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September 24, 2009


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The Zen Birdfeeder

Joyce, thanks so much. I appreciate your kind comment! Please stop by often!


What a fabulous site. Thank you so much for the info.

The Zen Birdfeeder

Grace, sounds like you might have young jays that are investigating food sources. Hopefully they'll quickly find that feeder is not a good source and will free it up for the hummingbirds. Keep us posted!

The Zen Birdfeeder

Sandra, I think you may have identified the issue - inadequate perching area. Especially with the cardinals, which are ground-feeding birds by nature, they require a decent size, comfortable perch.
If you can extend the perches that would be ideal. Good luck!


My hummingbird feeder is attracting yellow /green jays. I’m all for sharing, but the jays are scaring the hummingbirds away. Is this normal? What can I do? PS. Love your site.

Sandra Shanklin

I just got two new squirrel proof birdfeeders. Using the same seed I have always used. Mixed seed
in one, sunflower in the other. With the old feeders I had many birds including lots of cardinals and bluejays. All the birds have come back to the new ones, except those two. They seen to know it is food, but just don't know how to use it. The only difference I can really tell is the perches are a tiny bit shorter. Could this make a difference? I want my redbirds and bluejays back.

The Zen Birdfeeder

Roger, sometimes when you change things up, birds take a while to get used it. They fall back on what they know! Give it some time, or remove the other feeder temporarily. Good luck and have fun feeding the birds!


I recently added a much larger bird feeder close to my original bird feeder the birds have stopped coming what should I do

The Zen Birdfeeder

Isabelle, sometimes it takes birds awhile to find new feeders and to recognize them as a food source. Spread some seed underneath the feeder and temporarily tie a ribbon around the feeder to attract their attention.
Check out this post about the Rule of 2s and hanging a new birdfeeder http://wildbirdsunlimited.typepad.com/the_zen_birdfeeder/2011/03/hanging-new-birdfeeder-rule-of-twos.html

The Zen Birdfeeder

Re Johnson, I haven't heard before about peppermint stopping bird activity. I guess time will tell.
What we find is that sometimes a change of routine (a different feeder) takes awhile for the birds to adjust to. They may not recognize it as a source of food.
Be patient, and keep the seed dry and loose. Fill the feeder only halfway until they start to use it.
Good luck!

isabelle reali

I put bird feeders out for the first time yesterday and they all but not today. I thought maybe the food was old so I threw it out and bought new but no birds at all.

Re Johnson

We have had birds of about 7 species coming in for five years, now nothing , I added a brand new feeder filled with top notch seed , still not a chirp , peep or peck. What I think : I poured strong peppermint oil all around the house ( stops mice) a couple of weeks ago. But there is a hummingbird feeder 15 ft from bird seed and we have hummingbirds coming in all day. We miss our feeding birds.

The Zen Birdfeeder

John, thank you for your sincere concern for the birds!
Bleach is perfectly safe to use to clean birdfeeders when used in the proper dilution (9-10 parts water to 1 part bleach) and thoroughly rinsed. Water is fine for that rinse.
I also strongly recommend a good drying in the sun as well.
Bleach will kill bacteria and mold, so it is a good option for cleaning birdfeeders.
Enjoy the birds!

John H

I wouldn't have thought bleach, even in the diluted solution, would be ok to use to clean the feeder. Bleach just makes me nervous, knowing how powerful it is. Is there anything else that would be safe to use and effective, or would just a very thorough rinsing after cleaning be sufficient to remove the bleach? Thank you.

The Zen Birdfeeder

Ilisa, the raccoon scent might affect the squirrel's interest in the feeder, but I wouldn't think the scent alone would keep the birds away.


I have a large box mounted outside my window filled with bird seed. Both birds and squirrels had been enjoying it all day. For the last ten nights a raccoon comes and sits in the box and eats. Now the birds and squirrels have stopped visiting. Is it possible the scent of the raccoon is keeping them away?

The Zen Birdfeeder

Julie, if you have an identical feeder filled with identical food, it's probably the location they're not liking as much as the other locations. Try moving it a little to try to find a location they like.


Its only one feeder they will not come too. They like all the others. I just don't understand. Its all the same feed.

The Zen Birdfeeder

I'm sorry I can't answer your question, L.C. Possibly insect damage, or lack of the proper nutrient? Or perhaps, like you said, they were bred for show and not for the seed. Good luck in your search for an answer!

L. C. Nelson

I raised the seed myself but there doesn't seem to have anything in the seed. Could this be there is such a thing as hybrid seed?

The Zen Birdfeeder

Theresa, welcoming to the world of birdfeeding. Activity at birdfeeders is naturally cyclical, but do feed the birds year-round. When bird activity slows, just put less out! When it picks up, add more feeders and more food. Most importantly, have fun!!

Theresa Balkcom

Just want to say being new to feeding & really enjoying the birds in my yard I have had many questions which your site was the answer to all of them. Will miss them at the feeder but realize there are many sources of food in my area for them now as winter has past. "The Cardinal Family" I have watched has taught me so much. They are a Joy to watch taking care of Family.

The Zen Birdfeeder

Ryan, robins do not typically eat seeds from birdfeeders. They might eat from a crumbled suet that has fruit in it, or live mealworms, or softened fruit. They will also visit birdbaths. So don't be disappointed if your robin doesn't eat from your feeders, it's just a robin being a robin!

The Zen Birdfeeder

Larry, at this point, I'd just suggest a little patience until the birds get used to a new feeder. Like humans, sometimes it takes while for them to get used to change!


we have fed the birds in our garden for many years now, but the last two weeks they have stopped coming, why is that.

How can we encourage them to return as we lovely watching them

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