don’t fill bird feeders

Filling Feeders: Should you keep your bird feeder full at all times? Or should you only add seed when it is completely empty? I’ve been experimenting a bit with this and my conclusion is that how full you should keep your feeder depends on feeder type and sometimes weather. You can also somewhat control the feeder area’s bird density by adjusting seed availability among several feeders.

When I Keep Bottom Port Tube Feeders Full

However, there are instances when I do replenish these feeders rather than waiting for them to run out of food. One evident instance is when I intend to take a few days off. I’ll fill up every feeder so that there will be more seed available until I return. When there are more birds than normal eating during or before a snowstorm, I might also replenish my tube feeders. I can avoid having to go outside and refill them during inclement weather by pre-filling them before a storm.

Whenever there is a chance of strong wind, I also make sure to keep the tube feeders topped off. Tube feeders, in my experience, are typically fairly stable in light wind. However, feeders can move around, particularly if they have weather domes or baffles covering them that can catch the wind. If feeders are fully filled, the added weight will prevent them from flying around unless there is an exceptionally strong wind or the food is exceptionally light.

dont fill bird feeders

When I Keep Many-Port Tube Feeders Full

My approach for these feeders varies. When bad weather is predicted and a lot of birds are expected to visit, or when wind is predicted, I fill the feeders to the brim so they are initially full. I’ll probably keep topping them off during snowstorms so that more birds have an opportunity to eat.

Because birds are frequently less likely to visit the feeders in strong winds, I don’t find that I need to constantly replenish the feeders on these particularly windy days. (Note: I’ll remove the feeders and their baffles if very high winds are predicted.) ).

dont fill bird feeders

When I Let Many-Port Tube Feeders Go Half Empty or Empty

However, I don’t always replenish these feeders in the summer and early fall when the weather is pleasant and/or calm. In warmer seasons, there aren’t typically as many birds visiting. Additionally, I have enough feeders so that even if some feeder ports run out of seed, there are still feeder ports that do.

Similar to other tube feeders, it may be beneficial to let a feeder run completely empty once in a while. That way you know that all the seed gets eaten. At that point, fresh seed is added, making everything fresh. (If you have multiple feeders, you could gradually empty one while keeping another filled to ensure that there is still seed available.) ).

Additionally, having a lot of full feeders can always attract large flocks of a particular species of bird. Even if you happen to be fond of a particular bird species, there are drawbacks to boasting about the hundreds of goldfinches that come visit you every day. For instance, occasionally I have so many finches (usually House Finches and American Goldfinches) that I get a little concerned about crowding too many birds into a small space so they can eat.

It disperses the flock by placing these well-liked feeders throughout my yard and not always filling them to the brim. Reducing the number of birds at feeders seems like a sensible strategy to try and stop the spread of illnesses like avian pox and conjunctivitis in House Finch conjunctivitis.

These particular bird species still flock together and roost together. That’s their nature. However, at my feeders, they are at least a little more dispersed. Seeing that not all of the feeder ports are occupied by finches also appears to attract other species. The finches’ dispersal has resulted in an increase in visits from tiny birds such as titmice, wrens, nuthatches, and chickadees.

dont fill bird feeders

FAQ

What are the negatives of bird feeders?

When birds mix at feeders, they’re not super neat. Along with birdseed, they also pick up and share bacteria and waste. Across the country, feeders have helped spread conjunctivitis in house finches; the eye disease impairs their vision, making it hard for them to detect predators and feed.

How often should you refill a bird feeder?

Change the seed in a dry seed feeder every 5-7 days to avoid mold, bacteria, or bugs in the feeders and always wash your hands after handling bird supplies and feeders.

Why take down bird feeders?

Rather than providing bird seed to wild birds, a healthier option would be to provide natural sources of food by landscaping with native plants, if possible. This will benefit wild birds and pollinators like butterflies and bees.

Can you feed birds too much?

They are in tune with how much food is required to see them through the day and will quickly learn what their bodies need to sustain their activities. Any food that we provide them with is supplementary to their natural diet. So, no, you are not overfeeding your birds.