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Robin perched on rim of thatched roof bird table, facing out

What makes a GOOD bird table

Bird table options are a plenty, so its more confusing knowing what makes a genuinely good bird table to buy, which I hope to clear up in this guide.

What makes a quality bird table is one made in wood, has a roof with a platform height of 4 to 5 feet. Roof coverage needs to overhang to keep water well away from feed, but a low eave roof can deter nuisance birds. Tables must have drainage, but an heavy-duty construction can keep it standing up in any wind.

To be the best bird table you can buy, then all my top features should be included, but never is it possible to buy a bird table featuring them all.

You'd need to then make sacrifices by prioritising must-have features I recommend.

What is the best bird table would be a genuine, made in wood bird table constructed by hand - unpainted so it can be painted by you later to fit in with your garden landscape.

And do know all features what makes a good bird table won't help bring common garden birds to you, unless you position the bird table in a clearing, with nearby coverage to dive into - all while continuing to replenish with wild bird food on a daily basis.

Of the bird table types you can buy, I would say the wooden bird tables with a roof to be the best option, as they can be used 365 days of the year.

Designed with a roof can keep the bird feed dry but of course can limit the feeding to only Robins, the Tit family, Sparrows - plus other small pleasant garden birds.

Go ahead then a read up on what I feel to be the the best features of a bird table.

Made in wood only

Certainly what makes a good bird table is an authentic, traditional wooden bird table made in a smooth or rustic timber.

Bird tables to be made in wood are warm, blend in well with the garden decor and just feel and look right in their surroundings.

So I would personally never buy a bird table on a stand that is nothing but wood.

Of course colour of the bird table plays it part, as a mix-match colour theme doesn't blend in well with an adjoining shed or fence, so can indeed look out of place.

In anticipation of buying a brand new bird table then, do consider one that is treated but unpainted - to allow you to paint the bird table in a colour that matches the garden decor.

With the exception of a modern bird table built with a metal roof or pillars, that can still look really nice in a ultra-modern garden landscape.

Full width roof coverage

Focus of a good bird table should be on keeping bird food dry right? Well, that certainly is the plan if buying a bird table... with the roof kind.

To use a bird table with a slate roof, painted only roof or use of shingles - then don't miss an opportunity of making sure this roof does exactly what its suppose to do.

That is to cover the entire bird feeding platform sat below it where bird food mixes are stored.

Lack of overhang on a bird table is a flaw, but so to is a roof that only aligns with the feeding platform below it. Sides of the roof must hang over much as it can to not only allow rain water to drain off, but to prevent water splashing back.

So a good bird table would have a wide roof attached to the bird feeding platform top using up to four pillars - designed to keep the wild bird feed dry at all times.

4-6 feet off ground

If you intend to buy an wooden open top bird feeding table, then this type won't allow you to reach this height - as this bird table style is only 3 to 4 feet off the ground.

What I am referring to, and will always recommend is the type of wooden bird table that stands as high has 6 feet. While that is measured at the bird table feeding platform to the ground only.

Up to 6 feet does not apply to the entire height of the bird table, only how high up the wild birds feed on the platform.

To be 4 feet high is not uncommon nor is it any a problem, but remember the higher the bird table is - the safer the feeding birds are.

If you are responsible for replenishing the bird table with fresh food then do remember you need to be within reach of this platform by any means possible. So don't make it difficult for yourself if a shorter table makes more sense.

Same goes for needing access to clean the bird table with ease, with a focus more on the feeding platform where stretching over is needed more often.

But to take onboard my recommended height of a bird table on a stand only - this can also apply to how far off the ground a hanging bird table is or a mounted bird table fixed to a wall or fence post.

Good size feeding platform

When a say good size I mean a bird feeding platform positioned under the roof, which is within your own personal guidelines.

By that I mean if you intend to feed all common garden birds - larger ones and all - then a great big feeding platform to hold food is probably more suitable for your needs.

However, if the intent is to accommodate small common garden birds only, then a bird table for small birds only would be what you need - so a smaller platform is needed.

Size of feeding platform cannot restrict or invite certain bird species, but it does need to be looked at for how much feed you intend to use daily.

Now I will say its not recommended to use too much feed in one go as it expires or rots on the bird table before it can be used. I therefore recommend only using small amounts at a time - or until you understand your birds feeding habits.

To use a small bird feeding platform can restrict how much space is left to centre the bird feed, away from the edges - as bird feed needs to be centred to keep it as far out of reach of the rain as possible.

You can then reserve the rim of the bird table for birds to perch as they eat in the middle.

Easy access under eaves

Its not that easy to buy a bird table that makes use of low roof eaves, as often too high roof placement is the go to purchase.

To not know the implications of this from the get-go can be a hassle later, but here is the truth when using low eave bird table roofs.

You can restrict use of your wooden bird table with roof to small common garden birds only, thus refusing entry to large, nasty - more nuisance wild birds in the garden.

No guarantee deterring more cunning larger birds as they find a way to land on the covered platform mind, but it can at least stop pigeons or crows in their tracks.

Low eave bird tables tend to be made small, whereas larger, more robust bird tables always use a higher eave roof placement.

Do think about what size the bird table should be for your own needs, but do drop down a size or two if it means only encouraging small garden birds.

Rain water can drain away

Once again I only recommend using a bird table with roof only, as the idea behind a bird table is to present food to wild birds in a safe, yet waterproof environment.

Open to the element bird tables have their place, but they need attending to more, but need putting away as poor weather draws in.

Not so with a bird table with roof, as the idea of the roof cover is to feed birds around the clock - while never allowing the bird feed to get damp.

Its also possible to protect the bird feed in winter from heavy snow coverage or indeed, the occasional frost bite.

Do know that water or any moisture build up can settle on the bird table feeding platform, leading to rotting food or damaging the wooden bird table surface itself.

And while its something not to worry about, do know a good quality build bird table uses some kind of drainage system.

Be it holes in the base of the platform or open gaps in the corners of the perches around the edges.

Heavy-duty construction

I could be a little bias here because I really do love the Riverside Woodcraft bird table series, and as they are heavy-duty - I just love how sturdy they appear.

Heavy-duty bird tables is what you need to invest in then to guarantee a longer lifetime of the wooden table in question.

Often built in more quality timber, rather than basic pine; bird tables that are promoted as the well built, heavy-duty kind can last longer out in the elements without visible wear and tear early on.

To be an heavy-duty bird table, know that little issues surrounding wind is going to effect you - as more lightweight, cheap bird tables to buy have trouble standing up in any wind.

Bird table weight is a big plus for this matter, along with wide, spread open legs to balance the always top heavy bird table.

Preserved or anti-bacterial treatment

If you are intend buying any type of bird table that is free of a paint finish, do at least make sure its treated in preserve.

In fact, you'd be hard pressed to buy a bird table readily available that comes untreated, unless of course you make a special request to the manufacturer.

To be preserved will not only save you money by doing it yourself, but the bird table sitting in the manufacturer's warehouse or workshop up until you bought it, could of had a bit of its warranty shortened.

To be promoted as preserved is all you need, but in case of Riverside Woodcrafts bird tables - the British company treat their range in what they call anti-bacterial treatment.

Rather than only being protected from weather then, anti-bacterial treatments can help prevent rot on the wooden surface caused by bird feed.

If you intend to still paint your bird table with a colour of your choice, know that this is still possible but a coat of preserve must be used beforehand.

Four LEGS for balance

Minimum 4 legs a bird table should have to maximise its balancing potential, to be three can see a real tipping over hazard.

To see 5 legs is rare but is certainly welcomed as the bird table would be better balanced.

However, its only the FOUR spread leg formation you'd see fixed to the bottom of most wooden bird tables you can buy in the UK.

Be it a leg constructed flat to the ground or constructed higher up to appear more like legs - four legs should see the bird table balance just fine.

Don't rely only on the formation of the legs mind, as wind is far more trickier to deal with so do expect your bird table to topple over if you don't anchor bird table to the ground - secured using anchor pegs.

Minimal assembly

What makes a genuinely good bird table is one that is picked up or dropped off locally at the garden centre - be it made locally so it can be sold fully assembled.

To buy a bird table online or in-store by known brands can mean mass produced, so savings - or space - is considered for delivery, so bird tables are made to be assembled.

But do know for most bird tables you can buy, rarely can you buy a fully assembled one unless its made locally.

I therefore recommend you buy a bird table, while assembly is needed, is to the minimum too save you the hassle.

While the long wooden post plus the bird feeding platform with roof on top generally comes already built - you will need to put the legs together.

Fixings are usually supplied but that may mean you'd need a power drill or screwdriver to finish off the job at home.


What truly makes a good bird table is one that is made in wood and painted in a matching colour to your garden decor - as it has a warmth to it over cheaper materials.

Full roof overhang is needed to protect the wild bird feed from the elements, while making sure drainage is available to allow moisture or access rain water to run off without intervention by you.

Make it a wooden bird table on a stand with the bird feeding platform - not total height - being 4 to 6 feet tall. Higher the bird table is the safer it is for wild birds to use.

Size of bird feeding platform matters, as a larger one can bring all birds, while a smaller table can at least deter larger birds.

You can control what bird species can use you bird table somewhat by using a low eave bird table that can deter nuisance birds like crows or pigeons.

To be a low eave bird table can be more tricky for you to access to clean or replenish with food, but that is a small price to pay for only attracting small common garden birds.

Bird tables notoriously tip over in any wind, so to make it a large heavy-duty table with a wide leg spread for stabilisation, can certainly go towards preventing that happening.

Bird tables should at least be bought preserved, but to use clear preserve can allow the new owner - that's you - to paint it to a colour of their choosing.

Minimal assembly is recommended but know all good bird tables need some assembly.

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