How to Clean a Bird Feeder in 5 Simple Steps

Are UK Garden Birds in Decline?

Why Aren’t Birds Eating My Bird Food?

July 6, 2021

Are you wondering why aren’t birds eating my bird food? Have you introduced a new bird feeder and the birds are ignoring it? Or maybe wild birds don’t seem to be coming to your garden at all anymore!

Our fickle winged friends can often leave us wondering where we’ve gone wrong but do not fret! All is not lost, as this article aims to outline the main bird feeding mistakes made when trying to attract garden birds to your garden.

When introducing a new food into your garden above all it takes time for birds to take to it, as well as ensuring there aren’t any other contributing factors as listed below.

As much as we love our garden birds they are wild. All we can do is make our gardens as inviting as possible and hope that the birds come and enjoy all your hard work!

So why aren’t garden birds coming to my feeders?

The Bird Food

Garden birds much like humans each have their own tastes and this means that what a Robin may love, a Blue Tit might ignore. To remedy this there isn’t much to be done, so aim to offer as many food types as you can to attract as many feathered friends as possible.

Not only is the type of bird food important, its freshness is too. Birds are likely to ignore food and fat balls that are solid or mouldy in search of something fresher, so make sure to rotate your feed regularly even if they don’t seem to have taken to it yet.

Another way to reduce waste is to only put out enough food to last two or three days. This will also help keep the bird food fresher.

Storing your bird food in suitable containers is essential to maximise it’s freshness and keep the birds wanting more.


When feeding, birds need to know they’re near shelter to escape any predators if necessary. This is especially true for foods such as peanuts and suet balls which take longer for birds to eat.

Ask yourself; have you recently relocated your feeder or removed any trees or shrubbery? If so, this could be why the birds are no longer using your feeders as they no longer feel safe to feed there. The best was to regain their trust is to try to place the feeders near shrubbery such as bushes and trees which they can hide in. This should hopefully provide them the shelter they need and they should be back feeding in no time!

To maximise the chance of the birds coming to your garden, make sure it’s an inviting space. You could do this by adding a Bird Bath or a Bird Box to create their own little slice of paradise right inside your garden.

For more advice on  designing your garden with birds in mind check our post: How to create a garden space for your birds


If birds have stopped eating your bird food it may be due to surrounding predators. Birds are on the food chain for many known neighbourhood predators such as cats and larger birds. Although us humans may enjoy the friendly neighbourhood cat, our garden birds don’t. Make sure you provide a feeder in a safe spot above ground and near shrubs as the best way to keep the birds safe. Alternatively if cats are becoming a bigger problem to your garden birds you could try a Cat Deterrent.

Birds of Prey are slightly trickier, as although they do scare off garden birds they are also part of their natural eco-system. Besides offering the smaller birds a sheltered place to hide in near the feeders, however reluctantly you should welcome the predator birds into your garden as part of their healthy ecosystem – the circle of life!


A predator to bird eggs and a pest to garden birds, squirrels are also important to consider when wondering why birds aren’t eating your bird food. To keep the squirrels at bay and save the food for the birds, try using a Squirrel Proof Feeder to stop them stealing all the food.


When asking yourself why birds are no longer coming to your garden make sure you take into account their environment. Although nature isn’t spotless, garden birds prefer their feeders clean of dried food, bird poop and mould so make sure you clean your feeders regularly. Dirty birdfeeders not only deter birds, they can also be harmful to them. If not cleaned regularly they can spread diseases between birds which can sometimes even be fatal.

For a walkthrough on how to clean your feeder: How to Clean a Bird Feeder in 5 Simple Steps


Although it’s frustrating, birds can be fickle to change and may just need some time to get used to something new. The main advice is to not give in. Persevere with your new bird food for at least a month and if they still don’t take to it maybe it just isn’t the bird food for them. Hopefully however, the change of bird food will invite some new types of garden birds in instead!

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