Does bird feeder placement really make a difference? Absolutely! Follow these simple steps to draw in more birds when you get a new feeder (or if want to attract more birds to an old one.)
Think Like a Bird
If you’re opening a restaurant, you’d place it where the customers are, right? Same goes for birds. Incorporate your feeders into their natural routine, not just yours.
Place suet feeders near mature trees where Woodpeckers of all species will feel comfortable. They’ll use the trees as a staging are to make the short hop over to the suet. If you have a suet cage without a tail board (that “paddle” on the bottom that Woodpeckers rest their stiff tail feathers against) try attaching it on the trunk of a tree. Doesn’t have to be a big tree. But Woodpeckers will feel more comfortable eating from it if they have the trunk to prop their stiff tail feathers against.
Place ground feeders near shrubs or bushes where songbirds such as Sparrows are able to find shelter.
For All Feeders
Be sure to place your feeders 8-12 feet from some kind of natural structure – native shrubs, trees, ground cover, etc. You see, perching birds can’t move their eyes. They’re fixed in position. That’s why perching birds are always spinning their heads this way and that – too keep on the lookout for predators. Having natural cover nearby will give perching birds the confidence they need to visit your feeders.
A Big No-No
DO NOT place your feeders on a pole system in the middle of a monoculture lawn (big green sea of grass.) All perching birds like to have an escape hatch nearby in case a Raptor or cat comes prowling. So, they avoid eating in the open where shelter isn’t easily accessible. The solution: plant some native shrubs or trees to give the birds a feeling of security. Want to go the really cheap and easy route? Make a brush pile near the feeder. Even that is usually enough to give them peace of mind.
Spraying your lawn isn’t just deadly to weeds and bugs, it can be deadly to birds. So, remove all feeders (especially ground feeders) if either you or the chem tech are going to spray. Replace your feeders only after the appropriate safe time has expired. Here’s another thought: don’t spray if you have plenty of birds visiting your feeders. Chances are, they’ll eliminate many of the insects on your lawn the natural way – by eating them!
More than 365 million birds die in the US each year from window strikes. The majority of those happen at residential homes. So, place your feeders either within 3 feet of a window or more than 10 feet away from windows. Within 3 feet, the birds won’t hit your window hard enough to hurt themselves. At more than 10 feet from your window, they’ll have enough time to maneuver away from the glass. But anything between those two distances is the danger zone for birds, so avoid it when placing your feeders!
Place your feeders where the birds won’t experience constant disruptions, such as doors opening, foot traffic on a patio or deck or backyard recreation such as jungle gyms or dog runs.
Enjoy the View
Finally, along with all of the above, place feeders where you can easily see them. Studies have shown that birds will at most get 30% of their food from feeders regardless of the season. So, in reality, feeding the birds is more for us than it is for them (though it certainly helps birds.) Be sure your feeders are easily within sight so that you can enjoy the show!
No way around this. Cats kill up to 3.7 billion birds in the U.S. each year. That “billion” with a “b.” Cats are cute...but they’re also predatory hunters conditioned by millions of years of evolution. They hunt for “sport” and not for sustenance. So please keep your cats indoors. Always. It’ll protect them from ticks, cars and other calamities. And it’ll protect the birds you love, as well.