Monday, July 5, 2021

25 Reasons why birds aren't coming to your feeder

You set up your bird feeder with eager anticipation. But no birds came to your feeder.

Or, birds came for a while, but then they've stopped coming to your feeder.

There are many possible reasons birds aren't coming to your feeder. 

Birds don't come to your bird feeder because there is something wrong with your bird food, the feeder, the placement of feeders, the landscaping and safety of your yard, or the time of year.

Photo of an empty bird feeder (svklimkin Pixabay)

If there are no birds at your feeder, it is likely due to one or more of those problems listed above.

Let's break down these generic problems. We'll discuss, specifically, the problems that may exist in your yard keeping birds from eating at your feeders.

Problems with your bird food may keep birds away from your feeder

The first area to investigate when birds aren't coming to your feeder is the bird food itself. 

Birds are very good at finding food in their home range. They are very good at noticing changes in their environment--such as a new feeder being set up. 

So if birds aren't coming to your feeder, a problem with the food itself is probably the place to start.

Photo of Evening Grosbeaks at feeder
Evening Grosbeaks. Greg Gillson.

1. Birds aren't eating at your feeder because you aren't providing black oil sunflower seed and white proso millet

Most of the birds that come to your feeder are seed eating birds.

Most seed eating birds absolutely LOVE black oil sunflower seeds!

Some smaller-billed sparrows and juncos like smaller seeds. The favorite small seed of these birds is white proso millet.

These two seeds are the favorite foods of most of the birds you want at your feeder.

To get birds to come to your feeder, make sure you are feeding them black oil sunflower seeds and white proso millet.

More information on sunflower seeds and white proso millet is linked at the end of this article.

2. Few birds come to your feeder because your bird seed has too much red milo or other filler seeds

In order to entice buyers who always are looking for a low-price "deal," bird seed manufacturers offer some products that are rather inferior.

They do this by offering bird foods that are cheap and produced in large quantity for bulk profits. They add this cheap "filler" to mixed bird seed, and offer less quality foods like black oil sunflower seeds.

Two such filler foods are red milo and cracked corn. Why? They produce it in mass quantities for the poultry industry. It is literally chicken scratch.

Unfortunately, most native birds in the United States do not like to eat red milo. And the birds that like this seed are not desirable at your feeders, especially the messy European house sparrows and voracious blackbirds (including cowbirds and grackles).

A few more species eat the cracked corn, especially quail and doves, but also the house sparrows and blackbirds. Some other backyard birds eat cracked corn, but it isn't the favorite of any you are probably trying to attract to your feeders.

To get a wider variety of birds to come to your feeder, avoid mixed bird seed with red milo or cracked corn as one of the first 3 listed ingredients. 

Bird seed labels list ingredients in order of abundance. Try to buy bird seed with NO red milo. Cracked corn should be listed 3rd or later, or not at all.

Wagner's Songbird Supreme bird seed is my favorite for attracting the most kind of birds to my feeder. If it isn't available, a close second is Wagner's Greatest Variety. These are Amazon affiliate links that help support this blog. Thank you.

3. Birds stopped coming to your feeder because you let the feeder go empty too long

The birds that visit your feeder probably roam the neighborhood visiting other backyard bird feeders.

If your feeder regularly runs out of bird food for several days at a time, birds may stop visiting.

Once you have an established feeder, running out of seed occasionally won't matter. But if days go by and your feeder is empty, there is a chance birds will go elsewhere. The birds may disappear and stay away.

It is especially important that there is seed in your feeders first thing in the morning. That's when birds are the hungriest. If they eat in the morning and then run out of food by noon, that's okay. 

To keep birds coming back to your feeder, be sure to fill your feeder again at the end of each day so it is ready for the birds to eat at dawn.

There may be times to let your feeder go empty. See my article on how often to refill your feeder. I link to it at the end of this article.

4. Birds won't come to your feeder because your seed is too old or has gone bad

Bird seed can go bad in your feeder, especially if it rains or is covered by snow or ice that melts.

Bacteria or fungus can grow on the seed, especially if it gets wet. If seeds are wet and uneaten for more than 3 days, you should consider throwing it out and starting over.

Again, if seed remains in the feeder more than a week, it should probably be thrown out.

Also, many bird seeds deteriorate after several months in storage. If you shut down your bird feeder for the summer, you should probably buy new bird seed when you set it up again in the fall. Birds may not eat bird seed left over from last season.

For those feeding finches with a thistle feeder, you should know that Niger seed goes stale or bad rather quickly. It is even possible that your seed was old before you bought it. Thus, I recommend buying smaller quantities more often, to keep the seed fresh.

Bad seed is the cause of birds disappearing from a feeder that was formerly full of birds.

To keep birds coming to your feeder purchase fresh bird seed regularly, and don't over-fill your feeders so that seed sits in the feeder uneaten for more than a week.

5. Birds aren't coming to your feeder because you are feeding birds human food scraps

Most of the birds you wish to attract to your feeders prefer seeds, nuts, and sliced raw fruit.

The birds that are attracted to bread, meat, or cooked kitchen scraps are not likely the birds you want at your feeders. I call these "McBirds," as they are the ones you see in the dumpsters around a certain fast food restaurant that you may know. 

House Sparrows, Brewer's Blackbirds, Red-winged Blackbirds, American Crows, Brown-headed Cowbirds, Ring-billed Gulls, Common Grackles, Great-tailed Grackles, and jays are attracted to such human food scraps. 

These are larger, more aggressive, often flocking, birds that may chase off the smaller finches, chickadees, nuthatches, sparrows, and juncos you may wish to attract at your feeders.

See the section below on safety that discusses some pests and predators that human food scraps can attract.

To attract the smaller birds you desire at your feeder, don't feed human food scraps like breads and pasta, or meat. Stick with seeds, nuts, suet, and fruit.

I have written an article on feeding birds more appropriate kitchen scraps. You will find the link at the end of this article.

Problems with your bird feeder may keep birds from coming

If the bird food is clean and fresh, it usually doesn't matter too much what kind of feeder you have. However, some bird feeders are more general, some are more specialized. 

Specialized bird feeders may attract certain birds, while discouraging others. This can be very helpful if the "wrong" birds are becoming a nuisance at your feeders.

However, you want to make sure that your bird feeder is properly matched with the types of birds you are trying to attract.

Photo of Lazuli Bunting at bird feeder
Lazuli Bunting. Greg Gillson.

6. There are no birds at your feeder because the feeder is not clean

Old moldy seeds stuck in the feeder crevices can quickly foul any fresh bird seed you add.

Dirty feeders can cause birds to disappear and abandon your feeder. One day you look out and wonder, "where have my birds gone?"

Whenever you notice that the feeder is dirty, give your feeder a good cleaning. This is especially true in the early fall. Start your winter bird feeding with nice clean feeders.

Again, wet winter bird seed creates a gummy and unsanitary situation. Clean your feeders after a wet winter.

Soap and water is fine to clean your bird feeders. A solution of bleach can provide added disinfection.

To get more birds coming to your feeders, keep them clean!

7. Birds aren't using your bird feeders because they are the wrong type

The hopper feeder is the all-round, general-purpose, bird feeder. Most birds will eat from this feeder. It dispenses new seeds as the seeds below it are eaten.

The platform feeder is a favorite of sparrows, quail, and other birds that prefer to feed on the ground. It is simple and may or may not have a roof over it. Because it is wide open, any kind of bird may eat from it. This makes it easier for larger birds (crows, pigeons, blackbirds, jays) to "take over" the feeder and eat all the food, to the exclusion of smaller birds.

The tube feeder favors finches, chickadees, goldfinches, and nuthatches. Perches are small or non-existent. Thus, larger birds and ground feeders like sparrows have a harder time eating from these. The more expensive black oil sunflower seeds in these feeders go to the smaller birds and aren't gulped down by jays, blackbirds, pigeons, and other larger birds.

Get the type of birds you want in your backyard by choosing the correct type of bird feeder.

I wrote an article on the 7 types of bird feeders and the types of birds that each type attracts. See the related articles listed at the bottom of this article.

8. There aren't many birds at your feeder because you are using only one type of bird feeder

Are you using only one type of bird feeder? Then you are likely limiting the different varieties of birds that eat from them.

Different birds prefer different feeders. 

The major types of bird feeders are platform, hopper, and tube feeders. Each type of feeder has some birds that use them almost exclusively.

There are also specialty feeders. There are suet feeders, thistle feeders, nectar feeders, peanut feeders, and more. These attract specific types of birds.

Get the widest variety of birds to come to your feeders by using several styles of bird feeders.

Again, read my article, linked at the bottom of the page, on the 7 types of bird feeders and the types of birds that each type attracts.

9. Birds aren't coming to your bird feeders because you don't have a bird bath

Nothing attracts birds like the sound of dripping water!

If you can add a bird bath and fountain or dripper, you will greatly increase the birds coming to your yard and feeder.

Birds need to drink. All birds. Not just those attracted to the seed in your feeders.

Birds will both drink and bathe in your bird bath.

Bird baths do not need to be elaborate or expensive. A shallow bowl or saucer will do.

If you have tried a bird bath, but it didn't seem to be used, you need to read my article on bird baths in the list of related articles at the end of this page.

Get more birds to come to your bird feeders by also having a bird bath for them.

10. Birds aren't at your feeder (yet) because it is too newly set up

Birds tend to be leery of new bird feeders for the first few days.

It can take days or weeks before birds are accustomed to a new bird feeder and begin eating from it.

However, once the first birds are using it regularly, more usually quickly follow.

The companion article to this article is How to quickly attract birds to your feeder. It has some additional ideas you might try. I link to it in the related articles at the bottom of the page.

To get birds to come to a new feeder, keep it set up and clean, and just be patient.

Problems with the placement of your bird feeder may cause birds not to come

Most people set up a bird feeder so they can see and enjoy the birds.

However, the best place for you, may not be the best place for the birds.

If birds aren't coming to your feeder, then perhaps the problem is where you put it.

This section discusses some things to consider when deciding the best place for setting up bird feeders.

Photo of White-crowned Sparrow feeding below feeder
White-crowned Sparrow. Greg Gillson.

11. There are no birds at your new feeder because the birds don't see any food

When you first set up a new bird feeder, the local resident birds notice. They notice, because, like most living things with brains, they are always alert to food, danger, and others of their kind. 

So they notice that there is a new object in their territory. At first, they may be wary of the feeder. It is a change. It could signify a new danger. So even if they do see food, it may take a few days to overcome the fear of the new object. After that, though, they should visit and start eating at your feeder regularly.

However, perhaps you want to speed up their acceptance of your new feeder. You don't want to wait days or weeks to get birds to come to your feeder.

To get birds to come to a new feeder more quickly, spread some bird seed out in the open, around your yard. You can put bird seed on a sidewalk. You could put out a small saucer of seed on a fence post or deck railing. Put it where they birds can see it.

The goal is to put out seed at several areas around the yard that the birds can easily see. Put this seed away from the new bird feeder, but not too far away.

Once the birds find some food in the yard they will investigate and look for more.

12. No birds are coming to your feeder because it is too high or low

The height of a bird feeder is rarely the problem, at least, not without some other underlying problem.

Birds find food on the ground. Birds find food in the treetops. But sometimes not the same birds.

Some birds are generalists, finding food high and low. 

Sparrows, doves, and quail prefer to eat at lower feeders or the ground.

Finches and nuthatches often prefer to feed higher.

A good compromise is a bird feeder height of about 5 feet. This keeps it above some bird feeder pests and predators, like squirrels and cats.

Get the birds that you want to come to your feeder by placing the feeder at the correct height for each type.

What is the correct bird feeder height for each type of bird? See my article on how high a bird feeder should be placed. I link to it in the related articles section at the bottom of this page.

13. Birds aren't coming to your feeder because there is no staging perch

A staging perch is a branch or shrub or post that birds use to approach your feeder.

Most birds approach a bird feeder rather cautiously. Rather than fly directly to the feeder, they make several stops and pauses along the way. 

They search for predators that may be in the yard. They search for larger and more aggressive birds, even among their own species. They fly closer and look around again.

Birds will come to your feeder more readily if you add a staging perch.

14. You don't see any birds at your feeder because it's in the wrong location

This is such a huge topic that I have another article ready to write on this subject. Check the list of articles at the bottom of this page to see if it is ready yet.

Some birds will use a feeder placed just about anywhere. 

However, some shy birds will not use a feeder if it is too far from protective cover (see the next section on landscaping and safety). Some birds will not come to a feeder isolated by itself out in the middle of an large expanse of lawn.

Other birds that like a bit of open space may not like a feeder surrounded by overhanging branches or enclosed by shrubbery.

On the other hand, perhaps the birds are using the bird feeder but you cannot see it from inside your home because you placed it with no view from your windows.

Bring birds to your feeder and enjoy them by placing bird feeders toward the edge of the lawn and out a window where you can easily see them.

Problems with the landscaping and safety of your yard may cause birds to stay away

If you want birds in your yard, you need to provide protective cover. 

Birds need somewhere to escape to when threatened. Birds need a place to scout for danger before moving to your feeders to eat.

Birds need to feel safe.

If birds don't feel safe, they will never come to your bird feeders.

Photo of Spotted Towhee in blackberry tangle
Spotted Towhee. Greg Gillson.

15. Birds won't come to your bird feeder because the squirrels have taken over the feeders

Birds vs squirrels is a confrontation as old as bird feeding itself. 

For the most part, squirrels eat many of the same foods as do birds. 

And squirrels are experts at thwarting any attempts to feed the birds while at the same time keeping squirrels out. A squirrel-proof bird feeder? That's nearly an oxymoron. 

But you can make it much harder for squirrels to get at the bird food.

Squirrels can jump up 4 or 5 feet. They can jump sideways 15 feet. They can climb just about anything.

Keep squirrels from over-running your bird feeder by feeding safflower seeds, nectar, and Niger seed. 

Make it harder for squirrels to get to the bird food by switching to feeders with weight-sensitive perches or cages completely around them.

Bring birds to your feeder and keep squirrels away by purchasing foods squirrels don't like, switching to squirrel-proof bird feeders, and putting squirrel baffles above or below feeders.

I have written an article on squirrels vs birds that offers some ideas on foods and feeders, too. Check out the article list at the end of this article.

16. Birds aren't coming to your feeder because there is no landscaping to attract them or for them to escape to

Give some thought to adding trees and bushes to your landscaping.

Fast-growing bushes with thick foliage will provide protective cover for birds in your yard. It may take 2 or 3 years to start seeing the benefits to the birds. But willows grow thickly as bushes and can be pruned into trees as they get larger.

Bushes with berries provide cover and winter food. Visit your local nursery for their expertise in native plants that will grow well in your area.

Trees such as elderberry, choke cherry, hawthorn, and crabapple also provide cover and food.

Until these slower-growing landscaping plants grow, consider adding flowers and shrubs in pots to your yard and porch.

To get more birds to come to your feeders, add landscaping for protective cover and natural foods.

17. Birds stopped coming to your feeders because a predator has moved in

As food for birds starts getting harder to find in winter, birds concentrate around feeders. Then, predators seek out these concentration of birds.

Many predators you will not notice. But the birds will.

Birds often call out and mob a predator in an attempt to drive it away. If you notice jays, crows, or other birds making a racket, then look around for the object of their alarm.

Perhaps neighborhood cats are staking out birds at your feeders. If so, birds may abandon your feeders or, at least, become much more cautious and flighty.

It is possible that a predator will eat several of your feeder birds. One day your favorite bird may have disappeared. Gone.

Two smaller woodland hawks hunt birds at feeders in residential areas during the winter--the jay-sized Sharp-shinned Hawk and the crow-sized Cooper's Hawk. You may notice these hawks perched on your fence and watching your feeders. 

To get birds to come back to your feeder after a hawk has moved in, stop feeding birds for a couple of weeks until the hawk finds a better place to hunt.

18. Birds won't come to your feeders because of your pets or human activity

Even if your pets do not chase birds, the birds themselves may feel unsafe and abandon your feeders.

Even if your pets are out only a short while, the birds will still have some anxiety during that time.

It may seem that birds aren't bothered by your pets. But they will be on high alert, even if they do continue to feed at your feeder.

Are you doing more gardening in your yard?

Are the children playing more outside? 

Are vehicles and visitors coming and going, or do you live on a busy street?

What happens to birds on the feeder during these activities? Do they stay or do they flush off the feeder as a group?

All such disturbances, minor in themselves, add up to make your birds feel anxious and unsafe. Eventually, they may seek a calmer location.

To get birds to come to your feeders, eliminate as many disturbances as you can from your yard. Move your feeders or add a hedge or border to block birds from street noise and disturbances.

19. Birds aren't coming to your feeder because your neighbors have set up a more attractive bird feeder

Generally, birds will make a circuit of the neighborhood, visiting different feeders at different times of day.

Or, they may stay mostly at one neighbor's feeder until they eat all the food or are frightened away. Then they may move on to a neighboring bird feeder for a while.

Eventually, birds will spend most of their time at the bird feeder that is always filled with the food they like, and in the yard that has plenty of trees and bushes to hide in, with minimal disturbance. Is that your yard?

To get birds at your feeder, make your yard and feeder the most enticing yard in the neighborhood.

20. Birds aren't coming to your feeder because your neighborhood does not attract birds

Do you live in a relatively new neighborhood? Does no one have old, well-established, landscaping? Are there no shade trees? No thick hedges or wild areas?

If not, there just may not be many birds in your neighborhood to draw to your feeders.

Your job, then, to get more birds to come to your feeders, is to make your yard an attractive oasis among the tract houses, bare fields, commercial properties, or concrete jungle next door. Plant trees, bushes, flowers. Set up bird baths and fountains. 

It will take some work, but it will be worth it!

You'll love the greenery. It'll make your yard more inviting to yourself and the birds!

21. Your favorite birds aren't coming to your feeder because they've been run off by other "bully" birds that have taken over the feeder.

What is a bully bird?

Basically, it is any bird that hogs the feeder and keeps other birds away from your feeders.

A crow can be a bully bird. A hummingbird can be a bully bird. It just depends.

Some people love jays at their feeder. They are so bold and brash. But others despise them because they eat all the food and chase away the chickadees and goldfinches.

The House Sparrow is more aggressive than other birds and can build into large, messy, noisy flocks.

The largest group of bully birds that people complain about are the blackbirds and starlings. These include Red-winged Blackbirds, Brown-headed Cowbirds, Common Grackles, and others.

To get rid of bully birds and get more of the "nice" birds at your feeders, you will need to change your food and feeders to types that the bully birds do not like.

I have written a guide to getting rid of grackles, starlings, and blackbirds from your yard. I link to this in the related articles section below.

Problems with timing: sometimes the birds aren't around to come to your feeders

Photo of American Goldfinch at thistle plant
American Goldfinch. Greg Gillson.

22. Birds aren't visiting your feeders because they are nesting

Where did my birds go? Birds change their feeder-visiting frequency throughout the seasons. They disappear in spring, or summer, or fall.

Many seed eating birds: chickadees, nuthatches, sparrows, grosbeaks, buntings, and others, stop visiting feeders in early summer. They are off nesting.

The seed-eating birds listed above feed insects to their nestlings and fledglings. The adults are out searching for insects and will not visit your feeders for seeds, not even for themselves.

As a result, you may notice a big drop-off in bird numbers and variety at your feeders in early summer.

This follows a big spring migration which may add many migrant birds to your normal resident birds. As well, winter visitors have migrated northward. Thus, the difference in birds between late spring and the start of summer may be shockingly pronounced.

Paradoxically, the more in tune you are now with birds compared to the past, the more likely you are to notice this for the first time! You are noticing, perhaps for the first time, the natural ebb and flow of birds at your feeder.

Finches, however, especially goldfinches, feed seeds to their young. They also nest later in summer when the thistle seed ripens. So, you may notice mostly goldfinches at your feeder in summer. Not a bad trade-off!

To keep birds visiting your feeders in summer, add a bird bath or water feature.

See my article on how to get birds to use a bird bath, in the related articles section, below.

23. Birds aren't eating at your feeders because there is abundant natural food

Spring brings abundant buds, flowers, and insect life to your neighborhood. Birds eat these.

Summer brings berries and some fruit and continuing insect and bug life. Birds eat these.

Fall provides more fruit, as well as grain and nuts. Birds eat these.

During these times it can be hard to get very many birds to come to your feeders. The variety may drop way down.

Many people stop feeding birds in summer. But you don't have to; some birds will continue to come to your feeders. Just know that some birds will disappear for the season.

And, soon, parent birds will be bringing their young ones to your feeders.

Keep providing birds with food and water in summer and be patient. Birds will come again to your feeders.

I wrote an article on when to stop feeding birds in summer, and if you need to stop. It is in the list at the end of this article.

24. Birds aren't coming to your feeder because they migrated away

Those Chipping Sparrows, White-crowned Sparrows, Golden-crowned Sparrows, White-throated Sparrows, Tree Sparrows, Dark-eyed Juncos, Pine Siskins, Evening Grosbeaks and others that flocked to your feeders all winter, may not visit your feeder in summer. Or, maybe you live farther north and some of these do come to your feeders in summer, but others don't.

Why have your birds disappeared? Some of your winter birds disappear when they migrate north in spring and leave your feeders behind.

The same thing happens in fall. Birds migrate south and find someone else's bird feeder for the winter, perhaps hundreds or thousands of miles away.

Spring and fall will see migrating visitors drop in to your feeders for a day or longer, then move on.

The good news, though, is that your disappearing birds will likely be replaced with others that live farther north or south in summer or winter.

Prepare for the annual turnover of birds coming to your feeder as you witness the amazing spectacle of migration.

25. You don't see birds eating at your feeders because you look at the wrong time of day

Different birds tend to rise and be active at different times of day. But, in general, birds are early risers. 

It is now early July as I write this. We are only one week away from the longest day of sunlight for the year. From my bed I hear birds start to sing about 4:30 am here in western Washington State! When I was in San Diego, sunrise was an hour and a half later! (But longer winter days that far south made up for it.)

Could birds be visiting your feeders before you even rise? Especially in summer this could be true.

Birds tend to rest mid-day. Then they may come back to your feeders in late afternoon.

In fact, you may be surprised to see many hummingbirds sitting peacefully on your feeders together at dusk. They are getting one last drink before bed. They seem to have a truce at this time and don't waste any energy chasing others away.

You will likely see more birds coming to your feeder at dawn and dusk.

Photo of Lesser Goldfinch on bird feeder
Lesser Goldfinch. Greg Gillson.

Related articles

Many of the potential problems above I covered more in-depth in other articles. 

Take a look and see if more information is available following the links below.

Black oil sunflower seeds and white proso millet are the two favorite foods of most birds at feeders. Read what foods are the favorite and what ingredients to avoid.

I wrote a review of Wagner's Songbird Supreme as my favorite choice for mixed bird seed.

Corn can be a cheap bird seed filler that birds don't eat. But some birds do eat it. See what birds eat cracked corn.

Although I caution against feeding birds meat scraps, I do have an article on how and where to set up a suet feeder.

Feeder birds should be fed little or no human food scraps like bread, pasta, or meat. However, I do have recommendations of excellent kitchen scraps to feed birds cheaply.

There are some cases where it may be okay, or even beneficial, to let your bird feeder go empty, briefly. See my article on how often to refill your feeder.

Don't limit yourself to just one feeder or one type of feeder. See my article on 7 types of bird feeders and the birds each type attracts.

Bird baths can really attract birds to your yard. But sometimes birds don't seem to use them. See my article on how to get birds to use your bird bath.

It sometimes takes a little bit of time to get birds to come to a new feeder. For ideas, see may article on how to quickly attract birds to your feeder.

How high should a bird feeder be placed?

Squirrels can be a nuisance at bird feeders. I have several ideas to repel squirrels as well as change the food you offer in order to get rid of squirrels at your feeder.

Do you have problems with bully birds? My article on getting rid of grackles, starlings, and blackbirds from your feeders has several ideas you may try that should work on larger trouble-making birds and flocking House Sparrows.

Where did your birds go? You will notice a big drop-off in the number and variety of birds visiting your feeders in summer. Should you stop feeding birds in summer? If so, when?


  1. I read with great interest online your article 25 Reasons Birds Aren't Coming To Your Feeder.

    Also, speaking of birds, let me preface this by saying I love birds. I do a lot of bird watching up here in Northern Michigan.
    Cats? I don't love cats quite so much. Lol. On the slightly irreverent side, here's a song I wrote entitled Windows & Cats.....

    Keep up the good work.


    George Peter Block, Jr.

    1. Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment, George.

  2. This post is so helpful! I just recently put up a new feeder. No birds have stopped by yet. I think I may need different seed mix. Thanks for all your tips!

    1. Patience!

      Give it another week. If you don't see results, then it may be time to consider different seed.

      I really like the Wagner's Songbird Supreme.

  3. I live an apartment and I have placed a new vertical bird feeder (wooden with glass with a base) which got extended base perch and fresh seed tray. It's been 3 days and birds aren't coming to the feeder. I kept a DIY water (used one gallon milk plastic cutout to keep water) along with it at the same time I hung the bird feeder. Strangely, birds came to eat rice I kept on the wall long time ago but I haven't noticed birds eating from the feeder. Also, the birds eat from another apartment same floor in out complex.;). I don't know what I am doing wrong as the bird food I selected are Sunflower chips, Peanut pieces, grain products and millet sold by Nature's Song.

    1. 3 days isn't long enough to worry, Phani. Give it some more time. Perhaps scatter some seed in the open near your feeder where birds can see it--just to get them started.

  4. Hey Greg, thank you for responding. I saw 2 birds finally coming to eat some seeds this afternoon which is strange.
    I hope you know how's the weather here in WA. ;) They looked like sparrows in India. Hoping to see more birds soon.

    1. Probably House Sparrows and House Finches will be the first to visit.

  5. Is it possible that birds stop coming to a feeder because the area where the feeder is has been newly landscaped or they have see more activity there from me planting etc.????

    1. It is possible. However, winter is ending, and some birds may be migrating away. Local birds may be more interested in mating activities, and more natural foods may be available now.

  6. Wonderful article. Thanks for sharing!

  7. There is a small garden and a tree where I'd setup a bird feeder but i've noticed birds don't want to visit. I also changed the feeder and the seeds but still no luck whereas my neighbor who has a big lawn than mine has the same feeder and the birds queue up there. My observation of birds not coming could be
    1. The feeder is hung in the tree which is right outside the window of my bedroom and the upper floor and the birds might feel insecure
    2. The tree is close to the wall which has electric fence
    Will appreciate if you could help me solve this, Thanks!

    1. I recommend patience. It is summer and parent birds are feeding their young insects (except for goldfinches, which feed their young seeds). Try adding water to your bird feeder setup.

      In a month more and more birds will feed at a feeder, as natural foods disappear.

  8. I just moved to Longmont Colorado. I’ve set up a feeding system that should attract a variety of birds.(set up about 4 days ago) But nothing. I hear blue jays, but they don’t visit my feeder. I have put out peanuts in the shell, but they still don’t come. Bark butter, black oil sunflower seeds, no mess variety, etc. My backyard is fully fenced with several trees around the edges. I have a water bath too. The weird thing is, I don’t really hear any bird song besides the blue jays. Is it the time of year? Are there no birds in the neighborhood? It’s so strange. I used to live in Indiana and it was an effort to keep the feeders full. Birds were there all day, all year long. I really expected to find more birds in Colorado since I’m more in the country. If you have any ideas or suggestions, I’m all ears!

    1. No, I think it is just the time of year. In a few weeks you'll start getting winter birds down from the north.

  9. Hello Greg! Thanks for the amazing article. Very helpful for me, yet I still have a situation I’d like to solve if poss. I have placed a birdfeeder on my second floor apartment window. Unfortunately there aren’t any perching areas or bushes at that height. I’m trying to figure out how to attract birds to the feeder so that they feel safe. I could perhaps add a perch or two outside my window. Any thoughts on that?

    1. I think the feeder will be sufficient. But I think it's probably going to take some time to attract the first birds to such an isolated feeder. But it can be done with patience!

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  11. Very educational. My mother lives on the 17 floor in the building. She noticed that pigeons are often visiting her window and sitting on the window ledge. We decided to install a bird feeder, connected it to the balcony on the outside edge, purchased the best bird food( mix). No birds ever came to the feeder. Its been a moth already. What is it that we did wrong?

    1. That's a long way up! I think birds may need some other feeders between any nearby trees and bushes and your elevated position! But keep trying. It may yet work.


January 2023: Thank you so much for visiting! I am working on a YouTube channel on birds and bird watching. Check it out here:


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