About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Do birds find feeders by smell?

Birds are amazing creatures and can find new feeders several different ways just like humans find restaurants.

Everyone has a friend that likes to tell you about the new "hot spot". Some birds fly in flocks and may send out a scout bird to forage for new feeding sites.

Or if you see a line around the block for a restaurant, you may get in line yourself to check out the food. Some solitary birds see a lot of birds at a feeder and go see what all the fuss is about.

What if you see the "Golden Arches" on the way home from work? You know what's inside. Some birds already eat at the neighbor's house and may see your familiar feeders on the way home.

It may be a matter of hours before birds discover new feeders or a matter of weeks. The variation depends on habitat, number of nearby feeders, and the kinds of birds in the area. Chickadees, and House Sparrows are especially quick to locate new feeders. Also if you switch feeders the birds may be cautious to try that feeder. To encourage the birds to use new feeders tempt them with scattered seeds on the ground. 
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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

We have begun to feed birds by spreading seeds on our front walk. Male and female Cardinals come and also smaller birds that are, I believe, sparrows or finches. We have Blue Jays, but they don't seem to be interested. Just as an anecdote, we are wondering what process the birds use to find the food. They scour the walk clean of seeds each day. Today a fresh layer of snow covered the walk. When I put the seed out, bird tracks were already in the snow. The birds had to be anticipating feeding time. No seeds in view or to be scented through the snow.