Why birds ignore feeders, including the one at Morgan Hill

DEAR JOAN: I recently installed a beautiful bird feeder in our garden. I filled it with a mix of premium bird food and nyjer seed, to attract goldfinches. No birds came, so I put a big seed bell on top as a decoy. No birds.

What’s going on? In fact, I don’t see many birds at all.

Jon Scherbart Morgan Hill

DEAR JOHN: There are several reasons why your fancy restaurant isn’t attracting customers, and they’re both likely related to location, location, location.

Finding the perfect spot for your feeder can be tricky. You want it near trees or shrubs so the birds can have a place to rest after eating or waiting their turn, and allow them to quickly hide from predators.

On the other hand, you don’t want it too close to trees or shrubs, as the limbs can provide a handy jumping point for squirrels and rodents and can allow predators to sneak up on feeders underneath. the cover of the branches. Expert birders recommend a distance of about 10 feet. You also want to move feeders away from high traffic areas of your garden.

Because you say you don’t see many birds in the area, it could be a sign that your neighborhood is not bird friendly. There could be too many stray cats, gardeners using too much insecticide, and not enough plants that naturally attract birds. You may want to consider adding flowering plants or hedges and installing a birdbath.

If you feed nyjer seeds, it is best in a sock feeder.

Finally, be patient. It may take some time for the birds to find the feeder, adjust to its design, and feel comfortable enough to visit it. In the meantime, keep the seeds fresh – the recent rainstorm may have soaked the seeds, which will quickly mold and become poisonous.

DEAR JOAN: After reading about chickadees and their birdhouses, I thought back to a beautiful birdhouse a girl made for me. Its roof is covered in coins – cute – but the heart-shaped opening is about 1 inch by 1 inch. The inside of the box is approximately 7 cubic inches. The bottom of the box is nailed.

I’ve never installed it and wonder if I’m right in saying that it’s probably not usable without more carpentry. I would appreciate your thoughts!

Katherine Bonner, Nipomo

DEAR KATHLEEN: We love our decorative birdhouses, but the birds don’t love them as much. Added color and gimmicks can draw unwanted attention to a nest.

By all means, display your beautiful birdhouse, but don’t expect it to be used.

DEAR JOAN: We have a hummingbird feeder, and (the birds) come by once in a while, but not a lot. What’s a good way to get them back and does it matter if the food is red?

Tina Corso, St. Johnsville, New York

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