window bird feeders do they work

Window Bird Feeders: Do they Work?

Don’t let limited access to a garden stop you from getting birds to visit. If you want to get an up-close view of visiting birds, a window bird feeder may be the way to go. But, do window bird feeders work? 

The short answer is yes, window bird feeders work great! Not only are window bird feeders an excellent way to see birds up close and personal, but they are also a convenient feeder that you can easily set up.

Those who live in apartments may find a bird feeder the perfect accompaniment for those who want to attract birds but do not have a yard. Window bird feeders are ideal for those who want to see a bird up close. 

What Birds are Attracted to Window Bird Feeders?

Blue Jay sits perched on pumpkin made into a bird feeder for a Halloween display

Most birds will want to visit your window feeder as long as you offer them an enticing assortment of seeds. Different types of seeds and feed will attract different birds. Brightly colored seeds will attract some species. Small feeders may deter other species from visiting.

Author Note: The type of bird you attract to the feeder will depend on various factors. These include the kind of food offered, the feeder’s size, and the feeder’s color. 

Birds are typically attracted to brightly colored seeds because they are the same as brightly colored fruit. Birds know to eat fruit when it is ripe because of the coloring. Ripe fruit is brightly colored, attracting birds by using brightly colored food or even a brightly colored feeder. Use a variety of seeds, suet nuggets, mealworms, large peanuts, and even dried fruit. And remember, if a seed mix doesn’t seem to attract birds, try a different assortment of food. 

How to Attach a Window Bird Feeder

Attaching a window bird feeder is simple to do. Use the following steps if you want to attract birds to your feeder. 

Step 1

If you have space, you can use your yard to attract the birds to the feeder. Screw the feeder to a separate pole erected in the ground. It can help to set up a bird feeding table close to your house and the window feeder. This can help get the birds accustomed to feeding close to your home. 

Step 2

Move the pole closer to the house each week. Ensure there is always bird feed in the feeder. If you have multiple feeders, endure that the window feeder is always filled more than the others. 

Step 3

Once the pole is right by the house, you can move it from the pole onto the window. The birds will already be accustomed to the feeder and are likely to visit the window feeder. 

How Long Does it Take for Birds to Come to a New Window Feeder?

If you are an avid birdwatcher, then you have probably heard of the rule of 2s. The rule of 2s is that it can take 2 minutes, or 2 months, to see a bird at your feeder. This is something else you should consider when asking window bird feeders do they work?

There are a few factors that affect how long and how many birds will come to your feeder. The factors that affect the success of your bird feeder are:

  • Type of feeder used
  • Food quality
  • Where feeder is positioned
  • Weather
  • Potential predators

Don’t be discouraged if it takes a couple of months before birds begin to frequent your feeder. To ensure your chances of success, keep your feeder filled with fresh seeds. Even if birds have not started to visit your feeder, keeping the seeds fresh is crucial.

Eventually, you will begin to notice a couple of birds tentatively visiting the feeder. Once one or two become brave enough, you can bet more birds will follow. 

Which is the Best Window Bird Feeder? 

Two Blue tits eating from a bird feeder

There are two primary types of feeders. One style will rest on the inside of the windowsill. The other will come with suction cups to stick to the window itself. 

Learn more about them both so you can decide which one is best for you.

1. Suction Cup Feeder

This style of feeder is one of the most popular feeder styles. The suction cup feeder will typically be made from plastic. A good quality feeder will be made of clear, durable plastic to withstand outside elements. 

Author Note: Quality suction cups will also be made strong enough to adhere to your window. Make sure you buy a quality suction cup feeder. It needs to be strong enough to adhere to the window and maintain the weight when it is filled with feed. 

There are many different types and styles to choose from. If you want to get the most extended lifespan out of your suction cup feeder, you should regularly clean and burp the suction cups. There are various styles of suction cup feeders, and you should choose one based on what food you will be putting on it. If you want to attract hummingbirds, you can get a suction cup specifically designed to hold hummingbird nectar.

2. Windowsill Feeder

The second style is called a windowsill feeder. The name is self-explanatory, but you may also know this feeder as a breadbox feeder. This type of feeder will fit directly into the windowsill and won’t be attached to the window like the suction cup.

If you want to use a larger feeder, then you should opt for the windowsill feeder. They are sturdier than the suction cup and can hold more feed. There are various feeders to choose from, and you will have to take the structure of your window into account. These feeders will typically be secured into place by closing the window onto the top of the windowsill feeder. 

Do Window Feeders Attract Insects?

Any food source will attract other insects and even other animals. Any feeder, whether window feeder or not, will attract other animals looking for an easy meal. Insects are the most problematic unwelcome guest, but there could be a more straightforward solution than you might expect. Simply find out what birds love to eat the insects that are coming to forage from the feeder.

The insects can quickly become food for some bird species. Use the right seeds and feed to attract birds that will eat insects. It may sound counterintuitive to attract insect-eating birds to your feeder, but adding worm meal to your mix could be your answer. The mealworms will attract insect-eating birds, making a meal out of the bothersome insects. 

If you are looking at attracting hummingbirds to your window, don’t be dismayed at the thought of insects. You can buy a hummingbird window feeder that is specifically designed to prevent insects from reaching it. These are sometimes designed with a moat that stops the insects from reaching the enticing feed. 

What Size Window Feeder Do I Need?

The answer to this question is not so simple. To answer it, you will have to decide how many birds you would like to entice to your window. Remember, the bigger the feeder, the more birds, but it also means more maintenance. You will have to ensure the feeder remains filled with feed. 

Larger window bird feeders can hold a fair amount of birds, while smaller feeders will hold only 1 or 2 cups of feed. You should decide the feeder’s size based on how often you want to refill it and how many birds you want to visit. 

Which Window Feeder Will Work with my Windows?

You should know the size of the window before you purchase the feeder. There is a wide variety of feeders to choose from, so you should easily find one that fits your specific window. 

Attaching the feeder is easy. As we have already mentioned, the breadbox feeder may require your window to close on top of it to stay stable on the windowsill. The suction feeders might offer you more flexibility. 

When Should I Place My Window Feeder?

Male Cardinal sitting on bird feeder

Author Note: You can place your new window feeder at any time during the year. Just remember that if you are using a solarium feeder, it may be best to put it during the warmer months.

Which Birds Will Use a Window Feeder?

Most bird species will use a window feeder. Smaller birds will avoid smaller window feeders.  Others will take some time before trusting a window feeder. Bird species that are a little shyer will be braver if you use a two-way mirror on the feeder.

Most feeders will come with a description that lets you know what birds it is designed for. You can read up about this before you purchase a feeder on the feeder’s description. The description will also let you know what type of seeds it will be more conducive for. 

What if Birds Aren’t Using the Feeder?

Firstly, be patient. Remember that it may take 2 days, 2 weeks, 2 months, or 2 years before birds decide that your feeder is safe. To help your cause, ensure the feeder is always topped up with fresh seeds.

You should keep tabs on the seed levels as well. Perhaps the birds are visiting your feeder, but you miss their visits. Check the seeds to determine if the seed is being eaten or not, and top it up with fresh seeds regardless. Old seed that doesn’t get eaten could turn moldy.

If the seeds aren’t getting eaten, it could merely mean the birds need more time to get used to the new feeder. 


Remember that it may take some time for the local birds to get used to the new feeder. You may find that one or two birds may tentatively visit your feeder. Be patient, and let nature take its course. If you have a quality feeder and offer quality food, you’ll be sure to attract various beautiful birds to your bird feeder. 

We hope you enjoyed this article on window bird feeders and whether or not they work.

Fly high friends!

Comments 1
  1. I live in an apartment building. Is there a bird feeder that does not use suction cups? I have no faith that the suction cups will hold and not lead to a nasty crash on to an inaccessible roof. Thank you.

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