8 Ideas for Attracting and Feeding Birds in Spring

Updated: Feb. 22, 2021

Attract more species to visit your feeders during migration season. Follow these proven tips for feeding birds in spring from fellow backyard birders.

Our editors and experts handpick every product we feature. We may earn a commission from your purchases.

Red headed woodpecker feeds on suetCourtesy Meg Kolodick
Red-headed woodpecker at a suet feeder

Spring migration is an exciting time for backyard birdwatchers. You just never know which species will stop by your feeders for a visit each day. Birds & Blooms readers shared their best tips for feeding birds in spring, from bluebirds to orioles. So fill up those bird feeders, grab your binoculars and get ready to be amazed. Follow these tips to feed birds all year long.

Fill Suet Feeders

“I hang a suet cage at the edge of our yard. This attracts suet-eating spring birds like woodpeckers,” says Diane Gratton of Knowlton, Quebec. Psst—look for pine warblers at suet feeders.

orange feeder for oriolesCourtesy Spencer Lingenfelter
Baltimore oriole eating oranges at a feeder

Put Out Orange Slices for Orioles

Cathy Sell of Imler, Pennsylvania, feeds orioles in spring with oranges. She says, “When I see Baltimore orioles around my hummingbird feeders in spring, I put out orange slices. They eat all the way down to the peels. At one point last year, I had four mating pairs visit.” Learn how to attract orioles to your yard.

Help Ground-Feeding Birds

“When worms are scarce in early spring, I leave pieces of suet on the ground for the American robins. They feed on the suet until the weather warms up,” says Phyllis Schabacker of Fountain City, Wisconsin. Robins also love to feed on berry bushes.

Male Goldfinch Thistle FeederTony Campbell/Shutterstoc
Male goldfinch on a thistle feeder

Attract Finches with Thistle Seed

“To attract goldfinches, I use a large cheesecloth bag and fill it with thistle seed. I hang it from a wire fence in my backyard and watch the finches flock to it,” says Marguerite Debnam of Greensboro, North Carolina.

Julie Purdy of Hopewell, New York says, “It’s fun to watch goldfinches’ brown winter feathers being replaced with yellow.”

Here’s how to choose the best thistle feeders.

Serve Grape Jelly

Grape jelly will also attract spring birds, including orioles. “My bird feeding secret is grape jelly,” says Julie Oines of Beresford, South Dakota. “My friend’s father made me a special feeder to feed orioles.”

“I supply grape jelly in large quantities. My oriole feeder has a protective roof and a deep plastic dish for holding heaping servings of jelly,” says Roland Jordahl of Pelican Rapids, Michigan.

Get more tips on feeding jelly to orioles and tanagers.

Bnbbyc18 Perry HoagCourtesy Perry Hoag
Male bluebird feeds mealworms to a juvenile

Share Live Mealworms for Bluebirds

Mealworms are a great food source for parents to feed baby birds in spring,” says Megan Long of Red Wing, Minnesota.

“Buy live mealworms from a local bait shop and set a few on a tray feeder. The bluebird parents will snatch the mealworms up and take them to their chicks,” says Jerilyn Veltus of Nellsville, Wisconsin.

Here’s our guide to feeding mealworms to birds.

Offer Peanuts to Blue Jays

Matt Jabs of DeForest, Wisconsin, says, “I have two words for attracting and feeding spring birds: crushed peanuts.” Blue jays and woodpeckers love them. Here’s how to attract more backyard birds by feeding peanuts.

The More Feeders, the Merrier

Brian Hoblit of Laura, Ohio, puts up multiple sugar water feeders and grape jelly cups. “When the birds finally arrive, you’ll be able to feed more of them.”

Next, check out the 10 types of bird feeders you need in your backyard.