How to Call Birds for Food

How to Call Birds for Food: The Beginners Guide

Birds are amazing creatures, and if you love birds, then you’re probably wondering about the best way to attract them. Because they’re smart, birds are quite skeptical and won’t easily come to you like other animals that can easily trust humans. So how do you call birds for food?

It takes patience and dedication to gain the birds’ trust, but once you’re done, you will be able to experience and enjoy their presence for long periods. In this article, you’ll learn how to call birds for food, so you can watch them closely or simply enjoy their existence. Keep on reading to find out more about the topic.

How to Call Birds for Food

A parrot in wild nature

As a bird lover, you can turn your backyard into a safe haven to attract birds. There are a few things that you can keep in your backyard to attract birds. Bird seeds, suet, a birdbath, a bird feeder, and safe nesting spots will make your garden more inviting to birds. Some birds prefer specific colors, while others get startled by other shades. Here are some tips to follow if you want to attract birds for food.

Study the Birds in the Area

Do some research about the types of birds that live in your area or might visit during the migration season. You will be able to learn about these birds’ preferences, so you can attract them to your backyard.

Plant Native Trees

Author Note: When thinking about the landscape in your backyard or garden, always plant native trees and shrubs. These plants will attract more birds than non-native trees that might not appeal to the birds in your area.

Evergreen trees might attract several birds to build their nests. You should also grow fruit trees that provide birds with delicious food throughout the year.

In case there are dead trees, you shouldn’t think about removing them unless they represent a hazard. Dead trees attract several species like woodpeckers. Several bugs like beetles infest the dead tree trunks, and woodpeckers will often visit your backyard to feed on them.

Photo by Imogen Warren

Choose a Bird Feeder

Pick a suitable type of bird feeder to make food available and accessible. A bird feeder should be designed to keep squirrels away, so they don’t feed on the food you’ve left for the birds.

The feeder should keep the food dry and should be easy to clean, so the food remains free of fungi. There are several types of feeders on the market, so you can choose the right one for the birds you want to attract.

  • Tray feeders are made of flat trays, and birds can access them easily. However, these are the most vulnerable, and squirrels will be able to eat the food easily. Moreover, in case of rain, the food will get wet, and you will have to flush the feeder and replace all the food.
  • House feeders keep the food in a separate area where it can be kept safe away from squirrels and other animals. The food gets dispensed as the birds feed on a little tray at the bottom of the feeder.
  • Window feeders work if you don’t have a spot to set up a bird feeder in the backyard. You can attach the window feeder to any window using suction cups, and this will allow you to watch birds that are coming for food.
  • Suet feeders are designed for suet cakes that you can prepare at home to attract different types of birds, especially woodpeckers.
  • Tube feeders dispense sugary water through a tube and will attract lots of hummingbirds that naturally feed on flowers.
Photo by Imogen Warren

Provide Birds with Food

If you want to call birds, you need to provide them with their favorite kind of food. Different bird species have different food preferences, so a little research is needed.

Author Note: Think about the species you want to attract, and provide a different variety of food if you’re hoping to attract a number of birds. Some of the birds you attract might be undesirable, like crows, but if you stick to high-quality food, you will be attracting more of the desirable species.

  • Corn and other types of grains are highly desirable by almost all bird species. However, corn and grains can also attract other animals like mice and squirrels. If you choose to fill your bird feeder with corn, you must make sure that it’s of high-quality and free of pesticides as it might be toxic to birds.
  • Sunflower seeds also represent a delicious meal to birds and also squirrels. They attract several species, but the shells must be removed regularly so the birds can eat properly. Black oil sunflower seeds usually tempt woodpeckers to come to visit your backyard, especially when food is scarce in your area.
  • Suet and peanut butter are attractive to cardinals, quails, sparrows, pigeons, and woodpeckers. Filling your bird feeder with these treats will help birds feel warm in the cold weather because they’re highly nutritious.
  • White proso millet is another delicious meal that attracts most of the species, from cardinals to crows. It also attracts other animals that might be looking for food in your backyard.

In addition to the food, you should provide the birds with grit. Birds don’t have teeth, and they need the grit to digest food properly. You can provide the birds with rocks, gravel, and sand. You can add crushed eggshells to the food during the breeding season because it provides the birds with the needed calcium.

Photo by Imogen Warren

Provide Birds with Water

Birds are attracted to the sound of water, so having a water fountain will definitely attract some to your backyard. If there’s space, you might be able to set up a shallow lake to provide the birds with a fresh source of water, so they can drink and even bathe in the summer.

A birdbath is another addition that will probably attract lots of birds to your backyard. However, you should always clean the water and make sure that it’s free of bird waste and dirt.

If you don’t have enough space for a fountain or bath, you should set up a container with a tray or dish underneath to provide the birds with fresh water. Make sure that the water container is set up away from the trees to protect the birds from the potential attacks of squirrels and cats.

Photo by Imogen Warren

Pick the Right Location for the Feeder

Choose the right spot to set up your bird feeder. A good location might be about three feet away from the window of your house if you want to watch the birds with your children from the comfort of your home. Placing it too close might be dangerous as the birds might collide with your windows and walls.

It’s a good idea to set up the feeder away from large trees, so squirrels and other animals won’t have easy access to the food. You should also look out for objects that might obstruct the birds while they’re flying. It’s a good idea to set up the bird feeder away from wires and other objects that might confuse the birds while they’re feeding.

Photo by Imogen Warren

Maintain the Bird Feeder

As a responsible bird-lover and homeowner, you need to maintain the bird feeder and keep it clean. Check the bird feeder regularly for any sharp edges that might injure the birds. If you feel that there are too many birds visiting your yards, it might be a good idea to set up two or even more feeders, filling them with various types of food.

Clean the feeder every week to remove any wet food. The moisture can cause the growth of mold, fungi, and bacteria that might harm the birds. After the rain, you should also replace the food and fill the feeder with clean, dry food. You should clean around the feeder and remove any food that falls to the ground.

Create a Nesting Spot

If you want birds to regularly visit your backyard, you might think about providing them with a safe nesting spot. You should think about the nesting needs of various species and create a nest that can be inviting to the birds.

Author Note: There are several birdhouse designs with various shapes and holes, and you can even try to build your own. You should make sure that the entrance is secured to protect the birds and their eggs from predators.

The nest should be well-ventilated and made of safe materials. You can add natural materials like hair, strings, and natural fibers that the birds might use for nesting.

Photo by Imogen Warren

What to Avoid if You Want to Attract Birds

If you want to attract birds, you should avoid food that contains artificial components or hard to digest ingredients. It shouldn’t be contaminated, old, or full of pesticides because it can be toxic to the bird.

Processed carbohydrates like bread and crackers contain some chemical ingredients and don’t offer much nutritional value. Processed meat like bacon contains nitrates and will end up attracting undesirable animals like mice instead of birds.

Low-quality seed blends might contain flax, oats, and red millet. These blends don’t offer a high-nutritional value and won’t be that beneficial for your birds.

Wrap Up

You can easily attract birds for food if you set up food and water containers in the garden. Several birds will be attracted to different kinds of food, so you should make sure that you’re providing the birds with easy access to high-quality food every day and make sure that the birds are safe from predators.

Fly high friends!


Is it good to have a lot of birds in your yard?

Yes. Apart from the mental health benefits and sheer joy of having birds in your garden, they are good for it too. They help maintain the ecosystem by pollinating flowers and eating unwanted bugs.

How long does it take for a bird feeder to attract birds?

It can be any length of time. You need to use trial and error and have patience. If they don’t come quickly, try changing the type of feed. Make sure the feeder is kept clean, even if it means throwing food away. It might also help to research what birds are found locally and what they like to eat.

Do wild birds recognize humans who feed them?

Yes, birds undoubtedly get used to humans and their habits. If you regularly top up your feeder at the same time of day, they will get used to you and be less wary.

Comments 2
  1. I have a bird feeder in which I put several different seeds worms fat balls etc… we don’t get many birds though. I have tried several different places for the feeder. The seeds sprout and I throw them away if there too long. Two cats like to sunbathe there do you think this puts the birds off or maybe the flag we have flying? It’s so disappointing.

    1. Hello! I think the flag is probably fine but the cats definitely could be an issue. Our cat loved scaring birds away from our feeder before we elevated it.

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