Reading about some research that suggest 5m is the optimum distance between cover and feeders though birds will fly further for higher energy food. (see here). Might help when thinking about where to put feeders and what kind of food to use.
Not sure that I agree with you there Logan - we find that now our shrubs are growing in the area where we place the feeders, we're getting far more visits from a wider variety of birds - they like to have cover close at hand. We also place many of the feeders 'under' the canopy of large ash trees, which helps to shield the birds from the sparrowhawks.
For a bird table, be careful on positioning too near good cover - perfect place for cats to sit and lurk
Like Dove and Welshonion, I position hanging feeders amongst trees to give cover for the great and blue tits. The starlings tend not to spot them either so the little birds get plenty to keep them happy
We don't have any trees near to the house, and for me part of feeding birds is the pleasure of seeing them.. so I've put the feeder on a high metal shepherds hook, and to that I have ziptied a very large pruning from one of our trees upright. Not as good as a real tree, obviously, but gives the birds a bit of cover and somewhere to all perch on together.
A friend has feeders hanging from the branches of a large tree in her backgarden.. she said the local hawk likes to sit in one of the higher branches and will swiftly pick up little birds almost off the feeder itself. She doesn't mind though, as it's a 'bird' feeder.. and she likes them all.
My feeders are in the centre. About 3m from bushes either side. Unfortunately its 2 ft from a cephalaria... the giant yellow scabious.
Last years the squirrels broke down all the stems in an attempt to get past the squirrel baffle. It will have to be moved any day.
There have several studies on this, particularly the effects of disturbance by predators on birds' feeding habits: the more disturbed they are the less feeding time they have. In the short days of winter birds appear to take greater risks of predation by feeding out in the open because foraging time is short and there may be less natural cover from leaves.
my feeders are all hanging from dense intertwining twiggy bushes with some climbers interwoven and as these bushes are in a neighbours garden i get to see the birds that i feed at the feeders but a cat has been hanging around on the top of my wall lately so i need to fix up some wire mesh big enough for birds to get through but not the cat.
Well, the feeder placed furthest from the rhododendron (dense cover) gets the least attention (unless it contains sunflower hearts, birds will do anything to get sunflower hearts).
The local pest cats seem too stupid to use the cover, but the birds always go into cover first and check that it is safe before venturing out to the feeders so I think they will normally be ready to evade a cat if it is in there.
Trouble is, I don't want the Rhododendron but it will clearly have to stay until I decide what is going to replace it, and get whatever that is established....