When deciding where to put your feeders, you need to consider several facts, including the birds' easy and safe access to the feeders, their visibility from your principal observation points, ease of filling and cleaning, and the proper distance from trees, windows and low shrubs. The more feeding stations and the wider variety of feeder heights, the more birds will come to the feeders. Birds of different species are more comfortable gathering in one area if the feeders offer perches at a variety of heights. You might want to place your feeders so that you can enjoy the birds while relaxing or hanging out on your patio, deck, screened porch or balcony. Since each bird has its own "personal space away from humans" requirement, the feeders need to be a certain distance away from your favorite watching spot. If you have room to spread your feeders out, do so.
Ideally, feeders should be within 3 ft of structures OR further than 10 ft from structures for the safety of the birds. Avoid placing feeders in this zone. If you feed the birds, you probably feed other hungry wild animals too. Many hobbyists decide that is okay, while others make it a life goal to never feed squirrels. To deter squirrels, it is important to maintain certain distances off the ground and away from trees, decks, and windowsills. Squirrels can jump 3.5 feet straight up, so if the top of your squirrel baffle is 4 feet off the ground, your bird food is safe from squirrels. They can also jump from above or from the side - about 10 feet away. You can also install a dome over your feeder, which is also useful to protect your feeder and bird food from rain and snow.
If you are hanging feeders from a a tree branch, raccoons are a bigger challenge than squirrels simply because they are stronger. Instead of sliding down a chain, they haul the feeder up to the branch. It's best to use a tree hook instead of a chain, as they become hard to pull up. And the longer the tree hook, the more effective it is. Baffled poles also easily solve raccoon problems. If you put your feeders on a pole, you can follow the same advice as for squirrels. A raccoon baffle is simply longer. The distance between your windows and your feeders is not just about your view; it is a safety issue for the birds. Millions of birds are killed every year by hitting windows. Ask us about the various window treatments that can make your windows safer.