How we chose the best bird tables
We wanted to find a selection of different types of tables to give readers more choice, and then find the best in those categories.
Freestanding bird tables are the most popular and best-selling kind of bird table as they can act as a statement in your garden and even become something of an ornate centrepiece. However, there are also wall-mounted options if you’re short on space or hanging tables, which are nest-box-like structures that can be easily hung up in the garden on a supportive tree branch or fence post, giving you plenty of versatility on where you place your table.
We considered the materials. It’s very rare that a bird table is not made from wood, as these naturally have a nicer aesthetic than a metal structure and are also naturally comfier for birds. However, not all woods are made equal and it can often be a good thing to check the type of wood and its density. For example, heavy-duty woods like timber are going to be more durable and resistant to strong winds! These got more brownie points from us.
If you care about the environment, you might also want to choose an option that’s FSC certified or made of wood from a sustainable forest.
We also opted for tables that are spacious enough to house a few birds at once. Without sufficient space, you can end up with serious squabbling as certain birds look to rule the roost – and eat all the food! Check the dimensions to ensure your space is large enough to cater for all different kinds of birds, with 50 – 60 cm of width usually being the most satisfactory.
Although wood is definitely a material that blends in well with your garden, it’s not always so durable if it has not been given the correct treatments. The most important type of treatment is a weather-resistant coating which will help protect the wood from soaking up water and becoming damp or rotted over time. Some bird table brands also offer coatings of antibacterial solutions like marcide. This helps prevent the wood from becoming infected with funguses or diseases which could then be passed on to birds and make them ill.
Putting together furniture can be a real pain in the neck sometimes and a bird table with an accompanying stand always sounds like it’s going to take a lot of DIY work. Thankfully though, this isn’t the case more often than not and many bird tables come delivered pre-assembled, merely needing you to fix the nest box to its stand or wall mount. We chose tables that had no complaints when it comes to assembly.
One big thing we factored in aside from how great the table is for birds, though – cost. Bird tables can be mighty expensive, with certain styles and brands charging up to £150 for a high-quality timber table! However, they are plenty of cheaper options out there that are still aesthetically pleasing and sturdy models that will do the job just as well. In general, a top of the range designer table will cost you around £100, whereas standard tables tend to go for around £30 to £60.
We also avoided bird tables with nesting boxes on the roof. Surprisingly, there are some available, and while they sound like they could kill two birds with one stone (to use the phrase), you should never encourage birds to the nesting site of another bird.