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Watching Birds Is Study-Proven To Dramatically Lower Stress Hormone Levels — The New Bird Feeders That Make It Easy!

Breakthroughs in technology give you a front-row seat on your fine feathered friends

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Watching joyful chirpers flit around outside our window isn’t just a pleasant pastime, it works wonders for our mind, body and spirit. In fact, bird watching has been proven to decrease levels of the stress hormone cortisol, triggering a cascade of benefits, from slashing blood pressure to helping us feel more relaxed and mindful. And the newest trend in bird watching — a hobby that improves people’s mental wellbeing for up to eight hours, according to study published in Scientific Reports — is to use a window bird feeder that attaches directly to the pane or sill. This entices curious winged visitors to come even closer, which in turn allows us to see more detail and amplifies all the calming and feel-good benefits.

“One thing that really helps your mental health is getting outside of your own thoughts, away from trying to solve problems and just being in the moment — a window bird feeder can help with that because you can really watch their behavior up close,” confirms Joan E. Strassmann, PhD, the Charles Rebstock Professor of Biology at Washington University in St. Louis, and author of Slow Birding: The Art and Science of Enjoying the Birds in Your Own Backyard. “I love spotting the details, like the baby down on a young blue jay or the shiny feathers on an adult grackle. When I first started bird watching, I didn’t see these things.”

The more time you spend gazing at birds in your feeder, she explains, the more you’ll notice about them, heightening your sense of peace and joy. (Click through to learn how admiring wildlife helps reduce the stress hormone cortisol.)

window bird feeder
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Strassmann adds that the “dramas” right outside her window — everything from fierce hummingbirds vying for a spot at the feeder to weary adult birds trying to nudge their youngsters to fend for themselves (something human parents may relate to!) — is endlessly entertaining. “It’s like having the Serengeti outside your kitchen, but you don’t have to go anywhere to appreciate it — it’s all local, right in front of you, just inches away,” she smiles. “I have suet, hummingbird and sunflower feeders, and when I’m stressed, I just look out the window and feel more relaxed.”

Another benefit to enticing birds to get up-close-and-personal with a window bird feeder is that it’s easier to hear them sing. Indeed, research reveals that simply listening to birdsong reduces anxiety improves our sense of wellbeing.

How a window bird feeder encourages calm

This “stationary safari” is a simple yet beautiful way to connect with nature on a deeper level, adds Suzanne Degges-White, PhD, professor and chair of the Counseling and Higher Education department at Northern Illinois University. “When I watch birds line up behind each other at the ‘snack bar’ outside on my window bird feeder, I know I’m actively nurturing another creature.”

Research shows such inter-species generosity – doing something kind for an animal – is so good for us, it even curbs levels of the sleep-sapping neurotransmitter epinephrine, helping us get the restorative sleep we deserve.

The 10 best window bird feeders

How bird watching transformed one woman’s life

Bird watching isn’t just good for your mental health and physical health – it can also lift your spirits during the most challenging time of your life, something avid birder Holly Merker, author of Ornitherapy: For Your Mind, Body and Soul knows, as she credits it with helping her beat breast cancer.

“I truly believe that watching birds played a significant role in saving my life, working in concert with the traditional treatments I received,” she says. “During this rough chapter of my life, watching birds allowed me to turn my attention away from myself, find awe in the ‘simple,’ and clear my mind. After losing my hair from chemo, I wasn’t sure what to do with it, so I offered it to the birds by putting it in a hanging feeder outside my kitchen window.

“I found so much hope in watching a titmouse carry strands away as nesting material, repurposing it for new life, and changing my perspective of that personal loss in a positive way,” Holly says. No need for fancy binoculars or a camera, she assures. “You’re already equipped with all you need: eyes, ears and a curious mind.”

The 10 Best Bird Feeders

Ready to reap the benefits of bird-watching therapy? Just read on for a few window bird feeders we think you and your feathered guests will love!

Nature’s Hangout Window Bird Feeder

best Segmented Window feeder

Buy from Amazon, $27.95

Why we like it:

  • Good for cats
  • Squirrel-proof
  • Two seed compartments

The super-strong suction cups on this window bird feeder make for safe and entertaining up-close viewing for you — and any curious cats in the house. We also love that it’s assembly-free, so we can just fill it up, sit back and enjoy the show!

Wild Wings So Real Window Flower Hummingbird Feeder

Hummingbird Feeder

Buy from Amazon, $10.80

Why we like it:

  • Easy to clean and fill
    • Bold colors attracts hummingbirds
      • Built-in perches

The bold bright colors of this hummingbird feeder catch the eye of the zippy little birds and with three wells to drink from and built-in perches, they are sure to stay a while. The deep bowl also keeps bees and wasps from drinking the nectar but is perfect for visiting hummingbirds.

DesGully Metal Window Bird Feeder

best For All-Weather

Buy from Amazon, $15.99

Why we like it:

  • Durable
    • Easy to refill
      • Won’t leak or crack

Get ready to enjoy a flash mob of hungry chirpers! This copper-hued metal feeder will hold up against the elements and won’t rust.

Creativity for Kids Build and Paint Window Bird Feeder

best for kids

Buy from Amazon, $12.99

Why we like it:

  • Engaging for kids
  • Attaches to the window
  • Encourages creativity

We’re smitten with this adorable DIY window bird feeder for the little ones in our life. You and kids 5 years and up will have a ball building and painting it. It comes with 4 paint pots, so get your brushes out and start making memories.

Kettle Moraine Window Mount Single Suet Cake

best Suet Cake feeder

Buy from Amazon, $16.75

Why we like it:

  • Great for woodpeckers
  • Squirrel-proof
  • Less spilling

Highfliers need high-calorie suet to get them through harsh winters when food is scarce. Not only is it easy to refill and clean this seed-cake feeder, but it also offers a thoughtful tail prop (or feather rest?) for long-tailed birds like woodpeckers to help support them while they enjoy their meal! (Bonus: You can fill the all-season feeder with bread or nesting material in the summer)

OMTREE Window Bird Feeder Iridescent

Best for color-lovers

Buy from Amazon, $29.97

Why we like it:

  • Iridescent hues
  • Easy to clean
  • Two troughs for different seed

Shinning rainbow colors from different angles attracts more birds, plus gives a fun pop of color to your window. Plus strong suction cups help anchor the feeder so that the birds feel more stable and will stay longer.

NIUXX Store 3 Tiers Seed Tray and Drinking Sink

best Tiered bird "condo"

Buy from Amazon, $29.89

Why we like it:

  • Slender design
  • Attracts various species
  • Offers a drinking “sink” at top

Small songbirds — like chickadees, titmice, sparrows and goldfinches — will flock to this feeder designed with 3 petite perches, perfect for their slender frames. The generous seed capacity means less refilling and the sturdy design ensures years of bird-watching joy. It also offers a “drinking sink” at the top, which helps birds find fresh water, especially in the winter when water sources are often frozen.

KENNELS & KATS Window Bird Feeder Inside House

Best "Inside" feeder

Buy from Amazon, $84.97

Why we like it:

  • Dome comes inside window
    • Easy to see visiting birds
  • Fits all window sizes

Experience the pleasure of bird watching right inside your home. The customized feeder actually sits inside the window so the birds must come into your space to eat, giving you a better view.

Mollan Smart Bird Feeder Camera

best smart bird feeder

Buy from Amazon, $189.99

Why we like it:

  • High-tech
    • Lightweight
      • HD photos

The rise of artificial intelligence may be scary, but it’s good for one thing at least: snapping photos of your feathered friends. This AI-powered feeder sends you a message on your smartphone when a bird stops by, identifies the species, takes a pic and even organizes the images for you.

Solution4Patio Expert in Garden Creation Urban Apartment Deck Rail Bird Feeder & Bird Bath

BEST for deck railings

Buy from Amazon, $22.99

Why we like it:

  • Adjustable
  • Secure
  • Apartment friendly

Attention all urban bird lovers! If you can’t easily get a feeder on your window (think second-floor apartment) this versatile feeder easily and securely attaches to balcony railings. The rotatable design lets you adjust it to fit tight spaces, and the dual trays ensure migrating birds can recharge with a much-needed snack and sip.


Click through for more insight into how nature can boost your health:

4 Easy Ways to Spend Time in Nature to Reduce Stress and Anxiety

Green Noise May Be the Surprise Secret to Deep Sleep — Plus More Healing Sounds

Top Doc: The Secret to A Happier Mood + Better Sleep Is a Regulated Nervous System — 7 Easy Ways to Get One!

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