Whether you’re brand new to feeding birds or have been feeding for the past 20 years, there’s nothing more disappointing than a completely empty bird feeder, especially when you know there are birds all around. While there are occasionally natural explanations for why birds are avoiding your feeder (for example, they migrated for the winter), there are also many common mistakes people make that keep birds away.
Birds don’t feel safe at your feeders
Birds are notoriously antsy creatures who are overly cautious and if they perceive any danger around a bird feeder, they will avoid it. To maximize their feeling of safety, place the feeder away from trees where predators can stalk and put up baffles to keep animals out. If your cat is constantly sneaking around your yard, birds will not put themselves in harms way.
Your feeders are empty
This one seems pretty obvious, but during certain times of the year, your feeder is more likely to become empty faster. If you are consistently forgetting to add more seed to your feeder, birds will learn to pass up your feeders. A good way to keep them full is to get one with larger capacities or give yourself weekly reminders.
Your feeder is messy
Messiness is typically not something that keeps birds away, but it attracts the wrong types. Pigeons will really flock to areas with seed spread all over the place and rats will also take up residence. The presence of these two animals will keep away the more desired birds.
You only have one type of bird feeder
Although it’s possible to attract birds with only one type of feeder, it will limit the diversity of birds you’ll attract and in some areas where there are more suet eaters, you might see fewer birds in your yard. Use a variety of designs to attract the maximum number of birds.
Using cheap birdseed with too much filler food
I recently wrote about how birds can recognize (and ultimately despise) cheap birdseed because it’s filled with corn and millet, which many birds simply don’t like. If you’re using really cheap mixed-seed bargain bags, they will ditch your feeder and find another place to snack.
Old or improperly stored birdseed
Just like nearly any food you have at your house, birdseed eventually becomes stale and old, especially when stored improperly. If you leave an open bag of seed in your garage, it’ll leave it susceptible to mice and other critters. You want to keep it in a tightly sealed container in a dry room, so it doesn’t lose its nutritional value. Birds are intelligent, and they will usually know the difference.