You’ve done your research, bought the best bird seed and feeder, set them up in your yard, and you’re still waiting on your first visitor. Everything looks right, so why aren’t birds visiting your feeder?
There could be a number of reasons why birds aren’t coming to your new feeder that you may not have thought of. This isn’t a Field of Dreams situation, you need to think like a bird and then they will come.
If any of these reasons below apply to your bird feeder, it might explain why birds are hesitant to drop by just yet. With some simple changes, your feeder can become the hopping spot you were hoping for!
Reason #1: There are too many predators around.
You don’t want your bird buffet to turn into a buffet of birds! The type of birds you are feeding are on the smaller, more vulnerable side and don’t want to risk their lives for good bird seed. Predators can include raccoons, squirrels, chipmunks, or even larger birds. Cats that stroll by your feeder or even pets at a nearby window can be enough to deter birds from coming to your feeder. Birds will feel more comfortable coming to your feeder if measures are in place to deter predators.
The Solution: It’s important that your feeder is high enough off the ground (at least 5’) and attached to a structure that cannot be easily climbed by predators. It also can be helpful to place your feeder 10-12’ away from possible shelter like a tree or shrubs to give them a getaway route.
Reason #2: There isn’t any food or it has gone bad.
It may seem very obvious that if there isn’t food around, birds aren’t going to stop by, but it’s important to consider where the food went if you just filled your feeder the day before. Look for any indication that a predator has gotten into the food before the birds had a chance to feast, and consider moving the feeder if so.
If your feeder does contain food, but you’ve had heavy rains, check your food to see if it has molded. Many bird feeders have drainage holes to keep rain from affecting the food, but if it has sat for a while, the food can still become soggy and inedible.
The Solution: Check on your bird food every few days to see if it needs a refill for any reason. This can be an easy chore to forget, so setting a reminder on your phone can be a helpful way to remember!
Reason #3: It’s too noisy.
If your yard butts up against a busy street with lots of noise and your feeder is right out in all the audial action, it may explain why more birds aren’t dropping by. Birds can even be turned off by the giggles and shrieks of kids playing or boisterous adults. Any loud noises can frighten birds away, leaving your feeder untouched.
The Solution: Place your bird feeder in the quietest part of your yard, moving it away from the street, play areas, or any noise-causing entities that will scare off the birds.
Reason #4: Other food sources are accessible.
You may notice that birds have slowed or stopped using your bird feeder in the warmer months. If food is easy to find and available, birds do prefer natural alternatives to bird seed. There is no wrong season to feed your birds, but there may just be slower feeder traffic in the seasons where food is more easily accessible.
The Solution: Try changing up your bird seed to see if you can increase your traffic by providing another option to what’s available. You can also add a birdbath by your feeder that will draw birds in by offering a cool bath or drink, something that can be harder for them to find in spring/summer temperatures.
Reason #5: There is a blockage in allowing food to be released.
Your birds might be trying to eat, but your feeder may be fending them off! Bird feeders can be constructed all sorts of ways, but most designs feature a container for the seed and a sort of overflow area where the food spills out. It’s important these areas are clear and unobstructed from any materials that can clog up the area: leaves, pebbles, or clumped old food.
The Solution: When you refill your feeder, make sure to check that your bird seed is flowing through the feeder and into the trays or cups to give birds easy access for snacking.
Reason #6: It’s new to your yard.
If you have never had a bird feeder in your yard before, birds need a little time to discover it’s there (and if it’s safe for them). With birds being lower on the food chain, they are more likely to be hesitant to take to a new feeder. But as they get used to seeing the feeder and the food potential in a safe environment, they will eventually warm up to it.
The Solution: Be patient with your birds! Just make sure it’s away from predators and the food is available for them. You can try scattering a bit of seed on the ground to draw potential diners in, just be careful not to overdo it and induce a squirrel feeding frenzy.
Understanding why birds may not be coming to your feeder and what you can do to remedy these issues can help your outdoor space become a bird-friendly environment. Bring on the birds!
Ready to add a bird feeder to your yard? Check out our durable poly lumber bird feeders at ECCB Outdoor, available in a variety of fun colors. We even have a squirrel feeder that can help distract squirrels from going after your bird feeder!