Attracting Birds to Your Feeder

Learning how to attract birds to your new bird feeder involves just a few simple steps. Once you create an inviting environment for attracting birds, they will be more likely to fly by and dine.

Know Where to Hang Bird Feeders

When deciding where to hang your birdfeeder, keep in mind that the best place might not always be in your line of sight. Birds like cover and shelter. Bird feeders are best hung in a place where your visiting birds feel safe from predators.

Most important: Avoid open and noisy areas and hang your bird feeders at eye level or a little above. Do not hang feeders too close to any place where squirrels can jump on them, or too low they are within a cat's reach. Birds will move on to find a new bird feeder if they can't eat in peace from constant attack by predators.

If you have an area in your yard where you can place a shepherds hook, this would be ideal. Hooks designed specifically for birdfeeders are taller, hanging further away from poles, walls and branches. Platform feeders can be hung or placed on the ground. There will be more safety for the feeders when hung, but some birds are ground feeders, like doves and sparrows.

If you already have an existing birdfeeder and are looking to replace it or add another one, remember that birds are creatures of habit and might not take to the new birdfeeder right away. Slowly let the old birdfeeder run out while keeping the new one filled for your birds to find. Once the birds find the new feeder, take the old one down, or slowly start to refill it if you are keeping it.

Attract Birds with a Bird Garden
Attract birds with water
Attracting Birds with Water

Birds can fly anywhere, so give them a reason to choose your bird feeder. Entice birds by creating a bird garden designed for their needs:

Birds like water, so try placing your birdfeeder near a pond, birdbath or a dripper. Water will act as a natural attractant, particularly the sound of running or trickling water. If there is a steady supply of water year round, you have a better chance of attracting birds and convincing them to return.

Shelter comes in a variety of forms for birds. Shelter can be a shrub or thicket, offering a dense camouflage from predators, or a nest box or bird house. Shrubs and thickets that bear fruit in the winter are an added bonus.

Planting flowers attracts birds because of the seeds that come after the bloom. One of the better flowers to plant for attracting birds is the daisy - easy to grow, and full of seeds during winter time. Another popular flower for birds is the sunflower. Native plants are also ideal, attracting birds that are already native to your location.

Types of Bird Feeders

Decorative Bird Feeders

Featuring architectural designs from pagodas to historical locations, decorative bird feeders suit any garden.

Wooden Bird Feeders

Made of various woods, typically cedar or redwood, wooden bird feeders are sturdy and stand up to all weather conditions.

Platform Bird Feeders

Platform bird feeders are great beginner feeders and are versatile as they can be filled with seed or fruit.

Tube Feeders

Dispenses a variety of seeds such as sunflower, thistle, and multi. Different sizes for small to large bird populations.

Hummingbird Feeders

Hummingbirds require special food, nectar. Offer fuel to hummingbirds with a nectar filled hummingbird feeder.

Squirrel Proof Bird Feeders

Keep squirrels away from bird seed with a squirrel proof bird feeder specially weighted or protected against pests.

Window Bird Feeders

Watch through your windows from the comfort of your home as birds eat with a window bird feeder for outdoor use.

Suet Bird Feeders

Suet provides a high protein food eaten by many species of birds. Offer suet with a suet bird feeder.

Birds Like Bird Seed

Not any generic bird seed will suffice in a bird feeder, and bird feeders are designed to hold specific types of food. Many factors need to be considered when choosing bird seed. The various types of bird food include:

  • Tube Bird Feeder Blue Tits at Tube Bird Feeder
  • Black oil sunflower seeds (most widely acceptable)
  • Safflower seeds
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Thistle seed (not a favorite of squirrels)
  • Suet cakes
  • Mealworms
  • Fruit
  • Peanuts
  • Nectar

Bird seed is popular for feeding from a tube feeder. We suggest reading more on the best bird feeders for your needs, which will help in attracting the birds you are most interested in, whether doves, cardinals, wrens or hummingbirds.

For new tube bird feeders, start by filling with black oil sunflower seeds, a favorite among most birds. Once your birdfeeder starts attracting birds, try a mixture of black oil sunflower seeds, safflower seeds, and sunflower hearts. Suet cakes work well too, but you will need a suet feeder if you plan to serve cake. Buying the best bird seed or suet cakes from a pet store, not a grocery store, helps to give you the advantage over neighboring competition, and placing a platform feeder nearby with oranges or berries helps to attract a greater variety of birds.

Make sure that you keep your birdfeeders full all year round. Some birds will visit throughout the year, and if your feeder is always full, the birds will keep coming back for more. Winter is a harsh time for non-migratory birds, and often their only source of nourishment is through birdfeeders, so make sure to offer them in your garden.

Offer Shelter for Birds

The bird house you offer as shelter needs to be designed for the specific size bird you feed. When purchasing a bird house, ask yourself what birds visit your garden the most. Most bird houses are ideal for birds that are a bluebird size or smaller, including wrens, finches, chickadees, and titmice. Choosing a birdhouse with a hole opening that is 1.5" or smaller will keep larger birds out.

When determining how close the bird house and feeder should be positioned, know that placing a bird house within close distance from a bird feeder allows birds to feed their young and enjoy short flights for food in harsh weather conditions. Add a bird house to increase your yard's appeal.

Tips and Tricks for Attracting Birds

If you need a few more tips to attract birds to your garden, try offering something shiny. Birds are attracted to shiny objects, so using a bird feeder with a metallic base or design is effective, or simply place a shiny metal object close to the feeder. If incorporating a bird house into the yard, consider a house with a copper top.

You can also tease with seed. Scatter a few seeds on the ground near the feeder to get the attention of visiting birds and encourage them to eat.

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