In today’s article, we’re going to be casting our expert eyes over Gardman bird feeders. With so many bird feeders on the market and so many from Gardman themselves, it’s often tricky to firstly know whether or not which brands manufacture quality bird feeders that are worth your hard-earned money, and secondly, which type of bird feeder(s) might be best suited to your garden. Luckily, we know a thing or two about bird feeders and have tested out many of the current Gardman range in our own gardens to ensure they’re fit for purpose. After all, Gardman is a brand that has not only been around a long time but also prides itself on supply the best quality bird feeders out there. The questions is, are they really that good? Let’s find out.
Gardman Black Steel Sunflower Hearts Feeder
As you can no doubt decipher from the title, this bird feeder is designed for feeding sunflower hearts, which are one of the most popular seeds amongst those who own bird feeders (because birds love them!). The question is, does it do what good bird feeders are supposed to do, i.e. keep the feed dry, allow birds easy access to the feed yet restrict the access of pests (squirrels, rats etc.), be easy to fill and clean, and stand the test of time. Let’s find out.
Does it keep the food safe?: The first piece of advertising you’re presented with when viewing this item is that it’s covered in a ‘safe biocidal coating’ that kills bacteria. This, as you would expect, is something we really like, as there’s nothing worse than bacteria-ridden bird feed as not only may it harm birds, but may also deter them from coming back to your garden. Of course, it’s impossible to say how well this coating works, but it’s a nice touch and not something you see on everyday bird feeders. In terms of keeping the feed dry, it does a pretty good job of that too. The oversized lid ensures that rainwater runs well away from the food, and the durable plastic tube is completely waterproof. There is the possibility of water entering the small feeding holes, but this is unlikely, and even if it did, it wouldn’t spoil more than few seeds worth.
Can birds easily access the food?: This feeder has two small perches, above which are two small feeding holes. From several weeks worth of experience with this bird feeder, it’s evident that smaller birds have absolutely no problems getting sunflower seeds from this feeder, but larger birds may struggle. If you’re a fan of smaller birds, this is great, but if you’d like to cater to larger birds, you may wish to buy a larger feeder (this one is 22cm long and 12cm wide at its widest point). Or, you can attach a tray on the bottom of the feeder (sold separately) to encourage more birds to feed. Plus, given the small size of the holes, pests are unlikely to get their claws on the birdseed.
Is it easy to fill and clean?: Removing the lid is straightforward, and given that this is a simple tube feeder, it’s easy to fill too. Furthermore, cleaning it is really easy as well, meaning the weekly maintenance involved is minimal, which is clearly ideal.
Is it durable?: Having only used this Gardman feeder for a couple of months, it’s impossible for us to state that it is 100% durable and will stand the test of time. However, from what we’ve seen so far, we’re impressed. It’s still on one piece, pests haven’t been able to chew through it and steal all the food, and there isn’t any rust. Many reviews online state that this is a fairly durable bird feeder for the price, so I think it’s safe to say it performs well in this regard.
Our score: 9/10. Why does it lose 1 point? In an ideal world, it would have more perches and more feeding holes and come with a free bag of seed, but for the price, this is still an exceptionally good bird feeder.
Gardman Heavy Duty Squirrel Proof Bird Feeder
Any bird feeder that claims to be squirrel proof will always come under a lot of scrutiny as so many bird feeders out there that claim to be pest-proof often aren’t. If you think about it, it’s actually quite difficult to deter pests without killing them or scaring them away, so designing a bird feeder that does neither yet keeps pests like squirrels out must be a tough job. However, it seems like the guys and gals at Gardman have got it all figured out, so let’s take a look.
Does it keep the food safe?: The design of this bird feeder is simple yet appears highly effective. It is basically a tube feeder with a protective cage around the outside – a wire cage with big enough gaps to allow small birds through to the feeder, yet too small for bigger birds and squirrels to fit through. The inner feeding tube has several perches and ports, and thanks to the oversized lids, any rainwater will merely run off down the side rather than potentially into the feeder itself. Furthermore, like many other of Gardman’s bird feeders, the metal cage is coated with a safe biocidal substance that kills bacteria, meaning the chances of bacteria and mould growth are minimal (or, at the very least, reduced). The only question mark over this design is whether or not it would prevent a rat from getting their claws on the food. If hung in a sensible place, i.e. away from buildings, posts, sheds etc., there’s no way a rat could get to it, but if placed in jumping distance of somewhere like a shed, it increases the chances of a rat gaining access and helping themselves to the food. For this reason, putting it on top of a post is not an option.
Can bird easily access the food?: Small birds will have absolutely no problems squeezing their way through the protective cage; however, larger birds will most likely not be able to. If you’re a fan of all birds, you might want to consider a different type of bird feeder, but if your preference is for smaller birds, this is an excellent option as it really does cater to them. There are several perches on the feeder, meaning several birds can feed at once, and the well-sized feeding holes means birds can help themselves without you having to worry about birdseed spilling out onto the floor, which can attract pests.
Is it easy to fill and clean?: Given its construction, i.e. a metal frame around a tube feeder, it’s a little harder to clean than most bird feeders; however, due to the easy-to-remove lid, it’s actually relatively easy to fill and re-fill. While it may be harder to clean than a regular tube feeder, this is the price you pay for keeping squirrels away and given that it’s not actually that hard to clean regardless of the cage, it’s undoubtedly a compromise worth making if your goal is to keep those pesky squirrels away!
Is it durable?: Like the previous model, we’ve only tested this feeder for a few months, but in this time, it has stood up well to pests and weather, so we’re happy to say it’s durable. Online reviews largely agree with this, so all in all, I think it’s a fair assessment to make.
Our score: 8.5/10. Why does it lose 1.5 points? Well, in an ideal world, it’d be a little easier to clean and would benefit from having a bottom tray adapter; however, the fact that it keeps squirrels out is what you’re buying this feeder for, and that is an area in which it excels. In two months, we’ve not seen one squirrel manage to steal a single morsel of food!