How to attract wild birds into the garden


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How to attract wild birds into the garden

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I have recently bought a bird feeder and hung fat balls from it.  However, the birds dont seem to be interested and the fat balls have remained untouched for about 4 weeks.  The feeder is approximately 20 feet from the back door and I wonder if it is too close for the birds to feel comfortable.  I previously fed them further down the garden, but want to be able to watch them when indoors.  I bought nuts and seeds a few days ago, and will put these out today.  It may be that the birds just arent interested in fat balls at the moment - anyone have any suggestions?

All Replies
  • It was pretty much the same for me when I first put food out .. the birds seem to love the peanuts, and that in turn got other birds interested in the other feeder. A friend of mine had nothing for weeks, and then the day before yesterday a number of blue tits, this morning he texted saying he has coal tits as well! If you have had birds in the garden previously, then they will return.

    There is plenty of good information elsewhere on this site on situating the bird feeder and what foods attract what. Have a little wander around.

    Best of luck. ;o)


  • Hi Gillian,

    Many of us have feeding stations close to the house, some because they have no choice and others for the same reason as yourself - they want to be able to see the birds. Some even have  feeders attached to their windows. It doesn't seem to matter that they are close to the house at all.

    What birds like is a variety of foodstuffs and a bath or drinking dish - different seeds such as sunflower hearts (they seem to be the favourite for most garden birds), nyjer seed for the goldfinches, and peanuts for others. Fat balls are normally popular, but possibly more so in the colder months when they need more fat to help them survive. I provide fat balls, but at present they are just being nibbled at, not devoured as they are in winter. You could also try some dried mealworms (soaked first) and fruit such as raisins or sultanas.

    Birds also like cover near the feeders so they can dash and hide when danger lurks - you don't say if you have hedges, bushes or trees near your house.

    As Ant says, there is a lot of valuable information in other threads on the forum, so have a good browse and see if any of it helps.

    Good luck!


  • Hello GillianCarole and welcome, I too had to wait quite a while for the birds to be happy enough to use my feeders, that was a few years ago and now I get loads everyday.

    Patience is the key really, birds just need to get used to things moving around the garden.

    Also at this time of year, the birds are finding lots of natural foods in the surrounding countryside and green areas.

    I've found this info for you to peruse through from the RSPB site.  :-)

    Hope this helps, and don't worry.. they will come.!

  • The late summer and autumn is often a time of change for birds and they can be difficult to spot in gardens. The thread below offers a few pointers about why this is and there are many people on the forum that have witnessed similar observations of less birds visiting feeders, worth a look.

    If you can make sure there is some cover nearby for birds to retreat to then you may increase your chances of attracting birds near to the house. Birds often like to perch nearby to the feeders and check the coast is clear before going to the food. They should get used to feeding close to the house in time as long as they have some shelter nearby. If you have not got any shrubs close to the house maybe consider planting some hawthorn or viburnum shrubs or some climbers like ivy and honeysuckle. The birds will love these plants and feel much safer in them.

    If you are using fat balls, make sure that you remove the plastic mesh off and destroy it as this can be lethal to birds as they can get tangled up in it. The best way to feed fat balls is from a metal cage feeder like this one.

  • When we first put out feeders it took some time before we had regular feeders now our garden has lots of visitors including woodpecker I have a poor photo of a pheasant on a feeder, as many as 30+ goldfinches in the winter.

    We have a couple of window feeders on  the kitchen window. Now I have a problem am hoping to attach a picture, this juvenile I think green finch spends most of the day at the window, it has very ruffled feathers and looks as if it has something sticking out from its beak ?worms it does look poorly, it just sits ther staring at me I have seen it feeding, any ideas?

  • Hi Gillian

    Generally speaking I wouldn't hang fat balls from a feeder containing a different type of food. Especially if you are hanging a fat ball in it's bag as birds can get their feet stuck in the bags and injure themselves. The fact that some birds are feeding from the peanut or seed feeder might put off others who might want to try the fat balls, but don't wish to sit feeding with the other birds above them.

    If I was trying to attract birds to a new garden I would put out several feeders to tempt them. Say for example peanuts in a peanut feeder, sunflower seeds in a seed feeder, Niger seeds in a Niger seed feeder and I would put the fat balls in a special fat ball feeder separately. You can hang feeders where you can see them in trees all over the garden or on a feeding pole. If you don't know whether you have goldfinches in your area, you could try the Niger seed trial feeder as it's cheaper to buy than a full size feeder.

    Once you find out what birds you are attracting and what food is going down the quickest, then you can adjust the food.

    Good luck in attracting lot's of different birds. :-)

    Best wishes Chris

  • Thanks to everyone who responded to my post asking how to attract wild birds into the garden.  I have now put nuts and seeds out along with the fatballs.  Middle of last week I suddenly noticed several birds on the fatball feeder, including blue tits, sparrows and (I think) a female blackbird.  There is plenty of undergrowth for the birds to hide in very close to the feeder, so I am expecting a lot of visitors as soon as they realise the food is there.

    I hadnt realised the importance of washing out the feeders every so often, so have thrown away the old feeders and bought new ones that can be dismantled and washed.

  • I would suggest a bird feeding station and then hanging different types of bird feed/ suet balls on each one and experimenting with what finds what.

    This website has a great review on the top three bird feeding stations on Amazon UK;

    Hope this helps! :)