Recommended Products

Yes, I get a small commission from most of these items if you purchase through these links. Your price is the same.

Nevertheless, I chose these because they are great products, not because they have a good commission.

You'll find low-priced, and even free, product recommendations here. 

I also tell you how to purchase good products from a bricks-and-mortar store if not available through online purchase.

I'll add to these recommendations as I get more good experiences with them.

Please: If you purchase any of these items please leave a comment for me and others to know if you are satisfied or not. Thank you.

My hummingbird feeder is the More Birds--Ruby

Hummingbird Feeders & Miscellaneous

Here's the hummingbird feeder that I have and like. 10 ounce capacity is small so that it empties in 3 days with 1-2 hummingbirds, and I can clean it frequently.

It is very easy to clean with wide mouth screw-on base. Does not drip or leak. Ant moat. 

Want larger? 30 ounce and 7 port feeder (link will take you to Amazon) by same manufacturer. Ruby, Garnet, and Big Gulp sizes. This long-handled bottle brush (link to Amazon) should work to clean.

My personal binoculars are the Nikon Monarch 7 8x42


In general, you get what you pay for. A higher price means a better quality. But then you need those with specs best for birding as in the lists below.

Here are my guidelines for what makes a good birding binocular:
  • Rugged roof prism design
These are the specs I desire:
  • 8x magnification
  • Wide field of view >390 feet @ 1000 yards
  • Very close focus <8 feet
  • Long eye relief for eyeglass wearers >17 mm
  • Light weight < 26 ounces
  • Waterproof; fog proof
These are the best materials for roof prism binoculars:
  • BaK-4 prisms
  • Phase correction
  • Dielectric mirror coatings
  • ED glass
  • Fully multi-coated

When researching binoculars, look for those materials and specs.

I recommend these binoculars for beginning birders

Best under $500
Nikon Monarch 7 8x42  (check price on Amazon)
Read my review: Nikon Monarch 7 8x42 best mid-priced birding binocular
Read article: Very best binoculars under $500

Best under $200
Celestron Nature DX ED 8x42  (check price on Amazon)
Read my review: Celestron Nature DX ED 8x42 best budget birding binocular
Read my article: 12 best birding binoculars under $200 

November 2022: Surprisingly, I like the less expensive Celestrons and am using those more often than my Nikons now.

I recently bought these Celestron Nature DX ED

Two of my recommended books


National Geographic. Best field guide for birds of North America. 7th Edition, 2017.

Yes, the Sibley field guide is great, too. But don't order online or you'll likely get the wrong printing. Go to a book store to make sure you get the 4th printing (2017) of the 2nd Edition of the Sibley Guide to Birds. The first few printings of the 2nd Edition (2014) were messed up (colors too dark and saturated, text too small and faint).

National Geographic Backyard Birds. Best backyard bird identification guide. 2nd Edition 2019. Likely to show most of the birds in your backyard no matter where you live in the United States (except Hawaii).

National Geographic Birding Essentials. 2007. Tools, techniques, and tips to become a better birder. Highly recommended. Every birder of every level should own Birding Essentials.


eBird Free and powerful real-time online checklist program. Visit the eBird webpage. Get the free app for your phone that allows you to add birds from the field as you see them, while tracking your route and time.

Read my eBird tutorial for determining the common birds near your home during each week of the year!

Merlin Free bird identification app by the Cornell Lab or Ornithology. Merlin identifies birds around the world. You enter a description and the most-likely species pops up. Or, snap a photo and Merlin does a fairly good job at identifying it! Visit the link to see a demonstration.

Merlin now identifies bird songs and calls! Read my post on Merlin Sound ID.

Bird Feeders and Food

Below I suggest several feeders and food that I think will attract birds to your yard. Many of them I have personal experience with. Others have descriptions that I find compelling.

You may also appreciate reading an article I wrote on setting up a complete bird feeding station from scratch. Here is the link: From scratch: Setting up your first bird feeder


This feeder frustrates squirrels so that they give up and let the birds have it to themselves! Heavy squirrels trigger the closing of the feeder ports. Metal so the squirrels can't gnaw through. This has 1.3 pound seed capacity. Best for black oil sunflower and smaller seeds.

Another squirrel-proof design is a tube feeder in a cage. It should keep out squirrels and larger jays, but let chickadees, finches, and smaller sparrows in to feed.

Thistle feeder

Here's a sturdy Thistle Feeder to get you started. Attracts goldfinches and siskins. Holds up to 0.7 pounds of Niger seed. All metal. Rain hood and tray to catch spilled seeds and seed husks.

Start with 3 pounds of NyjerⓇ thistle seed. Niger seed has a shorter shelf life, so I recommend buying in smaller quantities. Birds will likely not eat niger seed saved over from the previous season. At least start with this smaller 3 pound bag to get your feeder started, before buying the 10 pound bag, which is a better price per pound (except if it gets too old and the birds won't eat it).

Suet feeder

My Nature's Way upside-down suet feeder

This Nature's Way Upside-Down Suet Feeder is well-constructed. Small birds and woodpeckers can get to the suet. Starlings and blackbirds and jays have a harder time.

I don't have any reviews of suet yet. I regularly buy the following St. Albans Bay for my suet feeder, based on ingredients and low cost. 5 Berry. 5 Peanut. 

Steller's Jays and Black-capped Chickadees seem to like it best, though winter isn't fully upon me yet. The Steller's Jays have a hard time getting at the suet in this feeder, but learn fast!

Tube feeders

Tube feeder for finches. Fill with black oil sunflower seeds only.

Black oil sunflower seeds

Black oil sunflower seeds attract the most kinds birds. It is the favorite, by far, of most of them, especially finches, chickadees, nuthatches. I have found the Wagner's brand to be the best priced.

Mixed bird seed

Wagner's Songbird Supreme is 50% sunflowers!

Speaking of Wagner's, they have a great mixed bird seed that is 50% sunflower seeds with white proso millet and no filler whatsoever (no cracked corn, no wheat, no oats, no red milo or other seeds most birds won't eat). This really grabs the birds! Songbird Supreme is my favorite mixed bird seed!

I like the Wagner's Songbird Supreme so much that I wrote a review article about it! Read it here.

Hopper feeders

Try the mixed seed above in the Woodlink Going Green Medium Hopper Feeder. It is the right size for small and medium backyard feeding stations and has a screened floor to keep the seed dry.


As an alternative, This smaller hopper feeder from Woodlink is less expensive. It is still made of cedar to resist decay and last for several years. And, it has suet cages on either side.

No mess bird seed

Looking for a no mess bird seed recommendation? Don't believe the advertising.

The best of the ones that really are no mess is the Pour Joy No Mess (Amazon affiliate link). It has the right ingredients in the right ratio.

Pine Siskin enjoys my solar fountain

Solar Fountains

I reviewed one and can recommend it... kind of. Solar fountains aren't the best quality. They don't work they way you would hope. See how I set one up and made it work for me.

Read my review: Best solar fountains for bird baths

The one I bought is no longer available. Try this one with similar specs: At least 2.5 W and battery with at least 1200 mAh,


  1. Great article about binoculars. Could you do a similar piece on entry level camera and lenses? Thank you.

    1. It's been on my list to research, Gary. I personally have a more expensive DLSR and lens.

  2. I was told if I buy a bird feed with no sunflower seeds the squirrels won't come after it. Is this true?

    1. No, it's not that easy, I'm afraid. I don't think squirrels will eat Niger seed, the birds that eat this are goldfinches, siskins, sometimes house finches.


January 2023: Thank you so much for visiting! I am working on a YouTube channel on birds and bird watching. Check it out here:


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As an Amazon Associate I earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

Legal disclosure

As an Amazon Associate I earn commissions from qualifying purchases. Thank you for your support.

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