Should Bird Feeders Be Kept Full? (3 Things To Note)

by Alex Kountry
Updated on

The sound of birds in your backyard can be extremely relaxing. And bird feeders are an excellent way to attract birds to your backyard.

Bird feeders are a fun and entertaining way to get close to birds. It also allows us to connect with nature.

Bird feeders are extremely important. Especially because it reduces the likelihood of birds going hungry.

But, should bird feeders, be kept full? Continue reading to find out.

Should Bird Feeders Be Kept Full 

Should Bird Feeders Be Kept Full

That’s a definite yes. Bird feeders should be kept full. It is best to refill it as soon as it becomes empty. This ensures that the birds return.

A feeder that is not filled regularly will not attract as many visitors.

However, it can be aggravating to keep refilling a feeder only to find it empty. There is a way out of this. The solution is to use larger feeders.

Also, it is best to set up several feeders in your garden. This provides a more diverse and larger feeding station.

Since birds spread their efforts across multiple feeders, a single feeder will not be emptied as quickly.

Larger capacities will also satisfy more birds’ appetites before they need to be refilled.

This article provides a lot of interesting facts regarding bird feeders. Continue reading to find out more.

Related: Here is an article I wrote on can bird feeders get wet

Should Bird Feeders Be Always Kept Full

Not necessarily, bird feeders mustn’t always be full. As stated earlier bird feeders should be refilled after birds have consumed all the seeds.

It’s a bad idea to put in more seeds to a half-full feeder. Always allow the seeds in the feeder to be consumed before refilling.

How Often Should You Fill A Bird Feeder

There isn’t a standard for how frequently a bird feeder should be filled.

The frequency with which you fill your bird feeder is determined by how quickly it is emptied.

You can fill your bird feeder every hour, every day, or every week. It is determined by the size of your bird feeder and the frequency with which birds visit it.

During the nesting season, most people will likely refill their feeders several times per day.

However, it isn’t always necessary to refill bird feeders as soon as they are empty. It is beneficial to leave feeders empty for a day or two sometimes.

Birds will undoubtedly find an alternative if the feeder is empty. They will most likely feed on the ground beneath feeders.

This helps to clean up spilled seed. It also helps to keep the ground beneath feeders clean.

This may also encourage birds to migrate elsewhere else.

Some people may find this method appealing. Mostly because they cannot afford to feed birds all of the time.

Feeding birds is enjoyable and rewarding, but it can be costly.

There’s no shame in not constantly refilling feeders. Because there is no seed inside. This also makes cleaning the feeders simplified.

Can You Over Feed Birds With A Bird Feeder 

Birds will definitely have enough to eat from bird feeders. If there are a lot of feeders in the garden, they will undoubtedly continue to feed until they are full.

Animals normally live to survive. And eating is a survival strategy for them. They would not say no to food if they discovered a truckload of them.

While it’s a healthy sign for birds to eat, overfeeding can cause a major setback to some bird species.

Tore Slagsvold, a professor at the University of Oslo’s CEES (Centre for Ecological and Evolutionary Synthesis), warns against overfeeding.

He encouraged people to stop feeding wild birds after Easter in the spring.

Too much feeding, he claims, can drive them to nest too soon. Their chicks may hatch too soon as well.

He also claimed that birds are at risk of becoming acclimated to and reliant on unnatural food sources.

Also check out this article on are bird feeders messy

Can You Have Too Many Bird Feeders

Yes, absolutely; it all depends on your preferences. Having too many bird feeders has a lot of advantages.

It reduces the number of times you have to refill your bird feeder.

It also attracts a lot of birds to your backyard. It also ensures that all birds are well-fed.

However, there are some disadvantages to having multiple bird feeders. Let’s see some of these disadvantages.

  • It will be expensive. What I mean is, you will most likely spend a lot of money filling all of your feeders.
  • It requires more washing and cleaning. Feeders should be cleaned and sanitized as frequently as possible. And so, having too many of it would mean cleaning multiple feeders as frequently as possible.
  • And, of course, if there is a disease outbreak, it will spread quickly to a large number of birds. This is because birds are numerous and will invariably come into contact with other birds.

This changes the way disease transmission is managed. Before deciding on having multiple feeders, you have to be sure you can handle them. It is advisable to have as many feeders as you can manage.

Why Do Birds Stop Coming To Feeders

Bird feeders are naturally appealing to birds. Hey! Who wouldn’t want free food? However, birds can stop coming to your feeders.

So then, what could be causing a bird to stop visiting your feeder? Here are some of the reasons;

  • Predator-predator-predator-predator-predator- Birds may stop visiting your feeder as a result of predators. It’s an instinct for them to want to hide from their predators.
  • Relocation can also be the case. Bird migration is not a new phenomenon. This could very well be the reason you can’t find them around your feeders any longer.
  • They may have discovered a more appealing feeder. This is quite common in birds. Of course, they have favorite seeds, and if you don’t have them and they find them elsewhere, they will most likely go there.

 The seeds you use in your feeder have a long way to go. It determines whether birds will return for more.

  • You’ve most likely relocated your feeder. Birds do not use their sense of smell to locate objects. If they can’t find your feeder because it’s moved, they’ll probably assume it’s no longer available. As a result, they may never return.
  • It’s not winter. During the winter, most birds rely solely on a feeder. During the summer, they usually fend for themselves. This means there would be no need for a bird feeder. They’d probably go in search of food themselves.
  • The feeder needs to be cleaned. Cleaning your feeder regularly ensures that old, bad seeds are removed. This can be repulsive to birds.

Ensure that the bird feeder is sanitized regularly. Also, see that old seeds are discarded.

  • Death could also be another reason. Birds can die as a result of a disease outbreak.

When using a bird feeder, disease transmission is very common. Obviously, because different birds come into contact with each other while eating.

This could result in disease transmission from infected birds. And if they are not treated, they will most likely die and stop visiting your feeder.

Why Do Birds Throw Seeds Out Of The Feeders

Birds are notoriously messy eaters. When they eat, they will most likely spill food all over the place.

This is the major reason birds throw seeds. They may, however, spill seeds for a variety of reasons. Below are some other reasons;

  • The quality of the seeds could also be a factor. Birds, like the rest of us, prefer high-quality food. If you feed them cheap seeds, they may simply dislike them and discard them to find the good stuff.
  • Occasionally, the seeds they drop aren’t seeds at all. If they have sunflower seeds, they will eat the seed inside by removing the outer husk. They then throw away the husks, giving the impression that they are throwing away the seed.
  • You should also consider the type of feeder you have. If you have a table feeder, seed and other food will fall to the ground very easily. The birds will eventually move it close to the edge of the table, causing it to drop.
  •  Birds will dig in to find the food they prefer, dislodging any other seeds that are in the way, causing them to fall out of the feeder.

How Long Does It Take For Birds To Come To A New Feeder

There is no special time allocation to how long it takes birds to change feeders. As long as they are attracted to your feeder they will likely almost switch immediately.

However, when trying to attract birds to your new feeder, it is important to note that attracting birds to a new feeder can take time and patience.

A new feeder, however, may not get any action for up to four weeks. This is dependent on its location, food type, and how visible it is from both the ground and the air.


It’s perfectly fine to fill up your bird feeder. However, it is not a set rule. It is solely up to you to decide that.

Filling your feeder to the brim is quite beneficial. It reduces how often you fill your feeder. This is dependent on the size of your feeder though. Getting a larger capacity feeder is most preferred.

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About the author

Alex Kountry

Alex Kountry is the founder of HayFarmGuy and has been a backyard farmer for over 10 years. Since then he has decided to write helpful articles that will help you become a better backyard farmer and know what to do. He also loves to play tennis and read books


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