how to make birds find bird feeder

There’s a general rule to bird feeding: The more various the food and feeders, the more various the birds you’ll attract. Consequently, few backyard bird lovers settle for one type of food or one type of feeder.

Before you choose food or a feeder, it’s a good idea to decide what type of birds are in your area and which ones you want to bring into your garden. There is a wide selection from which to choose in both categories.

Among food there’s seeds, nuts, insects, fruits, and nectar. Nectar is popular with hummingbirds, but other birds will enjoy it too. Included among birds with a sweet tooth are orioles, finches, woodpeckers, warblers, and chickadees.

Feeders include hopper feeders, tube feeders, platform feeders, suet feeders, and, of course, hummingbird feeders. Oh, let’s not forget about squirrel-proof feeders, too!

My advice is to speak with your local wild bird store to determine what type of foods work best in what type of feeder.

Once you’ve got your chosen food and feeder, there are actions you can take to help ensure that your guests come to dine.

A bird’s eye view

A few examples of how you might see birds foraging for food in your neighborhood are a woodpecker clinging to the side of a tree, a robin hopping around your lawn, or a group of birds chattering in a cluster of bushes. A significant amount of a bird’s day is spent looking for food, whether they prefer insects, worms, seeds, grains, or fruit, depending on the species and the season. But how do they find these tasty snacks?.

Birds almost exclusively find food by sight. Birds rely on their acute senses of sight and sound to locate food sources because they have almost no sense of smell. Therefore, a bird is likely to stop for a bite to eat if it sees a feeder with a known food source inside. Birds can even learn to identify feeders as potential food sources and follow them, much like humans might locate a restaurant to eat dinner. Furthermore, although sound isn’t always helpful in locating food, it can direct birds toward flowing water so they can drink.

1. Consider Where to Place Your Feeder

There are a few common questions to ask yourself when picking a spot: can you see your feeder? Are there any trees or shrubs nearby? Is it safe from predators?

If the feeders you currently have adhere to these recommendations, place your new feeder in the same general vicinity. Make sure it can be seen as birds fly by.

After they locate it, gradually remove your new feeder from their current location. If more wary birds can stay away from possible crowds, they’ll feel less intimidated. Separating feeders will also aid in reducing the likelihood of disease transmission.

2. Fill the Feeder with a Popular Seed

Three types of sunflower seeds that draw almost all kinds of birds are black oil sunflower seeds, sunflower hearts, and Nyjer® or thistle seeds. Most feeders will accept any of these seed types. A finch feeder is the only one that doesn’t have feeding ports small enough for anything other than Nyjer.

Start with one of these even if you intend to use a different kind of seed in your new feeder. As the birds get used to the new feeder, you can gradually add your preferred seed.

Putting some of the seed in an open platform or on top of the feeder (a shallow pan or foil pie plate will work just fine) is another clever trick. Birds have incredible vision, but a very poor sense of smell. They will have no trouble finding the feeding ports once they notice the seed atop the feeder.

Baltimore Oriole at Bird Bath / Shutterstock