Attracting Birds to Your Feeder
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- > Hang Bird Feeders
- > Types of Bird Feeders
- > Attract with Bird Seed
- > Offer Shelter
- > Tips and Tricks
So you have bought your new bird feeder, and now you want to know how to get the birds to come over for dinner. Learning how to attract birds to your new bird feeder involves just a few simple steps.
Attract Birds with a Bird Garden
Entice birds by creating a bird garden with the following items:
- Pretty Flowers
- Bird houses
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.
Know Where to Hang Bird Feeders
When searching for a place to hang your birdfeeder, keep in mind that the best place might not always be in your line of sight. Birds like to have cover and shelter. Bird feeders are best hung in a place where the birds feel safe from predators.
Avoid open and noisy areas and try to 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 shepherd's hook, this would be ideal. Shepherd's hooks are designed specifically for birdfeeders because they are taller, and the hook is further away from the pole. 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. Try slowly letting 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.
Types of Bird Feeders
Decorative Bird FeedersFeaturing architectural designs from pagodas to historical locations, decorative bird feeders suit any garden.
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Hummingbird FeedersHummingbirds require special food, nectar. Offer fuel to hummingbirds with a nectar filled hummingbird feeder.
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Wooden Bird FeedersMade of various woods, typically cedar or redwood, wooden bird feeders are sturdy and stand up to all weather conditions.
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Squirrel Proof Bird FeedersKeep squirrels away from bird seed with a squirrel proof bird feeder specially weighted or protected against pests.
Squirrel Proof Bird Feeders
Platform Bird FeedersPlatform bird feeders are great beginner feeders and are versatile as they can be filled with seed or fruit.
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Window Bird FeedersWatch through your windows from the comfort of your home as birds eat with a window bird feeder for outdoor use.
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Tube Bird FeedersDispenses a variety of seeds such as sunflower, thistle, and multi. Different sizes for small to large bird populations.
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Suet Bird FeedersSuet provides a high protein food eaten by many species of birds. Offer suet with a suet bird feeder.
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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:
- Black oil sunflower seeds (most widely acceptable)
- Safflower seeds
- Sunflower seeds
- Thistle seed (not a favorite of squirrels)
- Suet cakes
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.
Attracting Birds Tips and Tricks
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.
Which Feeder do I Need?Beginning birders will find a lot of information here on what type of bird feeder would be best for their population of bird.
Read More About Feeder Needs
How to Attract HummingbirdsAttracting hummingbirds is simple and rewarding. By offering nectar, you can attract one of nature's most energetic birds.
Read More About Attracting Hummingbirds