When you’ve invested time and money into feeding the birds, of course you want them to keep coming back. Afterall, one of the best reasons to feed the birds is to enjoy the experience of watching them! That’s why we’ve compiled these simple tips to help you attract more birds to your yard and encourage return visits for years to come. After you’ve taken these steps, you can sit back and enjoy the sights and sounds of your feathered friends.
1. Target the Birds You Want to Attract
Not every backyard bird has the same preferences. Do some research to find out which species are most common in your area so you can cater to their tastes and incorporate their favorite food into your feeding routine. Insect eaters? Try mealworms. Finches? Serve Nyjer. Want variety? Use mixed seed or black-oil-sunflower seed. Different types of food often require a specific type of feeder, so select a feeder accordingly.
Also keep in mind the sizes of the birds visiting your backyard. Larger birds, such as Northern Cardinals and Blue Jays often have trouble dining from feeders with small perches. Choose feeders that will accommodate a variety of sizes, like our Flexports® bird feeders which utilize ladder-style or multi-height perches to fit both large and small birds. This helps to ensure that your favorite species of all sizes will be able to come and feed, making repeat visits to your yard more likely.
2. Fend Off Unwanted Critters
Competition from other critters at feeders can easily scare off birds. Squirrels, of course, are one of the most common non-bird visitors at feeders. There are a few things you can do to ward off squirrels at your feeding stations. One of the most obvious options is to invest in squirrel proof bird feeders.
These types of feeders often use metal construction to prevent shewing, as well as weight-activated perches or cages, locking lids, and other design elements to keep squirrels from accessing the seed supply. Innovations like our Flexports® are also four times more shake resistant, so squirrels can’t easily shake seeds onto the ground below. You can also add accessories like baffles to your existing feeders to give them more protection.
Carefully choosing the location of your feeder is another great way to thwart squirrels and other seed thieves. Hang feeders several feet off the ground and at least 10 feet away from trees, fences, and other objects that squirrels can launch from.
Even when you choose a squirrel proof feeder, placement is key! If you have a feeder with weight-activated perches, hang the feeder with at least 18 inches of clearance on all sides so squirrels can’t easily reach the ports without activating the Seed Shield.
3. Help Birds Feel Safe
With many feeders, birds have to reach their head into the port to pull seeds out. This action makes them vulnerable to predators, so birds often quickly come and go. Feeders that offer seed trays or Flexports® prevent birds from having to do this. By allowing birds to feed from a more natural position outside of the tube, birds feel more comfortable and can more easily spot predators. When birds feel safe and comfortable, they are not only more likely to revisit your yard, but also hang out for a while each time they do. This means more bird watching time for you!
You can also make birds feel safer by providing adequate protective cover throughout your yard. Shrubs and trees give birds a shelter to flee to when needed. Consider planting a few options that will last through will last through the winter months as well, such as evergreens, so non-migratory birds will have year-round protection.
4. Provide Food Year-Round
Many people assume that it isn’t necessary to continue feeding birds in the winter because fewer birds are present. However, in many ways, feeding birds is even more important during the winter months. During extreme temperatures, birds need more energy than usual to thrive. Winter is also the time of year when birds’ natural food sources are scarce. By keeping your feeders up in winter, you can help sustain birds through harsh weather conditions.
5. Make Sure Seed is Stocked and Fresh
The great way to encourage repeat visits and attract a variety of birds each season is by making sure your feeders are always well stocked. If a bird consistently shows up to find empty feeders, they may stop visiting altogether. No one likes an unreliable food source. Check your feeders before peak feeding times to ensure there’s plenty of seed to go around. If you typically have a lot of bird activity, invest in a large capacity bird feeder.
In addition to making sure you have enough seed, it’s also important that it’s fresh. You should replace seed if it becomes wet and clumped together as wet seed can quickly become moldy. Luckily, these days many feeders come with design features to prevent soggy seed. Drainage holes and overhanging lids can all help you avoid wet seed. Also, our patented Flexports® provide additional weather resistance compared to standard ports.
6. Keep Feeders Clean
Birds prefer to visit fresh, clean feeding stations – just like us. After all, would you want to return to a restaurant that served spoiled food or used dirty dishes? Dirty feeders can become clogged easily or even transmit diseases. So, not only are your feathered friends more likely to eat from clean feeders, it’s healthier for them as well.
If you want to keep enjoying birds’ visits, it’s important to regularly clean your feeders. Use a mild soap and water solution or weak bleach and water solution to clean your seed feeders every few weeks (more often in summer). Whenever you clean your feeders you should discard any leftover seed.
Want to Learn More?
At Perky-Pet® we love learning about backyard birds and sharing our knowledge with likeminded birding enthusiasts. Want to join in on the fun? Share your pictures, stories, and advice with us on Facebook or our Birding Community. You can also subscribe to our e-newsletter to stay up to date with our birding advice, new products, and exclusive offers.