How Do Birds Find Feeders

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Birds are amazing animals, and one can’t contain his curiosity about how they live their lives. Thus the idea of birdwatching. This hobby brought humans closer to how birds live their lives. From the time they come together in one flock to when they leave for sunnier weather during winter. 

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Not only are they exciting to watch, but it is also fantastic to have their colorful, intelligent, vocal, flying presence fill our backyard. Most birdwatchers who aren’t fond of leaving their homes turn to put up bird feeders in their yard in hopes of birds finding and flocking in them. 

It makes you wonder, though. How do birds find feeders? 

Facts About Birds

Unlike dogs and cats who can follow a smell from afar, birds have almost zero sense of smell. Their lack of sense of smell makes the myth that birds reject their hatchlings or their eggs if touched by humans put in question. Birds don’t use scent to locate food or feeders

In contrast, they see and hear excellently. These senses are what drive and help them find feeders. Due to a lack of smelling power, it may take them weeks before they find a bird feeder. 

How Birds Use Sight and Sound

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Our feathered friends use vision as their primary sense to find feeders. Once they see and distinguish the food inside the bird feeder, they will stay and have a gobble there. They become familiar with the feeder that they start to recognize it as a food source. 

Birds continuously look for food. They search the ground for any seeds scattered, or sometimes even the top of the bird feeder. 

Water is also essential for birds. Their search for water is where their hearing plays a role. Birds get attracted to the water motion that they hear – dripping, sprinkles, or splashes. They hear the sound of the water, listen very hard, and follow that direction. 

How Will The Birds Find My Feeder?

If you have set up a bird feeder at your yard for the birds to find, chances are they will. But, it may take days or weeks subject to various factors. Be patient. To help the birdies find the feeder you have put up for them, here are a few things you can try:

Tip 1. Position your bird feeder in a secured spot. As a rule, within about 15 feet of cover. 

Tip 2. Disperse seeds on the ground to encourage them to see the new food source. 

Tip 3. Use fine and superior bird seeds. Some of the best include:

  • Valley Splendor Black Oil Sunflower Seed
  • Wagner’s Greatest Variety Premium Bird Food
  • Lyric Sunflower Kernels

Tip 4. If you had a feeder before and you plan on getting a new one, hang it near the spot of the old one.

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

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There is no definitive answer to this question. It is something that has not been quickly answered, even with a reasonable estimate. However, you may consider the rule of two. The principle simply connotes that it may take two seconds or two months.

Be patient and keep the food instantly available in your bird feeder. Birds, as well as other animals like squirrels, will eventually find them and come chirping by. 

A real-life example from a recent experience I had – I left a feeder and a water dispenser just a few feet away from the window. The feeder was filled with some inexpensive seeds. It took about two days before I saw some colorful feathered creature flying to our yard. In two more days, the feeder was empty. 

I kept adding and adding bird seeds and the birds just kept bouncing in back and forth. Eventually, the whole neighborhood learns about the food source that was my backyard. 

Do Birds Tell Each Other Where Food Is?

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The poor smelling ability of birds makes them find feeders primarily by their sense of sight. Once they find the food source and they realize it is too much for a single bird to consume, they will call to their mates. 

They chirp, tweet, or flap their wings loudly to call the attention of their mates or flock. These methods alert other birds of the presence of food. Once birds have gathered together, chances are they may contend over access to food. You can say that not all calls for food sources are selfless. 

Why Do Birds Stop Coming To The Bird Feeder?

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There are times when bird activities at your feeders may slow down. This occurrence may happen even when there is no change in the food amount or the location of the food source. The reasons could be:

  • The food isn’t fresh. Feeders like bird seeds or bird nectar don’t stay fresh for a long time. Seeds may dry out, and nectar may get moldy. Birds hate that just like how humans hate spoilt food. 
  • Your feeders may be dirty. No one likes to eat from dirty and moldy feeders. Note that bacteria can grow in feeders, so make sure you clean occasionally. 
  • There are natural food sources. There are certain times within the year when natural food sources become widely available. These are the times when birds won’t rely on your feeders to survive. 
  • Predators. Have you noticed any cat showing up in your backyard? Cats – domesticated and non-domesticated will prey on birds when left outside. With them in sight, birds will try as much to keep their distance. 

Final Words

Birds can’t smell well that they can’t immediately tell that you have a feeder available for them. But, with excellent eyesight and sense of hearing, especially if your bird feeder is perched somewhere visible, they’d be able to find that in no time. Be sure to scatter some seed on the ground now and then so they know there’s something they can feast on in your backyard. 

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