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Call_Me_Jay's avatar

Have you ever seen a bird feeder ignored?

Asked by Call_Me_Jay (13034points) May 27th, 2021

I hung a suet cage and a finch feeder sock in the yard at my new apartment two months ago.

Nobody ate from it. It was weird. Birds constantly tweet and sing here from dawn to dusk, including cardinals, who can eat from the finch feeder. The guy downstairs throws out popcorn for them every morning and they swarm in to gobble it. But they all ignored my feeder.

Suddenly, five days ago, the sparrows discovered the suet and devoured it in three days.

Have you ever seen a bird feeder that birds did not discover in a few days?

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13 Answers

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

Update: Oooh, oooh! A house finch couple are on the sock now!

Anyway, I am surprised it took two months. Is that normal?

janbb's avatar

Well, the mail’s been very slow since DeJoy took over. Maybe they just got the message?

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

Normal birds get airmail, Penguin. Much faster than waddle delivery.

chyna's avatar

They prefer the popcorn, maybe.

zenvelo's avatar

There my very well have been something that frightened them away that you are not aware of: a cat in the area, or bird that will attack them but doesn’t eat your feed.

Or, it could be positioned in front of a window and they are frightened by their own reflection.

Yellowdog's avatar

A few things I might add, but nothing significant. You say they ARE starting to find your feeder, right?

They may be eating somewhere else. But they WILL start coming around once they discover the convenience of eating at your feeder, when they are in the area. The reason they gobble up the neighbor’s popcorn is, they probably don’t have another source for that.

Once they DO discover the availability and convenience of your feeder, Then, they will establish a pattern of eating there regularly.

Also, I have discovered that most birds do not really eat those tiny yellow grass seeds that are often sold as bird seed Go with sunflower seeds. All birds like them. Mixes with nuts and dried fruit smell nice and look pretty to us, but fur the birds, they mainly like sunflower seeds. And throw them on the ground first, the sunflower seeds, near the feeder.

longgone's avatar

It’s taken a couple of months for me, too. Then, as soon as the first bird found it, they all came.

A different time I put out a new feeder after heavy snowfall. That one was discovered almost immediately, even though it was right on the windowsill – too close to the house for them to venture, normally. I guess they were roaming farther because of the lack of ground access.

snowberry's avatar

They mostly ignored the suet we put out last fall. I think I know why. It was probably rancid.

They’ve also ignored our bird feeder with the seeds in it. The article below says you’ll want to buy “Waste free bird seed”, with no milo in it.

smudges's avatar

I grew up in a household that fed wild birds (and squirrels! LOL) and it encouraged my love of nature so, good for you! Here’s an informative, one-page article:,the%20long%20migration%20to%20their%20wintering%20grounds.%20

sorry's avatar

I have very responsive birds in my neighbourhood, but if someone else habituated them to feed somewhere before I decided to put out food, sure….. They aren’t going to notice your altruistic offerings and it may hurt your heart. I suggest trying to not put so much emotional investment into the feeding habits of birds in your neighbourhood.

KNOWITALL's avatar

Yes, feeders need to be checked and thoroughly sanitized every two weeks here. All the moisture ruins the feed and even hummingbird feeders get fungus.
Just keep trying!

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

Another update: Yellow finches have found the sock! Just like the red-headed house finches, they seem to travel in couples.

Regarding the feed type, a finch feeder only uses thistle. It has vertical slits that only finches and cardinals and the like can poke their beaks into.

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