Birds Not Using Birdfeeder

organic_smallhomeDecember 12, 2006

Hi everyone. I've been feeding the birds in my backyard for months now. Unfortunately, my birdfeeder broke (it was the type with a roof, cylinder and platform for feeding). On the advice of other bird enthusiasts, I replaced it with a Droll Yankee feeder for sunflower seeds, and added another Droll Yankee feeder for nyger thistle. I've not seen a bird near either one for about a week now. The sunflower seeds are half gone, however, due to squirrels jumping on the feeder. Each feeder hangs from a 7.5' tall shepherd's hook, is spaced about 8 feet away from the (now barren) trees. What is going on? Am I doing something wrong?


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Don't know. Check to see if the seed has gotten nasty.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2006 at 5:30PM
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The nyger/thistle will definitely go stale in a few weeks and goldfinches will totally ignore it. Do you have a nearby water source? Has it been a while since your old feeder broke? They may have forgotten you.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2006 at 10:21AM
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Thanks. We do have a birdbath nearby, but at this time of year, it's usually too cold to keep water in it (I live in Boston)--though lately--off and on--I've been able to put water in it without it freezing.

When should I change out the nyger/thistle?

I was gone for about a week and a friend who was housesitting "forgot" to feed the birds on most days during my absence.

When I got back, the feeder broke. I waited about a week before buying a new feeder. I'm so angry with myself. I miss them!

    Bookmark   December 14, 2006 at 1:05AM
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If you can find a way to have unfrozen water each day when all else is frozen you will be VERY popular with the birds. Even just an old casserole dish of fresh water on the deck/porch. If your nyjer/thistle is >two weeks old toss it on the ground for the doves. Keep the thistle bag well sealed, in a ziplock or something, to keep it fresh. Don't fret, the welfare birds will be back shortly once word gets around.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2006 at 9:29AM
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terryr(z5a IL)

Sometimes it takes a while for the birds to figure out that you got a new feeder, especially if it's a different style/type. I keep my birdseed in the freezer so I don't have to worry about it becoming stale. They also make heaters for birdbaths.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2006 at 8:14PM
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I am also missing the birds at my feeders this year.

I have two feeders; one with sunflower seeds and one with thistle, one of those upside-down feeders specifically for finches.

I have always had lots of traffic at both feeders in the past, but this year only the sunflower seed is selling, and even that is not going quickly. I thoroughly cleaned the finch feeder and refilled it with fresh seed, but no one is visiting.

I had a hawk sitting on my deck near the feeder last week, which I'm sure freaked all the birds out. Is that why they have abandoned me? Will they come back eventually?


    Bookmark   December 19, 2006 at 1:51PM
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I have hawks too. The song birds know to scatter when they are around but soon return again. In my area, only goldfinches will feed from the amusing upsidedown feeder, that's what i have too. Tho a few chickadees have learned to do it occasionally. It may take a while to atract goldfinches until they find you. I have also found they will dissappear for several weeks in the autumn. Probably a migration or plentiful alternative food source.

Maybe consider a platform feeder or another hanging feeder with larger perches. Cardinals don't like small perches.

I can't over-emphasise how popular you will be if you make liquid water available in the winter. Also, suet cakes, especially in the winter.

BTW, far worse than hawks... do you have cats around?

    Bookmark   December 20, 2006 at 4:56PM
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Yes, we do have cats around. But that's not new, and I wouldn't swear the hawk is either. Both our feeders have always been busy in years past (I often wondered if they were part pig!) but nearly empty this year. I was also wondering if it could be our unusually warm weather.


    Bookmark   December 21, 2006 at 12:02PM
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In that case I would say that the older the seed the better the birds like it and do not under any circumstances provide any water to the birds this time of year as they will certainly catch chill.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2006 at 8:35AM
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Suggestion, Go outside either just about sunrise or sunset. Listen to see what birds are in the area. Also walk around your area. Ask yourself. Do I see birds. Do I hear birds. If so what kind. Feed for the ones you have and you will attract the ones you want. If you do not hear anything talk to your neighbors about the lack maybe you can help start a project to attract birds.

envirocop, I don't know where you are located but if you were thirsty what would you prefer no water or cool water. Lack of water can kill you but if the water is kept clean it should not make you catch a cold if you are a bird.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2006 at 10:00PM
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terryr(z5a IL)

A guess on my part, but I believe envirocop's suggestions were because of the cats in the area. Why try to feed birds when a feral or stray cat will kill them? Cats are not meant to be outside. Cats are not part of the ecosystem.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2006 at 6:31PM
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Strange envirocop did not mention cats? I know that there are many pros and cons about domestic cats becoming feral and I do not want to enter that argument. Let each person make their own decision that they can live with concerning cats.

In nature there generally are not vacuums. If one group is removed another will fill its place. Cats or mice or rabbits or people have all replaced something and if removed will be replaced by something else. You should be careful for what you wish for. People replaced wildlife and brought domestic animals. In some areas the wildlife is returning, remember cougars, coyotes, and bobcats, and starting to eat domestic animals, dogs, cats, etc. If the outside domestic meat eaters, that may provide food for the wild ones, are replaced by the wild ones what will prevent the mice, rats, squirrels from entering our houses for protection. Worse case I do not want a cougar, which we have in my area, to claw through my walls or attack people for food.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2006 at 5:32PM
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