Sometimes birds really will flock to a new feeder within minutes, whilst for others, it can take significantly longer for feeding to become established. Here are a few tips for you to get feeding.
If you've already got established bird feeding in your garden then add the new feeder to the same area. A variety of feeders will invite a variety of species to your garden, although some species do prefer quiet spots so you may need to introduce different feeding stations. If you've added your feeder to an existing feeding area and the birds aren't yet using it then experiment with taking the other feeders down short term, leaving the birds with less choice. As they become used to the new bird feeder you can reintroduce the others back to the area.
For more information on the different kind of feeders you could offer, check our blog post out on this subject here.
If you're introducing a bird feeder for the first time then think about location. Try to put your feeder in close proximity to a bush, hedge or tree if possible, where birds can wait and suss out their flightpath and safety before visiting the feeder.
In the early days, it's best not to put too much food in your bird feeder until you're confident that feeding is established. Check the food every few days to make sure it hasn't become moldy and keep it refreshed with fresh seeds which will increase your likelihood of success.
Providing water is another important step you can take for the wildlife in your garden and a Bird Bath placed near your feeding station might help birds spot the new feeding place in town. Place a Bird Bath nearby but not so close that seed mess will end up making it dirty.
You can also do things like spreading the seed on top of the feeder, short term, to draw more attention, like a menu board outside a restaurant! You can even do this with the peanut feeder, putting some seed on top to establish feeding.
Ensure you store your birdseed in a cool, dark place to keep it in good condition for the birds and check ingredients carefully, sadly the cheapest bird seeds are often cheap for a reason and can end up being harmful to the very birds we are trying to look after.
If you're still not seeing a busy bird feeder then double check your seed levels, it might be that they've visited whilst you weren't looking. There could also be a series of other factors involved, an abundance of natural food nearby, depending on seasons, number of neighbours also offering food, time of year, predators around who might be offputting for the birds, such as the neighbourhood cat.
There are so many factors involved in establishing feeding that it is impossible to have a hard and fast rule, however patience will be rewarded in the end as the birds start to use your new bird feeder and you get to enjoy regular visits from all sorts of species.