Bird feeding is such a popular hobby that the US has declared every February its annual National Bird Feeding Month. Bird feeding is a great family activity and helps birds, especially in winter.
However, setting up a feeder doesn’t ensure you’ll instantly have avian customers.
How long before birds come to a new feeder? Depending on the season, environment, and other factors, birds can take 5-18 days to find your feeder.
Table of Contents
- How Long Does It Take for Birds to Find a New Feeder?
- Tips That Help Birds Find New Feeders
- Frequently Asked Questions
How Long Does It Take for Birds to Find a New Feeder?
It’s incredibly frustrating to have a new bird feeder no birds. But don’t worry, it’s them, not you – birds are the type to always stick with tried and tested “safe” areas over new places.
However, birds are always on the lookout for food and water sources. So if you are simply patient enough–and if you set up your feeder right–they’ll eventually come around and start coming to your garden.
So how long does it take for birds to find a bird feeder? If you are fortunate, they’ll be there in a few hours. On average, though, they take ten days to find new feeders.
Here are some factors that affect how long before birds find a new feeder.
Naturally, the species that will visit your feeder are those that live in your state. But some species are more trusting than others, and some rely on feeders more, particularly those that migrate.
Based on gathered information, enthusiasts have concluded that chickadees typically find feeders first of all bird species. They are closely followed by sparrows, cardinals, bluejays, house finches, doves, goldfinches, and woodpeckers.
2. Time of Year
While you can set up your feeder anytime, it can be challenging to attract birds to a new feeder during certain seasons.
The nesting season tends to be a quiet time for backyard feeders because many birds are busy caring for their young.
Meanwhile, late summer and early fall are difficult times to get birds to come to a feeder, too, since many natural food sources are available.
3. Your Yard Setup
How your garden is set up matters if you are trying to get birds to come to your bird feeder, but it’s not just because they are picky with aesthetics. Rather, birds want to feel safe.
Your bird feeder must be easily visible but not too exposed. This means it’s best to place them near trees or bushes to give birds a place to fly to should predators approach.
But be careful not to place them too near either! Feeders too near trees can attract squirrels or, worse, actually provide cover for the lurking predators.
4. Your Neighbors
Has your neighbor had their feeder up for a while, and that’s why you decided to do it too?
Unfortunately, it can be challenging to compete with established bird feeder locations! As mentioned in the beginning, birds are creatures of habit and will always choose something they are already comfortable with.
This is not to discourage you from still trying, though. It is simply a note that, if this is the case, it may take longer for the birds to find new feeder.
Tips That Help Birds Find New Feeders
Here are several other things you can try to entice birds to visit you sooner rather than later.
1. Set up multiple feeders with different seeds.
This is particularly helpful if many different species live in your area. Each species has its preferred diet, and the more options you offer, the more you can tempt others to dine with you.
2. Always keep your feeder/s full.
If your feeder is always full, birds will come to know your garden as a reliable pitstop and make efforts to visit more regularly.
3. Keep your feeder/s clean.
Whether you already have a lot of bird visitors or not, always keep your feeder clean for hygienic reasons. Ideally, you should do this once a month.
You can also think about it this way: You’ll never know how long it will be until birds find bird feeder. The last thing you’d want is for them to finally show up and get frightened off by the dirt!
4. Leave out signs of seeds.
Birds may have difficulty seeing inside your bird feeder from above. Sprinkle some seeds on top of your feeder and the ground around it. This will increase the likelihood that birds will notice it and come!
5. Provide water and shelter, too.
Besides food, birds need water and shelter. To increase the chances of attracting birds to a feeder, install some nest boxes and perches and leave out some water.
Install a bird bath with a fountain if you want to go all out. The sound of gurgling water will have birds dashing into your yard.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why are birds not coming to my new feeder?
There are many possible reasons birds not coming to new feeder.
It may be because it’s the time of the year lots of natural food sources are available, your feeder is not in an ideal location in your yard, or they simply haven’t found it yet.
It may also be because they don’t like the seeds you left out or even that your bird feeder is an intimidating color for them!
Do birds have to get used to a new feeder?
Yes, definitely! Birds take a little time to trust they are safe enough at a new location and get comfortable eating from a new feeder.
However, they also literally have to “adjust” to your new feeder! After all, each one has its own type of perch, type of seed dispenser, level of stability, and more.
What is the best location for a bird feeder?
The best location for a bird feeder is somewhere visible in your garden that is close to, but not right next to, trees and other shrubberies.
This gives birds a sense of safety while denying predators the chance to use it as cover to pronounce on the birds.
Seeing and hearing colorful birds chirping and flitting about your garden is a delight. But sometimes, even though all the accessories are set up, no birds are coming!
How long before birds come to a new feeder? The simple answer is usually about ten days, but the truth is many factors come into play.
While several of those factors are out of your control, some are. So the best thing to do while waiting is to focus on improving what you can and simply be patient.
As they say, good things (and birds) come to those who wait.
George and I became friends after a birdwatching trip with our new group. And we have been enjoying every adventure together. When he told me the idea of establishing a site that shares our experiences and fun, I immediately agreed. After trials and errors, here we have Thayerbirding.