Are you struggling to get birds to eat from the bird feeders in your backyard? Many people don’t realize they’re making mistakes that are drawing away birds rather than attracting them.
If you’re trying to feed the birds in your yard but you’re not having any luck, keep reading our guide. We’ll go over seven of the most common mistakes that can negatively impact your backyard bird feeding.
1. No Source of Water
Birds like to have access to fresh water when they’re eating and near their nests. If you don’t live by any natural bodies of water, you should consider building a water feature in your backyard or getting a birdbath or fountain. A source of clean water will easily attract birds and other wildlife to your yard.
If you live somewhere where the winters get cold, you should consider getting a heated birdbath to offer a source of water that won’t freeze.
2. Only Using One Type of Bird Feeder
If you’re hoping to feed different types of birds, you’re going to want different types of bird feeders too! Different birds have different diets and some feeders will only hold specific foods. Some birds will also have a preference in the style of feeder.
For example, hummingbirds need nectar feeders, goldfinches prefer mesh socks as feeders, and woodpeckers use suet feeders. Other species of birds have preferences, so providing a variety of options will attract more birds to your backyard.
If you’re trying to figure out how to set up an efficient bird feeding station for a variety of species of birds, take a look at this guide from Nature Niche. Their article will teach you the secrets of backyard bird feeding success once you know what mistakes to avoid.
3. Offering Bad Quality Bird Food
It may be tempting to buy cheap bird food in bulk, but you’re wasting your effort and money that way. Cheap bird food is loaded with fillers that birds don’t care for, such as wheat, oats, cracked corn, and milo. These ingredients won’t appeal to most species of birds and will end up as a mess in your yard.
If you’re looking to save money feeding your backyard birds, you can do some research about what types of birds you want to feed and the best foods to attract them. This way, you won’t end up with wasted food and you’re more likely to get the visitors that you want.
It’s very important to note that you should not offer only bread to birds. Bread isn’t healthy for birds, and while they may seem to enjoy it, it’s not an adequate diet. Also, make sure that you properly store your bird food to keep it fresh and to avoid unwanted pests.
4. Not Cleaning Your Bird Feeders
When was the last time you cleaned your bird feeder? If you’re struggling to remember, that might be why you’re not having a lot of success with your backyard bird feeding.
Regularly cleaning your bird feeders will prevent harmful bacteria from growing inside and will keep your winged friends healthy and happy.
Bird feeders should be cleaned about once a week using nine parts hot water to one part bleach. If it’s raining or snowing outside, you’ll want to clean your feeder to remove wet bird food as soon as possible.
5. Not Feeding the Birds During Winter
Many people assume that birds are gone during the winter and put away their bird feeders or leave them empty. However, during the winter, your backyard might be the best place for birds to nest if you’ve left a stocked bird feeder and a source of water.
Because of the snow that covers everything and kills most insects, natural food for birds is very scarce. Winter temperatures can cause water sources to freeze up, which makes it difficult for birds to find a drink.
By providing calorie-rich bird foods and even a heated birdbath, you’ll not only attract birds but you may be keeping them alive during this difficult season. So instead of putting away your bird feeders, houses, and baths this winter, leave them to keep feeding your backyard birds.
6. Not Offering Shelter
Birds are more likely to eat at your bird feeders when there’s a safe form of shelter nearby. If you have bird feeders out, you should consider having birdhouses set up so that your flighted friends can have a safe space in case of bad weather or predators.
While birdhouses are cute and do their job well, dense shrubbery and trees can provide good homes for birds too. If your yard doesn’t have natural shelter for birds, you should probably get a birdhouse just to be safe.
Once you have a birdhouse or a good nesting spot, birds are likely to stay and mate for the season. Then you’ll always have birds to feed because they’ll stick around, and they’ll likely come back for the next season.
7. Not Protecting Your Bird Feeders
Birds are not the only critters interested in your bird feeders. Squirrels, rats, raccoons, deer, and even bears will enjoy eating from your bird feeder; unfortunately, they’ll eat all of the birdseed and possibly break the feeder in the process.
Birds are also going to avoid your feeder if there are other animals at it, especially predators. If it’s possible, try to keep your bird feeders away from trees or invest in a squirrel-proof bird feeder pole to keep your bird feeder free of unwanted guests.
Improve Your Backyard Bird Feeding
These are the most common mistakes that people make when they’re trying to feed birds. Hopefully, if you’re struggling to attract birds to your yard, this guide will help you resolve any issues and improve your backyard bird feeding experience.
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