when do birds come to feeders

Birds are creatures of habit. Their daily routines are often predictable, including their feeding habits. Common feeder birds like chickadees and titmice will make the rounds on their favorite food and water spots throughout the day, and that might include your backyard.

Birds’ actions are strongly determined by their circadian rhythms, or their daily biological clocks. They’re extremely active during the first few morning hours, fairly inactive mid-day, and get a last little burst of energy about 30 minutes before sunset.

So what time are birds most likely to stop at your feeder?

There are no strict guidelines, but the majority of birds, including woodpeckers, jays, and cardinals, will stop by after their morning flurry and then again during the midday lull.

The peak feeding times for common yard birds are in the middle of the morning, from 8 to 11 a.m., and again in the middle of the afternoon, from 2 to 4 p.m. Early in the morning, cardinals and hummingbirds are frequently the first to appear. The weather has an impact on feeder activity as well; days with rain or extremely high or low temperatures can draw more birds to your feeders.

Throughout the day, birds frequently move in loose groups in search of food. Remarkably, titmice can form family groups consisting of three to eight members. Additionally, chickadees prefer to congregate in groups, and cardinals appear to always know where their fellows are. Jays also like to travel together in small numbers.

when do birds come to feeders

This means that, after a flurry of activity lasting five to ten minutes, all the birds in that group suddenly disappear as they move on, leaving your feeder emtpy once again. Your bird feeders will be emtpy one minute, and busy with a whole group of birds the very next minute! This pattern typically recurs throughout the day, beginning in the late morning.

A common bird that’s less predictable is the woodpecker. They tend to visit feeders one at a time. If you have access to peanuts or suet, you’ve probably seen woodpeckers before. They travel around during the day as well, but they most likely visit their favorite locations repeatedly and quickly. This is particularly noticeable when they are gathering food for their young during the nesting season.

when do birds come to feeders

Mid-morning is usually the ideal time if you enjoy watching birds at your feeders or sitting by your window. Set your goals for the 8:30–9:30 am window and then modify them based on when you continue to see the most activity.

The best times to see birds are probably before and after lunch if you enjoy looking at your bird feeders and work on your computer at home near a window during the day. This will occur approximately between 11 and 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 and 4 p.m.

Owl activity peaks in the last two hours of night and at last light as the sun sets. They are also active, albeit fleetingly, at first light as the sun rises.

when do birds come to feeders

Owls can be attracted to your yard, but your bird feeders won’t pique their curiosity. On the other hand, owls have been observed bathing and drinking in bird baths. Some people use their motion sensor game cameras to capture owls splashing around.

If owls are nesting close by, you might receive frequent visits from them. If you have a large or tall tree in your yard, you can encourage nesting by attaching owl nest boxes to it.

Are any human foods unsafe for birds?

Yes. Many of the foods that humans eat shouldn’t be given to birds.

  • Both fresh and stale bread have little nutritional value for birds, and moldy bread can be harmful to them.
  • Due to the theobromine it contains, chocolate is poisonous to birds just as it is to dogs and cats.
  • Table scraps: the majority will draw mice or rats, and some may not be healthy or safe for birds to eat.

What bird foods should I offer?

Always keep cats inside, and don’t forget to provide the right food for the season from a clean feeder that is kept a safe distance from windows.

Winter (when natural foods are less abundant)

  • Black-oil sunflower seeds are small and have thin shells that are easy for small birds to crack open. They are high in fat, making them a good source of energy.
  • White Proso Millet: high in protein content
  • Peanuts: Provide in peanut-specific metal mesh feeders in the form of tubes; for peanut hearts, use a feeder with smaller apertures.
  • Commercially produced suet cakes, which come in vegetarian options as well, fit the standard-size suet feeder.
  • To prevent the nyjer seed from spilling out, use a tube feeder with tiny holes for goldfinches.
  • Medium-sized cracked corn is best because finer varieties will soon become mushy and coarser varieties are too big for small-beaked birds to eat.


  • For spring feeding, a variety of birdseed varieties are good options, but you may also think about providing fruit for songbirds. (If you use fruit, make sure to take out any spoiled or leftover pieces.) Moreover, you can provide baked and rinsed crushed eggshells, which give birds like robins calcium.
  • It’s nesting season in the spring, so you can provide natural materials like twigs, small sticks, straw, and other plant materials (e.g., g. moss, bark strips, pine needles, leaves, stems, cottontail fluff, cottonwood down, grass, or yard trimmings (as long as they are free of fertilizer and pesticides) Offer only natural materials, such as acrylic yarn, that birds might naturally come across.
  • Over 90% of songbirds depend on insects to feed their young during the spring and summer breeding seasons. For adult birds, you can still provide feeders, but insects are essential to the survival of nestlings and fledglings. Insecticide use should be completely avoided or drastically reduced as it may hinder adult birds from finding enough insects to feed their young.


Limit to nyjer seed for goldfinches and nectar for hummingbirds (refer to these guidelines).

When giving out feed during the hot and muggy summer months, be sure to keep the seed dry. The seed may release poisons that are toxic to birds if it becomes moldy. To prevent the bird seed from sitting for extended periods of time, try filling feeders halfway or less!


Offer millet, peanuts, peanut butter and suet cakes.


What time of day do birds come to feeders?

Greenfinches, Blue Tits, and other small garden birds start to arrive at the bird feeder by mid-morning. At this time, when the sun has risen, the birdseed feeder gets busy as the birds break their fast and build back up their energy levels for the day ahead.

How long will it take birds to find my feeder?

Birds locate food purely by sight, so while birds may notice the food right away, it could still take them 3-4 weeks to eat from a new feeder. Possibly twice that long for a specialty feeder (suet, peanut, etc.).

What months should you feed birds?

A bird table will be at its most popular when natural food is in short supply, usually between October and April. But food shortages can happen at any time, so feeding all year round is best.

Why are birds suddenly not coming to my feeder?

Fluctuating food supplies/requirements. Also, birds have different dietary needs during different times of the year, so they may move to or away from your feeders seasonally. You may notice fewer birds at your feeders during the late summer and early fall as there is usually lots of natural food available.