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Woodpeckers exploring the interior, exterior of a wooden bird table on stand

What is a bird table

Its often confused as a bird feeding station, but a bird table is much different, in that its often made in wood along with a shelter to protect the feed under a roof.

What a bird table really is in the traditional sense, is a wooden bird feeding station that becomes the centrepiece of the lawn or patio. Bird tables can be sat on a wooden stand, hang up or mounted to a wall. Most important section is the feeding platform for you to leave out all types of wild bird feed.

You should look at the bird table not so much as a bird feeding station at first, but more so a new additional to your garden decor.

Only then once you've found the best suited bird table to setup in the garden - be it on the centre of the lawn or on the patio - you can do some testing.

In an ideal world, you will want to position the wooden bird table in a quiet spot to not disturb feeding birds - but locating a bird table near to natural cover is the best way.

Bird tables are traditionally made with a long post where the bird table with roof is on top.

However, now you can buy cheaper bird tables that can be hung or are made to be open to all weather - so are referred to as open bird tables.

Bird tables can accommodate all common garden birds in the UK, but you can limit it to small feeding wild birds only by purchasing a bird table with a low eave roof clearing.

Safe haven for feeding birds

Basically a bird table is a man-made structure designed to allow wild birds visiting your garden to feed in a safe environment.

Similar to a metal bird feeding station with feeders, a wooden bird table is designed for the same purpose - to present bird feed up high and out of the way.

How a bird table is safe for your visiting garden birds is how high it is off the ground.

Up to 5 or 6 feet any bird table can be off the ground, which is then supported with up to four legs on its base.

Bird tables are not completely wind proof, so extra support with use of stabilising pegs may be needed to secure the bird table to the ground.

Openly sits in the garden

What's more, a bird table can be positioned anywhere in the garden that best suites the homeowner, so that's you.

While more importantly a not so well positioned bird table can deter birds rather than inviting them in to eat.

So, for a bird table to operate as it should do by inviting wild birds to land to feed around the rim or on the open platform beneath a low or high eave - it would help if its not only in a quiet spot, but away from noise or movement.

Position a bird table in the centre of lawn or patio if you must, but know that sliding closer to a hedgerow or greenery may be a safer solution.

And where this bird table goes should prioritise feeding birds only, but the final position should benefit you in terms of a visible view point to watch birds feed.

Tall, single stand

Traditional bird tables are those that are on long wooden posts with a large flat feeding platform sitting on top.

On this wooden bird table would then be a roof which is supported on up to four pillars to keep it secured above.

As a whole, all types of bird tables on a stand tend to be made this way, with the exception of more modern, contemporary bird tables that seem to prioritise style rather than tempting birds to feed in shelter.

Good quality wooden bird tables tend to be those with a larger overhang on the roof, to allow rain water to flow over and away from feed sitting beneath it.

Large flat platform

Most important part of any bird table is that of the feeding platform where the wild bird feed mixes can be added.

No limit to the kind of wild bird feed you can use on a bird table either - with seeds, nut or fat balls all possibly used - while the messiest food can be kept in a bowl to protect the food from bleeding into the often treated in preserve wooden feeding platform.

Platforms can be quite small but there's not much more benefits to a larger platform.

Its all about preventing waste so the idea is to only leave out bird feed that will be gobbled up by birds in a certain time, to prevent it going rotten.

Fixed around this platform that is located under the roof will be a simple wooden rim that is usually reserved as a perch for landing birds, but can help to keep feed contained.

What else the feeding platform offers is a way for water or moisture to run off.

Covered or open design

Not only are there the more important, but highly practical bird table with a roof option, but know this style can also carry over to a hanging bird table or a mounted option.

Made in wood hanging bird tables have the much needed roof to keep rain off the feeding platform, while a mounted bird table is just that too - only its fixed to a brick wall or a solid wooden fence post.

While this option is not for all as the weather can put a damper on proceedings, there is the option of an open bird table, designed with no roof protecting the feed.

Instead the bird food is open to the elements so this will force you to only feed birds on a much shorter open bird table sitting the garden, in nice weather only.

Traditionally made in wood

When I refer to a bird table I am indeed referring to those made in wood only, and its only wooden bird tables you are likely to be able to buy online or in-store.

To buy a quality Riverside Woodcraft bird table for example, the company make them all in wood - but not before treating it in preserve so the timber lasts out in the elements.

But as its made in wood a bird table can really blend in with the garden decor, so an environment as such won't see an all metal bird table appear to blend in well.

Options are there to stain or paint the bird table to help it blend in better with other wooden furniture and fixings, but that is not possible with more modern metal tables.

As its made in wood, the buyer should expect to do some assembly out of the box.

What is a bird table summary

In a nutshell, a bird table is an outdoor bird feeding platform that is fixed to a stand, can be mounted on a wall, or the feeding platform is open to the elements, with no roof.

However, a traditional bird table is always handcrafted in wood, while often sold at local garden centres throughout the UK.

To keep a bird table standing on a long wooden post, there would be four legs that spread out to keep the heavy top bird table sitting above, balanced in windy conditions.

Roofs on bird tables are designed to be larger than the flat feeding platform positioned below it, to allow rain water to flow away from the food, thus protecting the feed to stop it going bad if exposed to rain - or in some cases heat from the sun.

Look at a bird table as a piece of wooden garden furniture, only its designed for use for wild birds to land underneath the roof cover, to feed on any type of food you leave out.

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