reach it.
Since raccoons are resourceful enough to climb poles or just reach up, it is important to hang bird feeders as high as possible and block off any other possible entry points to prevent these intelligent animals from getting their hands on the food.
Feeder below 4ft. is too low
The ideal height for a bird feeder is four feet from the ground, so anything lower than that is unsafe for the birds.
While some bird feeders may reach heights of 6 feet or more, the bottom tip is the only component of the feeder that actually has to be accessible to the birds.
When using a metal shepherd’s hook or bird feeding station, the required hanging height for a bird feeder may be dramatically reduced.
Until the bird feeder is hung, an accurate height estimate is impossible.
The most common mistake people make when putting in a feeding station or shepherd’s hook is digging it in too deeply.
Install a shepherd’s hook or bird feeder on a pole no higher than one foot in height.
Four feet or lower is far to low for a bird feeder of any type to be, therefore be sure to utilize the higher pole; place feeder on a wall or on the side of the house to make sure of that all essential 4 feet or above.
You should always hang your bird feeder at a minimum of 5 or 6 feet off the ground.
Need to bend over to refill
Maintaining a bird feeder’s schedule of twice-weekly cleanings and food restockings requires a level of ease that can only be achieved by regular use.
To swap out bird feeders or to dislodge them off their bracket to open and refill, it must be dangling full length at the height of your chest, give or take a few inches.
Now, this only pertains to you or the person who is in charge of refilling the feeders.
I would consider it strange if you had to lean or bend over to replenish or detach a hanging bird feeder.
For obvious reasons, feeders should never be placed at ground level; instead, they should be at or above the eye level of a normal person standing at a height of 5 to 6 feet.
To prevent unwanted visitors like squirrels and raccoons from easily accessing your bird feeders, you should keep them at a more reasonable height so you won’t have to bend down as far to refill or maintain them.
Too low if within reach of pests
Intelligent animals that wander into your yard with your bird feeders in their sights will do anything it takes to get their beaks on the peanuts, seeds, or suet hanging from your trees.
These animals will eat everything in sight if the bird feeders are hung too low.
Because they cannot do a vertical leap, raccoons will have a harder time approaching a bird feeder that is just out of their reach. However, keep in mind that raccoons can reach up a little higher on their rear legs.
Squirrels are similar, but more smart, in that they can reach too-low feeders by simply jumping up and clinging to any nearby feeder.
Plus, squirrels can lift themselves off of a surface or garden object to make near horizontal leaps. Squirrels would have an easy go of it if the feeders were placed too near to the ground, but raccoons could still reach the food.
Keep in mind that a barrier to prevent squirrels and raccoons from climbing up is an essential part of any bird feeding station.
Squirrels and chipmunks can easily access a bird feeder placed too low to the ground by simply climbing up a foot or so, or by jumping to the side.
Feeder in contact with vegetation
Last but not least, a surefire way to tell whether your bird feeder is too low is if it is making contact with objects or natural vegetation on the ground below it.
As vegetation has a tendency to stay wet or bleach anything it touches with its natural water contents, having your feeders perched too close to the ground will simply hasten the decaying process of the bird feed.
In addition to never allowing feeders to touch anything that could compromise the safety or taste of the food, proper hygiene dictates that this rule never be relaxed.
It could be a matter of survival, as birds would be easy prey for snakes or cats lurking in the tall grass and bushes if they were not given a chance to flee.
Also, keep any branches or twigs away from your hanging bird feeders, since this might provide easy access to insects and other small pests.
Feeders must never touch anything below it, and if they do, that’s a major warning sign that they’re far too low.
Any bird feeder should be hung at least four feet off the ground to keep it out of the reach of rodents like raccoons and squirrels.
Since each backyard is unique, only you can tell if your bird feeder is at an appropriate height for the birds that visit it, but generally speaking, bird feeders should be hung at least 5 to 6 feet off the ground.
If you have to get on your hands and knees more than twice a week to refill or clean your feeders, they’re probably too low. The ideal height for a bird feeder is at chest level or slightly below.
Putting bird feeders lower than four feet means squirrels and raccoons will have to use their long, slender necks and bodies to reach the food.
Feeders should not touch any natural coverage, such as tree branches or twigs, or any garden item, such as a post or plant pot.
If your feeders are touching the ground or nearby plants, there’s your biggest clue yet that you need to raise them.