Top 12 Tips to Attract Birds to Your Feeders

Want to feed more bird species in your backyard? Follow these tried-and-true ways to learn how to attract birds to feeders.

Offer a Variety of Foods to Attract Birds to Feeders

Feeders full of seeds, suet, sugar water and fruit, such as oranges and grape jelly, will delight your winged guests. Also, consider hanging different styles of feeders around your garden to boost the appeal.

Try Mealworms

Several species including bluebirds will gobble up this treat. Check out the best bluebird feeders and feeding tips.

downy woodpecker on peanut feederCourtesy Sarah Wood
Downy woodpecker on a peanut feeder

Birds Love Peanuts

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.

Remember Ground Feeding Birds

Some birds that do not visit feeders will take seed that is sprinkled on the ground around shrubs.

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.

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 attract more birds to your feeders.

Keep Feeders Clean

Make sure you clean and disinfect feeders regularly and discard old or wet seed.

Use Plants for Shelter Around Feeders

Birds like cover, especially near feeders, so plant evergreen trees, bushes, vines or ground covers nearby.

american redstartCourtesy Jon Toth
A male American redstart drinks from a birdbath

Add Water to your Landscape

Some birds like robins that don’t eat from feeders will visit birdbaths. 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.

Maintain a Four-Season Habitat

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

Leave a Little Garden Debris in Winter

Instead of doing a thorough cleanup in the fall, let birds like goldfinches enjoy the seedpods, leaf piles, dropped fruit and other natural materials that usually get cleared away weeks earlier.

Garden Green

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

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