Can I Be Sure Birds Will Come To My Feeders?

Black-capped Chickadee by Skip Russell

It may take a while for birds to find a new feeder, but they WILL find it eventually.

Birds typically forage at over 10 different sites daily, so some birds are bound to stumble upon your feeder(s) as they fly from site to site.  Once one bird finds your feeder, other birds will observe it feeding and come to see what’s on the menu.

If you haven’t seen any action at your feeder, and you’ve had it out for three or more weeks, maybe something needs adjusting.

Ask yourself the following questions:

Is the feeder too exposed?  High winds or heavy rains can discourage birds from feeding.
Is there enough natural vegetation for birds to perch, and to feel protected? Newer subdivisions, almost devoid of vegetation can be a challenging area to attract birds. A brush pile or discarded Christmas tree not far from feeders may provide needed cover as a quick fix.  Planting native shrubs and trees has extra benefits in that they are adapted for our climate and soil as well as for our backyard birds.
Did the seed deteriorate before birds found the feeder?  It makes sense to fill a new feeder only partially full of seed, since it often takes some time before you have numbers of birds regularly feeding there.  If seed has been in a feeder for over 2 weeks, there’s a chance mold may have formed or the seed has become less desirable.  Dump the old seed and fill with fresh.
Do your friends and neighbors have more birds than you have? Maybe your food offering is out of balance for your backyard habitat. It’s best to offer plenty of black oil sunflower seeds, plus offer some millet and cracked corn on a tray feeder close to the ground.  If you have mature trees in your area, offering suet can bring in insect-eating birds, such as Bushtits and woodpeckers.