how long until birds find feeder

How Long Until Birds Find Feeder


Bird feeders are more than just a decoration; they’re a way to invite feathered friends into your yard and create an environment where you can observe them up close. If you’re new to bird feeding, patience is crucial. Some birds might discover your feeder within hours, while others may take several months, depending on various factors.

Time for Birds to Find a Feeder

There is no exact time frame for when birds will discover a new feeder. This can range from a few hours to several months. Factors such as visibility, multiple perches, feeder capacity, and durability can impact this.

Factors Affecting Bird Feeder Discovery

  • Visibility: The feeder should be easily seen from a bird’s perspective. If it’s hidden, the chances of attracting birds reduce significantly.
  • Multiple Perches: More perches mean more birds can feed simultaneously, attracting a larger number.
  • Feeder Capacity: The size of the feeder is also important. Larger feeders can accommodate more and different bird species.
  • Durability: Ensure the feeder is pest-resistant and not easily damaged. Birds are more likely to visit safe and stable feeders.

How Birds Find Feeders

Birds primarily rely on sight and sound to locate feeders. They have sharp eyesight and can recognize bird feeders as a potential food source. Furthermore, the sound of water droplets can also attract them, as birds are always on the lookout for water sources.

Adding a New Bird Feeder

If you plan to add a new bird feeder, consider the following tips:

  • Choose a visible location for easy discovery.
  • Consider placing feeders near bushes and foliage, as they offer a sense of security for some bird species.
  • Gradually move a new feeder away from existing ones to reduce crowding.
  • Install feeders that attract specific types of birds to increase diversity.

Troubleshooting Bird Feeders

If you’re experiencing problems attracting birds to your feeders, consider the following:

Based on various species, the general time frame for birds to find a feeder ranges from 8 to 10 days. This includes species like Black-capped Chickadees, Northern Cardinals, Dark-eyed Juncos, House Sparrows, White-breasted Nuthatches, Blue Jays, House Finches, Mourning Doves, American Goldfinches, and Downy Woodpeckers.

Common queries about bird feeders include:

  1. Where is the best place to put a bird feeder?
  2. How long does it take birds to find a feeder?
  3. Do birds tell each other where food is?
  4. Can birds smell bird food?
  5. What’s the best color for a bird feeder?
  6. Why won’t birds come to my new feeder?
  7. How do birds know I filled the feeder?
  8. Do birds visit feeders in the rain?
  9. Which bird feeder attracts most birds?

Additional Factors Affecting Bird Feeder Discovery

  1. Species: Different bird species have varying levels of trust and reliance on feeders.
  2. Time of Year: Certain seasons can make it more challenging to attract birds to a new feeder.
  3. Your Yard Setup: The placement of your feeder matters.
  4. Your Neighbors: If your neighbors have established bird feeder locations, it may be more challenging to attract birds to your new feeder.

Tips for Attracting Birds to a Feeder

  1. Set up multiple feeders with different seeds to cater to various bird species’ preferences.
  2. Always keep your feeder/s full to establish your garden as a reliable food source for birds.
  3. Keep your feeder/s clean for hygienic reasons and to avoid scaring off birds with dirt.
  4. Leave out signs of seeds on top of your feeder and the ground around it to increase visibility.
  5. Provide water and shelter by installing nest boxes, perches, and a bird bath with a fountain to attract more birds to your yard.

Important Considerations

When attempting to attract birds to your feeder, remember to consider the following:

  1. Feeder placement and accessibility.
  2. Environmental factors such as landscape, habitat, and weather conditions.
  3. Type of feeder and food offered.
  4. Bird species and their individual feeding habits.
  5. Noise level and presence of predators.
  6. Seasonal changes and migration patterns.

Attracting Birds Quickly

To attract birds to your feeder more quickly, consider these tips:

  1. Offer a variety of seeds and nuts.
  2. Regularly clean and refill the feeder with fresh seeds.
  3. Place the feeder in a safe and visible spot, not too close to trees or bushes.
  4. Provide a water source close to the feeding station.
  5. Avoid using pesticides and chemicals in your lawn.
  6. Plant bird-friendly landscapes with native plants.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Where is the best place to put a bird feeder?

The best place for a bird feeder is near shrubs or trees, providing cover for birds against predators. However, the feeder should also be at a safe distance from the foliage to prevent squirrels or other animals from accessing it.

2. How long does it take birds to find a feeder?

It varies greatly based on numerous factors such as feeder visibility, the variety of food offered, and the type of birds you’re attempting to attract. On average, it can take anywhere from a few days to several weeks.

3. Do birds tell each other where food is?

Yes, many bird species do communicate with each other about food sources. For instance, chickadees have specific calls to alert others about food availability.

4. Can birds smell bird food?

Most birds have a weak sense of smell and primarily rely on their excellent vision to find food.

5. What’s the best color for a bird feeder?

Birds are attracted to bright colors. Feeders in reds, yellows, and oranges often attract birds because these colors signal ripe fruit or flowers. However, the best color can depend on the specific species you’re trying to attract.

6. Why won’t birds come to my new feeder?

Birds are creatures of habit, so it might take them a while to notice and trust a new feeder. If your feeder is consistently stocked and in a safe, visible location, birds will eventually come.

7. How do birds know I filled the feeder?

Birds use their keen eyesight to spot filled feeders. Some may also learn to associate your presence near the feeder with food availability.

8. Do birds visit feeders in the rain?

Some birds will visit feeders in light rain, but heavy rain might discourage them. Make sure your feeder provides some cover to protect seeds from getting wet.

9. Which bird feeder attracts most birds?

The type of feeder that attracts the most birds will depend on the species prevalent in your area. However, tube feeders filled with black oil sunflower seeds tend to attract a wide variety of bird species.


Attracting birds to a new feeder is a process that requires both time and patience. Understanding the habits of your local bird species, as well as optimizing the placement and content of your feeder, can significantly speed up this process.

Remember, one of the most important factors is ensuring the feeder is consistently filled with fresh food. A reliable food source will inevitably attract birds over time. By considering the tips and factors outlined above, you’ll be well-equipped to make your yard a haven for birds. Enjoy the avian symphony!

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