Advice on Bird Feeders and Nest Boxes

Advice on Bird Feeders and Nest Boxes

Feeders and nest boxes. People put them up and then are disappointed when nothing seems to be eating or nesting. So, they e-mail me or collar me in the street and ask what are they doing wrong?

All I can reply - with a smile - is “you are being impatient! Just wait.” “Yes, but how long?!” “Ah well, nest boxes I can’t predict. Sometimes, they are occupied in their first season. Sometimes, in the second or third year, sometimes never. Patience, and luck! But we’ve all seen that wonderful movie Field of Dreams, with Kevin Costner, haven’t we? Have faith.

Feeders don’t come with a “birds will definitely find this” guarantee – “your money refunded if nothing nibbles within a month!” – but the birds will find them, eventually! One thing I have noticed is that, if for some reason I move a feeder even a few feet, the birds flutter around the space where it had been, and may not find it again for several days. This seems to imply that they are a bit slow-witted, but I am loathed to accuse them of that. More likely they have an initial wariness of a new position and are drawn to a familiar one that they associate with food.

My advice: give it time. Patience is a virtue.

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Written by Bill Oddie

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