Last Updated on October 13, 2020 by Nancie
When buying a bird feeder, be sure to consider how you will hang it. While they are typically built with a hook or loop on the top for hanging, you may find that to hang a bird feeder, you actually need an extra hook.
Choosing Hooks For Hanging Bird Feeders
Why would you need an extra hook to hang a bird feeder? Often you need adjust the height of the feeder. Or the feeder’s hanger might not work with the baffle you are using. Or maybe the branch you want to hang the feeder on won’t work with a feeder with a closed loop.
So what kind of hook should you get? When choosing an extra hook to hang a bird feeder, look for something sturdy that can handle the feeder’s weight. Look for steel hooks that won’t rust. Consider too where you will hang the feeder and how long and wide the hook needs to be. (More on this below.)
You may find a few hooks in your local home improvement store’s bird feeder section, but if you have a local bird store, they probably have a much wider selection. To get a feel for the types of high quality hooks you might find in specialty bird stores, check out the Hooks section of Erva’s Nature House website. Their site has a variety of short S hooks, stretched out extension hooks and wide branch hooks.
How to Hang a Bird Feeder on a Tree Limb With Branch Hooks
You might think that tree limbs are an easy place to hang a feeder, but they can be tricky. First, you almost always need a really good baffle hanging over them unless you want your feeder to be overrun with squirrels. (See my post on Keeping Squirrels Off a Branch Hung Feeder.) Second, trees position their limbs on their own terms. The height and direction of the limb may complicate hanging a feeder. You also probably don’t want to use anything that will constrict the growth of the limb and damage it over time. Enter the branch hook.
When hanging a feeder from a tree limb, you usually need a heavy steel branch hook with a wide partially open curve on one end to accommodate the tree limb. The other end should be a much smaller, but still open, hook to hold the feeder.
The size of the wide end will be determined by the thickness of your tree branch. Make sure the curve at that end is generously wide so if the limb grows wider over time, the hook won’t be cutting into it. The length of the whole thing will depend on the needs of the situation.
How to Hang a Feeder on a High Branch
For example, this bird feeder hangs from a thick steeply sloped tree limb. Sometimes on a sloped limb, you can position the feeder so a knot or branch keeps the feeder from sliding down the slope. In this case, I reluctantly had to cheat and use a single galvanized nail, pounded into top side of the limb to stop the slide.
Although this Squirrel Buster feeder thwarts a squirrel from getting seed, squirrels don’t give up easily and the new generation still tries it every year. So I wanted to position the feeder outside of a squirrel’s jumping zone. I also hang an Erva disk baffle over it to keep squirrels from climbing down onto it from the limb and disturbing the birds.
This particular feeder is tall, including the feeder itself and a very long braided metal hanger with a loop at the top. The Erva baffle has hooks that are several inches long above and below the disk itself.
To position the feeder on the branch, I used a long branch hook above the baffle. This puts the feeder out of the squirrel zone, but also keeps it within my reach so I can grab the base of the feeder and then lift it slightly up and off to refill it. Note that if I had chosen a different location on this same branch, the length of the branch hook would probably need to be longer or shorter.
How to Hang a Nyjer-Only Feeder on a Branch
But sometimes hanging a feeder on a branch is easier. For example, squirrels in my yard have never bothered the nyjer feeders because they ONLY contain nyjer, something my local squirrels have never eaten.
I recently added small Erva rain guards over these feeders. Still, because the squirrels leave them alone, I don’t have to worry too much about their placement. The feeders just need to be within my reach so I can lift them up and off the hook to refill them and far enough apart that the birds aren’t crowded.
The branch this bird feeder hangs from is lower than the Squirrel Buster feeder’s branch and the tree limb is not as thick. So this branch hook is neither as wide or as long.
Notice that this particular Aspects nyjer feeder is hung by a closed metal loop at the top. Even if I was not using a rain guard over it, there is no practical way to hang this feeder directly on most branches. (Keep in mind that you need to be able to take the feeder down to refill it.) So either way, you would need a branch hook to hang this feeder on a branch.
Note: If you find yourself with a feeder with a closed loop at the top and a baffle or weather guard with a closed loop at the bottom, the only way to link them up is an extra short double-ended hook between the feeder and the weather guard.
How to Hang a Bird Feeder on a Pole with Hooks
If you are instead hanging the bird feeder on the arm of a pole, you don’t need a branch hook with a super wide end. Most pole arms are fairly narrow. So in this case, typically both ends of the hook are fairly small and may even be identical. And sometimes you don’t need an extra hook at all.
When hanging feeders on a pole, you’ll want a barrel baffle on the pole to keep squirrels off. For the baffle to do it’s job, the bottom of the feeders need to hang above the top of the barrel baffle. (See my post on how to how to properly baffle a feeder pole.) So, depending on the height of the feeder(s), you may need to consider the length of the hook.
How to Hang Short Feeders on a Pole
In the picture above are three upside-down suet feeders on an Erva dual shepherd’s hook pole. I’ve added a little optional Erva extension arm to allow for a third feeder. In this case, the feeders are very short and don’t need baffles or rain guards above them, so they don’t need long hooks. (Note: These feeders are protected from below by a barrel squirrel baffle.)
Notice that one feeder’s metal cord hanging loop is directly looped over the extension arm. The feeders on the main arms are each hung by a short metal hook. Both hooks were purchased from my local bird store. One is heavier than the other. These feeders are not especially heavy, so either hook works fine. If I was hanging a really heavy feeder, I would be more likely to use the heavier style hook.
How to Vary the Height of Feeders on a Pole Using Extension Hooks
Above is another pole with an assortment of four feeders. The Erva bluebird feeder has a wide solid top, so I don’t use a weather guard over it. The Woodlink cage feeder has a very narrow gap between the seed tube cover and the surrounding cover, so I like to use a weather guard over it.
The two Birds Choice hanging platform feeders really need weather guards to keep the seed dry. But most weather guards are not big enough to cover such wide feeders, so I’m using extra wide Erva baffles for that purpose. (See my post comparing and choosing baffles & weather guards.)
Each of these feeders is hung using an extra hook. The mealworm feeder is hung from the pole arm using a simple short S hook, while the other three use various length extension hooks. Using hooks lets me position each bird feeder higher than the baffle (to protect them from squirrels) and yet low enough that I can still reach the feeder to refill it.
Notice that the hooks are different lengths. Why? There are a couple of reasons. First, the height of each feeder and the length of each feeder’s built-in hanger is different. And I’m also using a variety of weather guards that take different amounts of vertical space.
Second, I want to be able to see birds in all of the feeders from my windows or my back step. If they are all lined up at the same height, one feeder is likely block the other. For that same reason, I’ve also positioned the feeders so that from my point of view, the open easy-to-see-beyond, platform feeders are in front of the other two feeders.
Hanging Bird Feeders With Hooks Isn’t Hard
Hooks are simple. Their price varies with how heavy they are and their length, but they are often just a few dollars. Yes, you might be able to jury-rig something using other materials you have around the house, but a good hook makes feeders easy to hang and easy to refill. You’ll be using them for years, so they are well worth the small investment.
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