How long before birds come to a new feeder?

How Long Before Birds Come To A New Feeder?

It’s not as simple as you think! Here’s why…

How Long Before Birds Come To A New Feeder?

Are you an enthusiastic bird watcher who has recently added a new bird feeder to your yard? If so, you may be wondering, “how long before birds come to a new feeder?”

While the answer may vary based on a few different factors, you can expect feathered friends to arrive within a few days to a few weeks.

How Long Does It Take For Birds To Find A Bird Feeder?

The answer to this question depends on several factors, including:

The species of birds in your area, the time of year, your yard setup, and your neighbors’ yards.

If you’re an avid bird watcher or simply want to bring more feathered friends to your backyard, setting up a new bird feeder can be an exciting endeavor.

However, the burning question on your mind might be: how long before birds come to a new feeder?

1. Species

Different bird species have varying feeding habits and preferences, which can influence how quickly they discover and visit a new feeder. For example, common feeder birds like house finches and chickadees tend to be more adventurous and curious, and they may find and start using a new feeder within a few hours or days. In contrast, more skittish species like woodpeckers and nuthatches may take longer to approach a new feeder, sometimes up to several weeks.

2. Time of Year

The time of year can also play a role in how quickly birds discover and use a new feeder. During the spring and summer breeding season, adult birds are busy with nest building, egg-laying, and raising their young, so they may be less likely to explore new food sources. However, in the fall and winter, when natural food sources become scarce, birds are more likely to seek out supplemental food at bird feeders. Therefore, setting up a new feeder during the fall or winter months may attract birds more quickly than during the spring or summer.

3. Your Yard Setup

Your yard setup and the placement of your feeder can also influence how quickly birds find and visit it. Placing your feeder near a natural shelter, such as trees or shrubs, can make birds feel more comfortable and secure, which may encourage them to visit sooner. Additionally, offering a variety of food types, such as seed, suet, and fruit, can attract a wider variety of birds and increase the chances of a quick visit.

4. Your Neighbors

Your neighbors’ yards can also impact how quickly birds find and use your new feeder. If your neighbors have established bird feeders in their yards, birds may already be accustomed to finding food sources in the area and may be more likely to discover your feeder sooner. Conversely, if your neighbors have limited bird activity in their yards, it may take longer for birds to become aware of your new feeder.

How Long Before Birds Come To A New Feeder?

Now that we’ve established that it can take a bit of time for birds to find a new feeder, you may be wondering why. The answer is relatively straightforward: birds are creatures of habit. They are more likely to visit a feeder that they are already familiar with than to seek out a new one. However, don’t let this discourage you.

How Do Birds Find Bird Feeders?

Birds find bird feeders through sight and sound. By placing your feeder in a visible and accessible location, you increase the chances of birds discovering it. Additionally, using birdseed with a distinct sound, such as black oil sunflower seeds, can also help attract birds to your feeder.

Adding A New Bird Feeder To Your Yard

Now that you know a bit about how birds find feeders, let’s discuss adding a new bird feeder to your yard.

1. Location Of Feeder

When selecting the location for your new bird feeder, choose a spot that is visible and accessible to birds. Consider placing the feeder near a tree or bush, which can provide cover for birds to perch on and feel safe.

2. Numerous Feeders

If you already have a bird feeder in your yard, adding a new one can be an excellent way to attract more birds. By placing multiple feeders in different locations, you increase the chances of birds discovering one or more of them.

3. Moving An Existing Bird Feeder

If you have an existing bird feeder in your yard that isn’t attracting many birds, consider moving it to a new location. By changing the location of the feeder, you can attract different species of birds and provide a fresh feeding area for your feathered friends.

Tips That Help Birds Find New Feeders

Attracting birds to a new feeder can take some time, but by following these tips, you can increase your chances of attracting a variety of birds to your feeder. Remember to set up multiple feeders with different seeds, keep your feeder/s full and clean, leave out signs of seeds, and provide water and shelter. With patience and persistence, you will soon have a thriving bird community in your backyard.

Tip 1: Set up Multiple Feeders with Different Seeds

Different birds prefer different types of seeds, so setting up multiple feeders with different types of seeds can increase your chances of attracting a variety of birds. Common seeds include sunflower, safflower, millet, and nyjer.

Tip 2: Always Keep Your Feeders Full

Birds are more likely to visit a feeder that always has food available. Keep your feeder/s filled with fresh seeds to encourage birds to keep coming back.

Tip 3: Keep Your Feeder/s Clean

Dirty feeders can harbor bacteria and mold, which can make birds sick. Clean your feeder/s regularly with a solution of one part vinegar to nine parts water to keep them clean and safe for birds to use.

Tip 4: Leave Out Signs of Seeds

Birds can spot signs of seeds from a distance, so leaving some seeds around your feeder can attract birds to the area.

Tip 5: Provide Water and Shelter, Too

Birds need water for drinking and bathing, so providing a nearby water source can also attract birds to your feeder. Additionally, providing some shelter, such as shrubs or trees, can provide a safe haven for birds to rest and roost.

Bird Feeding Habitat Strategy

The first factor to consider when attracting birds to a new feeder is the feeding habitat strategy. Birds have different feeding habits, and you need to consider this when setting up your feeder. For instance, some birds are ground feeders, while others feed on nectar, fruits, or insects. Therefore, you need to research the type of birds in your area and their feeding habits to attract them to your feeder.


The type of food you offer also plays a significant role in attracting birds to your feeder. Birds have different dietary needs, and you need to provide food that meets their nutritional requirements. For instance, if you want to attract hummingbirds, you need to offer nectar, while black oil sunflower seeds are ideal for attracting finches and cardinals. You should also ensure that the food is fresh and not contaminated to avoid harming the birds.


Birds need shelter to feel safe when feeding. You can provide shelter by planting trees and shrubs around the feeder. The plants should be tall enough to provide cover, but not too close to the feeder to prevent predators from hiding in them. You can also add nesting boxes to attract birds that prefer nesting in cavities.


Just like humans, birds need water to survive. Providing a source of clean water near the feeder can attract birds that do not feed on seeds, such as robins and bluebirds. You can use a birdbath, a shallow dish, or a fountain as a source of water. Make sure you clean the water source regularly to prevent the spread of disease.

Places to Raise Young

Birds need suitable places to raise their young. You can attract breeding pairs to your feeder by providing nesting boxes, birdhouses, or natural cavities. The nesting boxes should be placed at a safe distance from the feeder to prevent disturbance. You should also avoid pruning trees and shrubs during the breeding season to avoid disturbing the birds.


1. How long does it take for birds to find a window feeder?

It may take a few days to several weeks for birds to find a new window feeder. Try placing some seeds on the windowsill to attract them.

2. Where is the best place to put a bird feeder?

The best place for a bird feeder is in a quiet area, close to trees or shrubs for shelter, and away from potential predators.

3. How do you get birds to come to you?

You can attract birds to your yard by providing food, water, and shelter. Planting native plants and creating a bird-friendly environment can also help.

4. Will birds come to the feeder close to the house?

Yes, birds will come to a feeder close to a house. However, they may be hesitant at first. Place the feeder near a window to observe and enjoy their activity.

5. How often should you clean a bird feeder?

A bird feeder should be cleaned at least once a month, and more frequently during wet weather or if it becomes moldy or dirty.

6. Which bird feeder attracts most birds?

A tube feeder filled with black oil sunflower seeds or a hopper feeder with a mixed seed blend can attract a variety of bird species.

7. Is It Better For The Feeders To Consistently Be Full?

Yes, it is better to keep the feeder consistently full to attract and retain birds. It also ensures that the birds have a reliable source of food.

8. What Type Of Seeds Are In Your Feeder?

The seeds in a feeder depend on the type of birds you want to attract. Black oil sunflower seeds, nyjer seeds, and safflower seeds are some popular options.

9. What If The Birds Won’t Eat Their Seeds?

If birds won’t eat the seeds in the feeder, try changing the type of seeds, cleaning the feeder, or moving it to a different location.

10. Do The Birds Like A Cover Over Them As They Eat?

Birds may prefer a covered feeder that protects them from rain and snow. However, some species prefer open feeders that allow them to watch for predators.

11. How Can I Fix Bird Feeding Issues?

To fix bird feeding issues, try adjusting the feeder placement, cleaning it more frequently, changing the seed type, or adding more feeders to accommodate more birds.

Final Thoughts

In general, the time it takes for birds to discover and start using a new feeder can vary depending on several factors, including the location and visibility of the feeder, the type of food offered, and the bird species present in the area. 

While some birds may start visiting a new feeder within hours or days, it may take weeks or even months for others to show up. It’s important to be patient and consistent in offering food and keeping the feeder clean to attract a diverse range of bird species. Providing natural food sources and habitat can also help attract birds to a new feeder.

Julian Goldie - Owner of

Julian Goldie

I'm a bird enthusiast and creator of Chipper Birds, a blog sharing my experience caring for birds. I've traveled the world bird watching and I'm committed to helping others with bird care. Contact me at [email protected] for assistance.