Birds can bring a splash of color and joyful chirps to your yard. If you have lots of native plants, you might spot local avifauna finding food or shelter in your garden.
But you don’t have to wait for nature to do it all. A bird feeder can help you attract more species.
To attract more birds to your feeder, you should:
- Offer a wider selection of seeds
- Feed the birds mealworms
- Use different types of bird feeders
- Add a bird bath
- Provide shelter and food in all seasons
In addition to the methods above, there are other ways to attract more birds to your yard. Check them out below.
13 Ways To Attract More Birds To Feeders
1. Use Different Seeds
When setting up a bird feeder, you might be tempted to fill it with commercial bird feed.
However, these meals are developed to fulfill the nutritional needs of bird species held in captivity. Wild avifauna might not settle for just some type of generic cereal.
If you want to attract local birds to your yard, you have to step up your game. Offer birds a mix of seeds, suet, fresh fruit – such as oranges and apples – and a separate feeder filled with sugar water.
2. Add Peanuts to the Mix
In addition to a variety of seeds, a way to attract lots of local birds into your yard is with peanuts. You can mix the nuts directly into the seed mix or offer a separate, peanut-filled feeder only.
3. Try Some Peanut Butter
While birds usually prefer natural stuff, most of the species mentioned above won’t mind snacking on some peanut butter now and then. This is a good nut replacement if you’ve run out of them.
To avoid hurting the birds, you should use sugar-free peanut butter.
Since sugar is not found in nature, many birds lack the enzymes necessary to digest it. Thus, sweetened peanut butter could lead to a variety of gastrointestinal issues.
4. Feed Them Worms
When trying to find the perfect meals for birds, most people limit themselves to suet and seeds. Yet, in nature, many songbirds love protein-rich insects and worms.
5. Keep Bird Feeders Clean
This should go without saying, but if you’re trying to attract more birds to your yard, don’t forget to clean the feeders.
Rodents are aggressive and could scare off songbirds. And when you come to think of it, you wouldn’t like eating from a dirty plate either.
6. Choose the Right Bird Feeders
Another essential thing to consider is the type of bird feeder – yes, the design matters.
The table below shows what type to choose based on the birds you want to attract to your yard:
|Bird feeder type||Best for|
|Suspended platform feeder||Jays, pigeons, starlings, northern cardinals, titmice, song sparrows, house finches|
|Ground platform feeder||Jays, house sparrows, towhees, goldfinches, doves, cardinals|
|Hopper feeders||House finches, chickadees, grackles, red-winged blackbirds, titmice|
|Window feeders||Titmice, chickadees, sparrows, finches|
|Tube feeders||Redpolls, pine siskins, goldfinches, chickadees|
|Thistle feeders||Goldfinches, pine siskins, chickadees|
|Suet feeders||Jays, bluebirds, nuthatches, warblers, titmice, wrens, woodpeckers, chickadees|
|Fruit feeders||Orioles, tanagers, grosbeaks|
|Mealworm feeders||Wrens, thrushes, bluebirds, cardinals|
7. Provide Winter Comfort
You don’t have to bother about winter comfort if the birds you’re feeding are migratory. However, non-migratory species may appreciate a safe haven during the winter months.
The first thing to add to your yard is shelter. Place the feeder under a porch or a thicker tree brunch. You could also add a cover, such as a squirrel baffle mounted above the feeding tube or plate.
Water is also important, so you could opt for a heated bird bath. Some baths come with solar panels that keep the water above freezing temperature without the need to be hooked to the grid.
8. Add Water to Your Landscape
As mentioned, water is just as important as food, especially during the summer months when birds may have trouble finding it elsewhere.
In fact, a bird bath may be much more attractive than a fully stocked feeder in the warmer months.
Place the bath near the feeder, but leave some space between the two elements. In this way, birds bathing won’t bother those who eat, and vice versa.
9. Provide Shelter Around Feeders
Like all wild animals, birds need shelter to feel safe. Exposed feeders are a great choice if you’re concerned about cats catching the birds, but you should still provide the avifauna with much-needed shelter.
You can do that by placing the feeder near a tree – at a safe distance to avoid squirrels or rats from jumping on it.
Bushes and hedges also provide shelter, but you could simply add a few pots of native plants near the feeder installation.
10. Remember Ground Feeders
Another mistake you might make when trying to attract birds to the feeder is providing suspended feeders only. However, some birds are ground-dwellers.
Some species that would much rather eat from a ground feeder include cardinals, goldfinches, house sparrows, jays, and towhees. Doves also prefer ground feeders.
11. Grow an Eco-Friendly Yard
Placing a bird feeder in an otherwise sterile yard may attract birds in heavily urbanized areas. Yet, if you live near a park or in the suburbs, you may notice scarce visits – if any – to your feeders.
That’s because birds typically choose vegetation-rich places to search for food. Tree canopies, bushes, shrubs, and tall grasses provide shelter, allowing small birds to hide from predators.
Sterile yards – including the ones featuring manicured lawns – don’t attract insects either, and insectivorous birds are even less likely to come to your yard, even if you provide mealworms.
A way to mitigate all these issues is with a plant-rich, native garden. If you weren’t before, it’s time to become interested in xeriscaping.
12. Get a Duplicate Feeder
We already mentioned that keeping feeders clean is important. However, the scent of dish wash could deter birds.
You can avoid the problems by investing in a duplicate feeder. Set up the second one as you’re cleaning the first, then hang the clean feeder in an aerated place (without filling it up) for a few days. Fresh air can make the soap scent fade.
When you’re ready to clean the second feeder, simply replace it with the clean one and repeat the procedure.
13. Involve the Neighbors
Involving the neighbors may sound counterintuitive if you want to attract birds to your yard. After all, you’ll then have to compete for wildlife.
The truth is, however, that birds are more likely to return to places where they feel welcome. More bird feeders set up in the same area and an abundance of native gardens can increase the number of birds in your area.
Attracting birds to your yard should start with the right feed and feeder choice. Provide water, too, such as a bird bath or fountain, and some shelter – preferably consisting of native plants. Winter shelter, protein-rich meals for some birds, and a clean feeder are other tricks that can help you attract more birds to your feeder.