Birds are creatures of habit and once they have found a reliable feeding source, they usually do not go looking for a new one. Be patient – it can take anywhere from a couple of days to a couple of months to get birds to start visiting a new feeder. It can take longer for birds to adapt to a caged feeder, or one where they have to access the food from a less visible opening. Watch for the chickadees. Those brave little birds are often the first ones to start visiting, and once the other birds see the chickadees eating they’ll be quick to join them.
- If your birds are using an old feeder, place the new feeder as close as possible to the old feeder. This will allow the birds to get to know the new feeder while still feeding at their regular spot. After a week, let the old feeder run empty and remove it. This will force the birds to try the new feeder. Once they start using the new feeder, you can bring the old feeder back or move one of the feeders to a new location.
- Make sure you’re offering top quality food. Sunflower Hearts are a great food to start drawing the birds in because it’s tasty and easy to eat. Most seed eating birds like it.
- Is the seed fresh? If the seed has not been eaten after several days, it may have become moldy or attracted insects and is thus less desirable to the birds. Feeder Fresh is a great product to keep seed from clumping and molding in tube feeders.
- Make sure that you’re using the right type of food for the new feeder.
- Advertise the new feeder!
- If the feeder has a seed tray, place seed in the tray or scatter seed on the ground below the feeder.
- Put a dab of peanut butter or Miracle Crumble onto the feeder or tray; this sometimes will lure them to the new feeder.
- “Glue” a sample of what’s in the feeder to the top of it with some peanut butter or a paste of flour and water. That’s a great way to let birds know there is something tasty inside!
- Try the ladder method – place a stepladder near the new feeder and put some feed on the lowest rung. As the birds start taking the seed off the lower rung, gradually start putting the seed on higher rungs until it’s level with the feeder. As soon as you see the birds on the feeder, take the ladder away.
If you’re like me, it’s hard to wait for the birds to start using a new feeder. Just be patient. Eventually their appetites for delicious treats will win out over their cautious natures and they’ll be dining happily at your new feeder.
Make every day a happy bird day!