Top 10 Tips to Attract Birds to Your Feeders

Try these tried-and-true ways to attracting birds to your birdfeeders.

1. Maintain a four-season habitat. Once you attract birds, don’t stop there. Make your yard a neighborhood hub by providing food, shelter and water year-round, even when the weather is warm.

2. Create a comfort zone. Birds like cover, especially near feeders, so plant evergreen trees, bushes, vines or ground covers nearby.

3. Leave a little garden debris in winter. Instead of doing a thorough cleanup in the fall, let the birds enjoy the seedpods, leaf piles, dropped fruit and other natural materials that usually get cleared away weeks earlier.

4. Choose garden plants that make a hearty meal. Seed- and berry-bearing plants will attract hungry birds to your yard. Select plants that peak at different times of year for a long-lasting backyard buffet.

5. Supplement nature’s bounty with a variety of foods. Feeders full of seeds, suet and fruit will delight your winged guests. Also, consider hanging different styles of feeders around your garden to boost the appeal.

6. Go nuts! Chickadees, nuthatches, brown creepers and woodpeckers all love peanut pieces. Mix them with seed, or hang a special peanut feeder to attract extra attention. Peanuts in the shell are favorites of blue jays. Watch for fussy jays to pick up several peanuts before choosing just the right one.

7. Add water to your landscape. A clean bird is a comfy bird. If your area experiences winter freezes, switch to an electric or solar heater to warm up your birdbath so birds can stay tidy and have a drink on icy days.

8. Garden green. Once you commit to attracting birds to your backyard, take an eco-friendly approach to garden care by avoiding toxic chemicals. Choose products that are safe for the creatures you’ll host.

9. Keep track of your visitors. By observing their comings and goings over the seasons, you’ll know what birds to expect and when. You’ll also learn about the habits of each of the visiting species. Go one step further by joining a program such as Project FeederWatch, where you’ll report your sightings to ornithologists who record bird trends across North America.

10. Get your neighbors involved. Expand birds’ local habitat by inviting your neighbors to participate. With additional space, perches and food available, you’re sure to welcome more birds to your area.

  1. Vivian says

    I was surprised to see an article suggesting that sparrows be invited to our feeders. I have spent many dollars trying to find ways to PREVENT them from coming to our feeders. Have tried all the gizmos designed to frighten them away. They run other birds off and scratch seed out of the feeder so it will fall to the ground where they and their friends are more comfortable eating it. I only use safflower seed, and even though sources say they don’t like it, believe me, they do. Perhaps I will see a hint in the item about bullying birds.

    • Dan says

      House sparrows are the only bad sparrow in the USA. Those are native song sparrows you see in the picture, and I’ve never seen them on a feeder at my place. I throw millet on the ground for them. The hanging feeders have sunflower and suet, and the sparrows never bother them.

      • Donna says

        I agree, Dan! My sparrows, that look like the ones in the picture, follow the cardinals, chickadees, and titmice to the tree near the feeders. They are waiting on those other birds to knock seeds to the ground. I have never, ever seen one on my feeders and I have a variety of different ones.

    • Barbra says

      There are house sparrows, and there are other, good sparrows. Those pictured are some of the good ones, although they usually feed on the ground.

    • Jeff says

      Preventing English (house) sparrows from feeding at your feeders shouldn’t be your biggest challenge. Fancy birdhouses with large openings that become house sparrow incubators is where the prevention needs to start. If people would stop these sparrows from multiplying so readily we might just control their burgeoning population.

  2. Dee J says

    I really just began this winter with the horrible ice landscape we have had and I have a herd coming to eat now and one squirrel. I have 2 bird feeders, one suet, 1 finch hanger, 2 bells.
    I couldn’t get bells or even bags of food so I had to order it online at one point. Every store was SOLD out. They tried to reorder and the warehouse crossed it off. So I assume my entire town was feeding them.

  3. says

    I live on a high ground and have a variety of birds at my feeders because I feed them seed, fruit and suet at various kinds of feeders. I did this at my last house too..this is our new house and I have not had any Cardinals or Blue Jays in over two years and I just cannot figure out Why??? Can you possibly give me some ideas???? I love your magazines which I subscribe to and also your website…keep up the great work you do for the birds and wildlife. Thank you for your time and consideration. Sincerely, Bonnie from PA

  4. KP says

    Every year after Christmas, we take our Christmas tree and prop it up against a tree in our backyard to give the birds a little more shelter. My husband deposits seed and dried bread crumbs on the branches, which the birds and squirrels love to hunt out. When all the needles have turned brown in the spring, we set it out for the community to pick up and add to their composting program.

    • kilian says

      we do the same thing! it worked great, especially this winter, to block the wind and give the birds somewhere to perch.

  5. Karen Woodward says

    I don’t practice backyard ethnic cleansing. All of Nature is welcome in my yard and to my feeders and I consider it an honor to share what I have with them. After all, it is I who am trespassing on what is their rightful home. I am not concerned with those who eat too much or Squirrels getting their fill because when I give back to Nature, the Great Mother will make sure that I have more than enough to share and the funds will always be on hand for feed and shelter. But then, I am a Witch and living in harmony with Nature is my way. Be grateful for what you have, always give back to Nature and you will want for nothing.

    • Elaine Wojciechowski says

      Save your seeds from your fruit and vegies and feed them to the birds. Nut and berries are another idea.

  6. Bette says

    Was very fortunate this year to have about 20 bluebirds come thru and decide to stay. I made my own food with mealworms, peanut butter, corn meal and rendered fat. They absolutely loved it. they left last week and ill miss them.l

  7. Lisa says

    I do All of the above :) I have been logging since day one…Who comes,stays,who goes and how many babies are born.I do this with all of My wildlife friends that come to My yard to feed,drink and rest! <3 Love My wildlife!! <3

  8. says

    I have a open feeder and every day there is at least 40 or more sparrows at my feeder. Some larger then others but since they have been coming the chickadees and titmice barely come they still do but just drop in and off again. I love feeding all that come to feed even the squirrels. I love watching watching the birds from our dinning room window. I have feeders in three places in our yard one in front, side and back of house. That way gives all a chance to get there fill. I have been logging for five yrs now and keeping track of all the Migrating birds that come and we also have chickadees and blue birds that raise their babies every yr. What a Joy :)

  9. Debi says

    I live on 2nd floor apt in Florida is it possible to attract the birds if i place a feeder? Would I need to do anything else? Thank you


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