Even if you aren’t a birdwatcher, it can be relaxing and entertaining to see a flock of feathered friends frolicking in your garden. Unfortunately, wild birds can be picky, and sometimes making one little change can result in them no longer coming to your bird feeder. If birds have stopped coming to your feeder, here are a few possible reasons why — and what you should do to encourage them to come back this season.
Birds Don’t Feel Safe
If birds feel safe, they’ll come to your feeder, but if they don’t, they won’t. Here are some factors to consider:
- Do you see no birds, or only certain types such as blue jays? Some species of birds are timid and get scared away by larger and more aggressive birds.
- Is the birdhouse located near bushes, trees, and other foliage? If birds don’t have sufficient cover, they might not approach the feeder due to fear of predators.
- Do you have a cat or dog that is frequently outside? Birds visiting your garden are always on the lookout for possible predators, so Fluffy or Fido might be scaring birds away. Keep cats indoors, and don’t walk your dog through the garden area if possible.
- Have squirrels taken over your bird feeder? Many squirrels love to steal bird food. Keep them away by installing squirrel prevention devices on the birdhouse pole and put out food that squirrels are not attracted to (such as safflower seed and nectar).
They’ve Found Better Food
The quality of bird seed that you put out matters. If your neighbors have tastier bird seed, or the birds are finding sufficient natural food sources elsewhere, they won’t visit your yard. Bird feeding isn’t an exact science, but there are certain foods that many birds like more than others. Here are some good food suggestions to attract all types of garden birds:
- Black oil sunflower seeds
- High-quality suet
- White proso millet
- Safflower seeds
Don’t put out food scraps to feed birds. Stick to natural foods only since food waste tends to attract larger, more aggressive birds that scare away smaller and shyer ones. Food waste also can result in a squirrel problem, which is the last thing you want!
You Don’t Have a Birdbath
Without a birdbath or other water elements, such as a flat wall fountain, birds can’t get a drink or bath before and after their meal. Seeds are salty, so let the birds have a chance to enjoy a drink and relax. You’d be surprised how much of a difference the right birdbath or fountain makes!
It’s the Wrong Season
Sometimes, visiting birds suddenly disappear from your yard because they have other places to be. House sparrows, buntings, chickadees, and other common seed-eating birds often vanish in early summer because they’re nesting. During this time of year, they spend most of their time finding food for their young fledglings, so they won’t visit your feeder for a meal. Some migratory birds will also begin leaving in the early or mid-fall before the winter chill sets in.
Improve Your Outdoor Space!
At Garden Fountains and Outdoor Decor, we stock a wide variety of fountains, birdbaths, and other elements that birds will love. Get started improving your outdoor space today, or read more about the history of fountains in our article about the legend of the oil fountain. We hope to hear from you soon!