Birds won’t eat your new bird food? Birds ignoring your new feeder? Or maybe garden birds don’t come to your garden at all anymore! Our fickle feathered friends can often leave us wondering what we’ve done wrong when we introduce a new bird food but they just won’t take to it. Don’t worry, all is not lost! This article will outline the main bird feeding mistakes made and how to rectify these to bring back the birds!

When introducing a new bird food into your garden first and foremost it takes time for birds to take to it, as well as making sure there aren’t any other factors at play which are listed below.

The most important thing to remember is as much as we love our garden birds; they are wild. All we can do is make our gardens as enticing as possible and hope that the birds come and enjoy all the hard work!

So why are birds ignoring my bird food?

The Bird Food

When feeding the birds it can often leave us curious and frustrated when one feeder seems to be emptied everyday, whilst another remains unvisited. Garden birds much like human each have their own tastes, and this means that what a House Sparrow may love, a Robin would ignore. There isn’t much we can do about birds’ personal taste, so aim to offer as many food types as possible to attract many different species. In time a new bird food might attract a new bird species! If you want to offer a selection of bird foods we recommend using a bird feeding station such as the Tom Chambers Deluxe Bird Feeding Station. Please note the feeders are sold separately.

The quality of the bird food is also important when wondering why birds aren’t eating. In order to maximise freshness bird food must be stored correctly in a cool, airtight container. When not stored properly food will go off, and birds will instead go in search of something fresher.

If this is a problem you’re facing try our bird food storage containers:

Premium Sunflower Heart Kernels
Wild Bird Seed Storage Container
Garland Dry Storage Bins


The location of your bird feeders is important to consider when trying to attract birds to your garden. Perhaps you’ve purchased a new bird food with a new feeder and placed it in the centre of your garden with nothing around? This may sound harmless but this could be the very reason the birds aren’t visiting.

Birds need to feel safe when feeding as they’re on constant alert for predators and need somewhere to quickly hide if one approaches. Feeders are best placed near trees or shrubbery as this offers protection to the small birds whilst they’re feeding. If you have recently purchased a new feeder or repositioned your own into a wide, open space this could be why the number of winged visitors has decreased. Try placing the feeder in a more suitable area to hopefully see a return of your wild birds.

If you want to increase the chances of birds visiting your garden, why not try increasing your offering. As well as food, water is an essential for birds as is often hard for them to find. If possible, try adding a bird bath as a source of clean drinking and bathing water for the birds to enjoy. You could even go one step further and provide a bird box!

Borderstone Frog Woodland Bird Bath
CJ Wildlife Robin & Wren Nest Box


Smaller garden birds are sadly on the food chain for many known neighbourhood predators such as cats and larger birds. Although we might not see them, they could be terrorising your garden birds and causing them to stay away. To make your birds feel safe make sure the location of the feeder is above ground and near shelter. If cats continue to be a problem in your garden, you could try a cat deterrent such as the RSPB approved CATWatch Ultrasonic Cat Repeller.

Birds of Prey such as the Buzzard are slightly trickier to deter. Although they do scare off smaller garden birds they are also part of the natural ecosystem. Ultimately, as long as bird feeders are located in sheltered areas, however reluctantly you should try to welcome predator birds into your garden; the circle of life!

Chapelwood Ultra Squirrel Resistant Feeder

A predator to bird eggs and a pest to birds, Squirrels could also be deterring your garden birds with their greedy ways. To stop the squirrels stealing all your bird food try using squirrel resistant feeders such as the Chapelwood Ultra Squirrel Resistant Feeder. Unfortunately squirrel resistant products don’t fully protect against juvenile squirrels who may still manage to reach the food.


Nature is far from spotless, however when it comes to your garden bird feeders keeping them clean is crucial. Not only will dirty bird feeders deter the birds, it could also be harmful to them. Dirty bird feeders are known to spread diseases amongst birds which can sometimes be deadly. Try to clean them regularly as well as rotating the food in them and this should help to attract the birds back to your garden.

Ark-Klens Spray
Wild Bird Cleaning Brush
Safe4 Odourless Concentrate Disinfectant Cleaner


However frustrating it may be, it takes time for birds to get used to something new. Our main advice is to not give in to their fickle ways. Persevere with the bird food for at least a month to give them adequate time to adapt. If they still don’t take to it, maybe its just not the food for them, but hopefully it will attract some new visitors for you to meet instead!