How to Attract Birds to Your Bird Feeder


Birds feeding on seed from various feeders, a scene from a garden aiming to attract avian friends.

Transforming your outdoor space into a tranquil haven for feathered friends is a peaceful, enjoyable, and rewarding experience. Attracting an array of birds into your backyard creates a pleasant connection to nature, with their chirpy chorus and fascinating feathers right on your doorstep. However, it’s not always as easy as it seems. Are you having trouble and wondering how to attract birds to your bird feeder? 

The key to your success is an effective bird feeder that encourages birds to visit your outdoor oasis. From selecting the suitable bird feeder to tapping into bird behavior, we’ll explore the art of attracting birds to your garden and creating the ultimate bird-friendly environment.

How to Attract Birds to a Feeder: Choosing the Right One

If you’re wondering how to attract birds to a feeder, the first step is choosing the right one. If you’re new to the scene, you’ll be surprised to know that there are different types with various advantages. However, if you’re a seasoned bird enthusiast, it still may be time to switch up your feeder. Birds have unique preferences, so understanding the options available could help attract more to your garden

Here are the different types of bird feeders and the advantages of choosing them:

Tray or platform feeders

Tray or platform feeders are flat surfaces elevated above the ground, and they tend to attract the most variety of bird species—for example, starlings, finches, doves, and certain kinds of sparrows. Due to the shape of this type of feeder, it’s great for birdwatching.

It’s worth keeping in mind that these kinds of bird feeders offer no protection from weather conditions like snow and rain. Plus, regular cleaning is required to prevent the build-up of debris, which is worth considering. Squirrels and chipmunks may also find easy access to this type of feeder, which will divert the birds away. 

Two blue tits perched on a wooden feeder, pecking at seeds against a snowy backdrop.

Hopper Feeders

Hopper feeders, or house feeders, attract a vast amount of bird species and are often an aesthetically pleasing addition to a garden. These kinds of feeders have a platform that can usually fit a generous amount of seed, and the style helps to keep them fresh for several days. 

Regular cleaning is required to prevent the build-up of mold, and this could be slightly more challenging due to the shape. Keep in mind that squirrel baffles might be necessary if you want to keep them away. 

Tube Feeders

Tube feeders are ideal for birds with smaller beaks and are in the form of long, cylindrical containers. Smaller birds like finches and chickadees tend to prefer these types of feeders, and they can eat without much competition. The shape of the feeder protects the seed from bad weather conditions, meaning it requires less maintenance. However, keep in mind that seeds can gather here and potentially cause a build-up of bacteria and mold.

Suet Feeders

Suet feeders are designed explicitly for suet, a high-fat and energy food made from animal fat. They could be made with a mesh onion bag or a wire or plastic-coated wire mesh. These kinds of feeders tend to be nailed to a tree trunk or suspended from another high surface, like a hopper feeder. Woodpeckers, chickadees, starlings, and jays are particularly fond of suet, so they’re likely to visit this kind of feeder. Suet is rich in calories, which is excellent for birds during winter. 

Nyjer Feeders

Nyjer, also called thistle, feeders come in either a tube feeder form or a fine mesh bag with tiny feeding ports for birds. The specialized feeding ports prevent spillages and are ideal for providing birds with high fast-release calories to help them store fat and remain warm during the colder months. However, keep in mind that a rain guard may be necessary as wetness can make the nyjer seeds moldy. Finches are specifically attracted to these seeds. 

Understanding the different kinds of bird feeders can help you make an informed decision about the most suitable one for your space. In the following sections, we’ll explore some top tips for attracting birds to feeders in your garden. 

A hummingbird drinks nectar from a red feeder, showcasing its shimmering green feathers.

How to Attract Birds to Your Bird Feeder: Top Tips

Creating a bird-friendly atmosphere and vibrant space in your backyard goes beyond simply setting up a feeder. If you’ve chosen a bird feeder, set it up, and waited without luck for the arrival of birds, it can feel quite disheartening. Let’s take a look into some ways to transform your outdoor space into a bird-feeding hot spot.

Consider the Location

Finding the optimum location for your bird feeder can help attract birds to your garden. As a general rule of thumb, it’s a good idea to place new bird feeders near existing ones, as this will ensure it’s on the bird’s radar. Birds like to feel they can eat with confidence and ease, and location can help with this. Place the feeder in a visible place but also sheltered from high winds. If you place it within 10 feet of a shrub or tree, this will offer a place to perch. 

Try a Variety of Bird Food

If the birds seem apprehensive of your bird feeder, it may be time to spice up the buffet on offer. Experiment with different types of bird seed and food and see which one gets the most attention. Try adding a mix of mealworms, peanuts, peanut butter, suet, nuts, and seeds to grab the birds’ attention. Black oil sunflower seeds are a highly popular universal choice and could make all the difference to your bird feeder. 

Keep it Clean and Well-Maintained

It’s essential to keep your feeders clean, hygienic, and well-maintained. By cleaning your feeder about once a month, you’ll create a better environment not only for the birds but for your space, too. Changes in weather can have an impact on bird food, and moldy or spoiled food can be harmful, so keeping on top of refreshing your feeder is an excellent way to prevent this. Keep on top of the maintenance, and you should have more visitors.

Offer a Fresh Water Station

If you want to increase the amount of birds in your outdoor space, a bird bath is a good way to do so. Adding a bird bath to your outdoor space helps create a refreshing area for birds to bathe or drink. Most birds will notice moving water, and it’ll help them remain healthy if they use it often. If you’re experiencing hot weather, a bird bath is a perfect setting for birds to cool off, and it’ll attract more birds to your yard. 

Create a Bird-Friendly Space

Bird behavior is worth looking into, especially if you want to attract them to your garden. By planting trees, shrubs, and flowers in your garden, you’ll create shelter and natural food sources for them to explore. Bushes will also help birds stay safe from predators, making them feel safer and more comfortable in your garden. 

Take the Time of Year into Account

Consider the season and the time of year when adding a bird feeder to your garden. Depending on the time of year, different bird species will have various shelter and food requirements. For example, suet is more beneficial to birds during colder months as it’s a high-energy food. If your bird feeder isn’t getting the attention it deserves, adjust what you’re offering to the birds.

Be Mindful of Predators

Birds are more likely to use your bird feeder if they feel safe from potential lurking predators. Locate places hidden away from potential hiding spots, like overgrown vegetation. Once the birds feel comfortable exploring their new feeding option without the risk of predators, you’re more likely to see them return. Consider adding squirrel baffles or elevating your feeders to avoid cats or other ground predators potentially lurking. 

Be Observant and Patient

Being patient and observant is a crucial element in attracting birds to your bird feeder. It’s normal to expect success straight away; however, by giving the birds some time to adjust to the feeder, you’re more likely to experience better results. Observe the types of birds using your feeder and their behavior, and you can make adjustments based on what you find. Birds might be cautious at first, but with the right food, water, and plenty of time, you should see results.

Vibrant finches flock to a green bird feeder, fluttering in mid-air as they compete for seeds.

Attracting Birds to Feeders: Final Thoughts

By incorporating all of these tips into your bird feeding routine and experience, you should notice an improvement in the amount of birds that visit. Not only will these ideas attract a diverse array of birds, but they will also contribute to their positive experience when using your bird feeder. 

Attracting birds to feeders is a rewarding experience, especially if you notice a new influx of birds. By considering the location, adding a fresh water station, changing up the food, and remaining patient, you should see positive results. Each of the aspects mentioned above holds value and could be the missing link to a chirpy feeding experience. Now you know how to attract birds to your bird feeder, you can try out the top tips for yourself. 

For more information, tips and tricks, check out our blogs

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some frequently asked questions about attracting more birds to your bird feeder:

Why won’t birds use my feeder?

There are several reasons why birds might avoid your feeder. Make sure the feeder is visible, sheltered and out of the way of potential predators. You might want to consider altering the food you’re offering, or the type of feeder you’re using to ensure it aligns with local bird species. 

How can I choose the best location for my bird feeder?

The optimal location for a bird feeder is within 10 feet of a shrub or tree so that the birds have somewhere to perch. Make sure the feeder is visible and sheltered, so the birds can feel comfortable and out the way of the wind. 

What bird food attracts birds? 

Black oil sunflower seeds are a popular food for a wide variety of bird species. Birds also enjoy eating worms, a mix of seeds and fruit like berries and apples. If you want to mix it up to attract more birds, try adding peanuts or peanut butter as an extra treat. 

Should I also provide water for birds?

You can use water to attract more birds to your garden, as it offers them a great place to bathe, drink and cool off. Make sure to keep the water fresh and clean, and you may notice an increase of birds.

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