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Common Birdfeeder Problems

Common Birdfeeder Problems

No birds at the feeder; the wrong birds at the feeder; squirrels at the birdfeeder – all these are common birdfeeder problems. Before you give up on bird feeding, try these tips and ideas.

No Birds at the Feeder

  • If it is a new feeder, give the birds a little time to get accustomed to it. If it is full of fresh food, they will come.
  • Is there a new dog or cat in the neighborhood? Birds stay away when there is a predator nearby. If there is a new cat or dog, ask the owner to tie a bell around its neck to warn the birds.
  • Make sure your feeder provides adequate perching places and nearby trees and shrubs so birds can take cover.
  • Is your feeder clean? Wash your feeders occasional and let them dry thoroughly before refilling. Restock with fresh feeds.

Unwanted Visitors

Not all birds are a joy to watch. You can't really blame these uninvited avians for trying to survive, but there are some ways to keep unwanted birds away from your feeder:

  • Try using a small tubular feeder which attracts smaller songbirds. Larger birds won't be able to fit on the perches.
  • Remove perches from tube feeders to keep house finches away. To keep blackbirds and sparrows away, don't offer cracked corn.
  • To keep doves and sparrows away, don't put out bird mixes.
  • Starlings do not like to feed at a bottom feed suet feeder. It forces them to hang upside down longer than they like to.
  • Squirrels can also take over your feeder. Here are tips for dealing with an unwanted invasion:
  • Squirrels are territorial. Provide food for them away from your bird feeders. They will mark that area and stay away from your birds.
  • Try hanging your feeders at least 5 - 6' off the ground and 8' from a tree.