How Do Birds find Bird Feeders: Facts & Tips to Attract Your Feathery Friends

How Do Birds Find Bird Feeders

How Do Birds Find Feeders

Do birds find bird feeders by smell? It’s a question that many people ask and it is one of the most common questions we get asked by customers. Do they tell each other where food is located? How long do they take to find a feeder and how do you attract them with the right type of feeder?

Birds are smart creatures, but there are some things you can do to make your feeder more attractive to them. These are just some of the questions we will answer in this blog post. We have compiled an extensive list of tips on attracting different types of birds, as well as what sort of feeders you should be using if you want to encourage certain species.

Bird Facts

Basics Bird Facts

There is a common disagreement amongst researchers that birds do not have a sense of smell and they rely on their vision and sight to find bird feeders. However, researchers have found that Birds can smell things that humans cannot detect with their sense of smell.

Birds are very capable of detecting various scents and have a sense that is much more sensitive than ours. They use this sense to find food, avoid predators, and even help in courtship rituals. 

All birds have some form of olfaction but the way they utilize it varies from species to species. Some birds such as the turkey vulture have a heightened ability to pick up odours because they hunt by swooping down on carrion or garbage dumps where there is an abundance of odour molecules present.

This gives them a competitive edge over other scavengers who may not be able to detect these smells at all or only at lower levels thus giving them less time to find food.

Bird species that are unable to detect odours rely instead on their sense of hearing and sight to locate food sources such as trees with ripe fruit, ponds where fish may be present, or even the sound produced by other animals eating in order for them to know when it is time for them to eat again too.

Bird Using Sight And Sound

Using Sight and Sound

We all know that birds are sight-oriented creatures and often rely on their keen eyesight to find food. But did you know about the importance of sound?

Birds use sounds in a variety of ways, for everything from attracting mates to warning one another of predators. They can also hear high-frequency sounds that humans cannot detect. You may not be able to tell which bird is the source just by listening–but if you watch it carefully, or provide visual clues like using your car headlights at night, you might be surprised!

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The world can indeed be a noisy place. If you’re not used to it, it can make your head spin and bring about feelings of anxiety or depression. But did you know that many birds use sound to find food? Birds have very sensitive hearing too, so they hear the sounds we humans don’t even notice! Here are some ways in which birds use sight and sound for finding food

  • Birds will listen for the rustling of leaves on trees – this tells them where bugs might be hiding under the leaves
  • Some bird species will look for shadows cast by prey animals like rodents or insects
  • Many songbirds also rely on their songs as a way to keep track of their location in an area with dense vegetation

Birds have to find food in order to survive. They use sight and sound, among other senses, to locate their prey but some birds are better at this than others. The European Blackbird is an example of a bird that can’t see well but has a good sense of hearing.

Other birds such as the Blue Jay are both good at finding food with their eyes and ears. Understanding what each bird’s strengths are will help you know how best to attract them for birding or just listening!

Can Bird Smell Birdseed

Can birds smell birdseed?

Birds can smell birdseed, but not as well as humans. They use their sense of sight and sound to find food sources. They do have nostrils and can smell, but their eyesight is much better than humans so they rely on it. They also use echolocation to find food sources, which sonar waves bouncing off objects and then returning echoes back to the bird.

Do birds tell each other where food is?

Birds are social creatures, and some species of birds will identify where food is by telling other members in the flock. Birds can also communicate with a variety of sounds including chirps, tweets, squawks and whistles which are all ways that they keep track of their location relative to each other. What does the science say?

In the realm of avian behaviour, it always is a fascinating question: do birds tell each other where food is? While birds are known to engage in various forms of communication, the existence of explicit information sharing regarding food sources remains a topic of scientific investigation.

Studies have shown that certain species of birds, such as African honeyguides, demonstrate cooperative foraging behavior by leading other animals, including humans, to beehives in search of honey. This implies a level of inter-species communication, albeit indirect.

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However, when it comes to intra-species communication, particularly among non-cooperative species, the evidence is less conclusive. Some researchers argue that birds might signal the presence of food to conspecifics through vocalizations or visual displays, while others posit that individuals may rely on their own individual foraging skills rather than relying on explicit information from others.

So, the question of whether birds explicitly tell each other where food is remains a fascinating avenue of study within the field of avian communication.

How long does it take birds to find a bird feeder?

How long does it take birds to find a bird feeder?

Every bird watcher knows that it is important to have a good supply of food for the birds. This can be accomplished by setting up a feeder and making sure there are plenty of seeds, nuts, dried fruit or insects available. Who doesn’t like fresh food?

However, how long does it take for the birds to find your feeder? It varies depending on where you live, visibility of the food source, proximity and what type of food you offer but here are some general guidelines

  • In urban areas with lots of trees around, most species will find your feeder in one day or less
  • If there are no trees nearby, then they will need about four days to find the feeder if its location isn’t changed periodically so that they don’t get used to finding it in one spot.
  • Feeders, with or without a feeding station, should be located at least thirty feet from the ground level. It is best to not place your feeder near a window or in full sunlight because it will dry out quicker and may attract insects that birds can’t eat, like bees or ants. Birds also don’t see colour well so they won’t find food if it’s hanging on a red branch! Place feeders on an orange/brown tree limb instead
  • If you are having trouble finding good spots for your feeder, try looking up trees – oftentimes there’s lots of room (in some cases even more than needed) right around them where no branches get in the way and sunlight is usually easier to come by.
Feeding Birds

Feeding Birds

Feeding birds allows you to strengthen your bond with nature without exerting too much effort.

  • Attract birds by offering them a variety of food to keep them coming back
  • Avoid feeding birds in your backyard if you have a problem with pests such as ants or squirrels
  • Keep bird feeders clean and full of fresh water and suet cakes. If you have a new feeder, it’s always a good idea to
  • Try using an umbrella over the feeder for shade during hot summer days
  • Place bird feeders away from trees so that they are less likely to be attacked by predators like cats, owls, and raccoons
  • Use seed savers such as thistle tubes or other natural materials to protect seeds from rain or animals when filling up bird feeders.
  • It’s also a good idea to spread the seeds on the ground to encourage birds to know that there is a food source in their proximity
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25 Brilliant Facts about Blue Jays That You Don't Want to Miss
Know your Local Bird Population

Know Your Local Bird Population

As a birding enthusiast or just a kind-hearted spirit to help out your feathered friends, it’s important to know how many bird species are known to be in your area. Check out your local birding enthusiasts groups or the Audo-American Birding Association to find out the number of birds that are in your area.

You will be surprised by the number of different birds and various different species that inhabit the area.

This will help you decide which type of bird feeder is best suited for your location and what types of food, seeds and supplements should be used at it. Though this may seem like a lot of work upfront, once done correctly, it can save time later on because there won’t be any guesswork needed as to where they might go when looking for sustenance.

Birds need water just like mammals do so make sure to consider adding a birdbath or other wetland close by. This way all species have access without having to fly too far from their feeding spot!

Timing – All Year Round Or Seasonal?

The timing of birds feeding is not as important as the number of feeders and frequency. If you put out a small amount or only occasionally, birds may be able to find it but they will not stay for long. So make sure that your feeding station has plenty of food available all year round!

Bird Feeding Mistakes

Top Bird Feeding Mistakes

  1. Using too much food
  2. Not cleaning up after yourself – bird seed is an attractive meal for rodents, so make sure to clean up any spilt seed on the ground.
  3. Feeding all year round – it’s important to stop feeding in late winter when natural food sources become more plentiful
  4. Forgetting about water dishes or forgetting to change the water regularly (birds need fresh water every day)
  5. Not planting trees or shrubs near the feeder area – will help provide shelter from predators and harsh weather conditions
  6. Allowing cats access to your yard – they can easily kill small birds with their claws and teeth
  7. Predators proofing your feeder.
  8. If you live in a rural area, make sure to find out the latest information about any disease outbreaks in your local wild birds before new bird feeders go up.
  9. If you do not know what’s going on or if there are no reports of sickness from a trusted source like Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Audubon Society, then it is best to wait for two weeks after all symptoms have subsided before putting food back into bowls. The same advice applies for urban dwellers as well – but only when using seed mixes that contain corn (the most common carrier).
  10. Backyard birds like sparrows and all seed eating birds for that matter primarily rely on their excellent eyesight so make your new feeders visible and secured from wild birds. Remember most birds tend to have a poor sense or almost no sense of smell!
  11. Refrain yourself from moving your bird feeder or even your bird food often and be patient. Your new friends sometimes may come within a few hours of hanging the feeder and sometimes like all things in life a bit late than you expect.
See also
How to Attract Backyard Birds (Things You Might Have Missed!)
Bird finding feeder for foodChickadee and Bird Feeder

Final Thoughts

It’s fascinating how birds can find feeders. They are able to fly in the dark, land on a branch or wire and quickly spot their favourite food item without making any noise whatsoever! You may be wondering what makes them so special?

The answer is that they use an ability called echolocation—a technique where small animals make high-pitched sounds that bounce off objects around them, such as trees and leaves, and return echoes. These returning echoes provide information about the location of nearby objects including prey items like insects.

Birds produce these sound waves by clicking their tongues (or tapping their bills) against either side of the mouth cavity–the space between the lower bill and roof of the mouth behind it.

Empathy is the answer. Birds are intelligent, and they know where to find food all year round! They have figured out that humans offer a reliable source of sustenance in their backyard feeders.

The more we talk about feeding birds with our neighbours, friends or on social media, the more these feathered creatures will come back to our neighbouring yards. Share this blog post if you want to encourage others to help feed hungry birds by putting up a birdfeeder at home.

We hope this article has helped you learn more about birds and how they find bird feeders. If we left anything out, please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below!

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Lisa Hayden-Matthews

Lisa Hayden-Matthews

A bike rider, triathlon enthusiast, amateurish beach volleyball player and nature lover who has never lost a dare! I manage the overall Editorial section for the magazine here and occasionally chip in with my own nature photographs, when required.

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