Attracting Birds to a Feeder

Why don’t I have more birds coming to my bird feeder?

Attracting Birds to a Feeder

There could be lots of reasons why you don’t have more birds coming to your feeder. Birds use feeders as a supplement to their natural diet, and the types of birds that come to your feeder and the number of individuals will depend first and foremost on the local habitat where your feeder is placed. This is something you can influence by creating better habitat close to your feeder. See the Penn State Extension fact sheets on landscaping for wildlife .

Feeder use is also influenced by weather conditions. Feeder use is heaviest when temperatures are cold and energy demands are high, and when natural food supplies are covered with ice or snow. If the weather is still mild and there is no snow cover, the birds are probably feeding primarily on natural food supplies. When temperatures drop, feeder activity should pick up.

The type and quality of bird seed can also influence use. Different species of birds have different seed and feeder preferences. See the fact sheet on winter bird feeding for information on seed preferences. To attract a diversity of birds, you need to provide a diversity of seed types and feeder types. Finally, make sure that your bird seed has not become moldy or been eaten by insects. Seed that has been left all summer in a garage will often develop mold or will have been consumed by insects. This seed should not be fed to birds and in fact, in most cases they will avoid it.

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