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September 24, 2009


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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


Hi, I have had a single robin(female) visit my feeder for the past week now, but now she just hangs around it and never eats from it, could this mean it needs new seeds in it, I also provide suet balls they look fine and nuts they also look fine

How can I tell if the seeds need changed?


I bought a new hopper bird feeder made out of recycled Materials. I put it in the same spot where I had another feeder. The birds will come to feed on the ground but not go onto this feeder. They look at the feeder but want nothing to do with it. Same food also. Any suggestions?

The Zen Birdfeeder

Lisa, thanks for your "thumbs up"!

The Zen Birdfeeder

Bill, the predator in the area could very well impact the activity at your birdfeeder, but it also could be that they are still feeding on natural food sources that are still available. While activity is slower, only fill your feeders halfway. Then when it picks up again, fill them more. Good luck!


Wow I just stumbled stumbled upon your site trying to get an answer on how long it would take before the birds noticed my new feeder. I love this site. Lots of information.



I work hard keeping my feeders filled and freshness is not a problem, One feeder I had to fill every other day. Now it stays full for a week or more. I have noticed a rather large hawk coming into the area and he may be the culprit.
I did accidentally purchase a feed that was filled with millet, red millet and black oil sunflower seed. I mixed more sunflower seed into the mixture, then it seemed like the feeding slowed.
I went back to 100% black-oil sunflower seeds but the birds just have not been as plentiful.

The Zen Birdfeeder

Angy, good job keeping the food fresh and feeder clean. First thing we always recommend - use clear nectar if you aren't already. Second thing, try moving the feeder slightly. Sometimes it doesn't take a lot either. Good luck and let us know.

Angy C.

I have hummingbird feeders out and one keeps flying up to them but doesn't feed. I wonder why? The food is fresh. Thanks for any advice.


Hmmm... I wonder if Stone Maven's advice would work for PEOPLE trapped in cubicles all day long?

The Zen Birdfeeder

Stone Maven - I'm glad your cat had improved health later in its life but I doubt your results are typical. Study after study after study PROVES WITHOUT A DOUBT: indoor cats live longer than outdoor cats. Thank you for sharing your story.

Stone Maven

Great article, but I disagree that cats live longer living indoors. We had one that lived that long as an outdoor cat. Initially, she was an indoor cat for the first 12 years of her life. She had all sorts of health problems. Finally at 12, we decided to let her die peacefully at home on her own time. She wasn't suffering. Just week and jaundiced and thin as could be. Up to that point, we had spent thousands in vet bills only to be told she had liver cancer. We started putting her outside because it was sunny and we felt she should enjoy nature before she kicked the bucket after 12 years indoor. Lo and behold, that cat got better. Her yellow went, she got fat and she became wild queen of the outdoors. She just needed SUN, FRESH AIR, GREENS and yes, a diet of mice and birds. Although, she was too old to catch the birds - she still caught one mouse a day even though we were feeding her. Never again, will I cage a cat indoors. Windows now have so much UV protection in that cats and dogs cannot get their sun therapy anymore with them. In addition, they need the earth and nature far more than we do.

Just wanted to put that out there for any cat lovers that might have an indoor cat with chronic health problems. I know of so many. Before putting your cat down, try giving them back to nature and see if that helps. Our cat lived many more years and enjoyed her life outdoors. She was a beautiful long-haired siamese kitty with blue eyes.

The Zen Birdfeeder

Honeylocs, thank you! Glad I could help. Thanks for stopping by.


Very helpful article. I'd wondered why my birds vanished for a week a month ago. They stopped coming around again this morning. I read your article, looked out, spotted a hawk in the top of a tree.

The Zen Birdfeeder

Lilbiit, that's interesting. I'll have to give it a try. But you'd need a lot of garlic and rain would wash it away, so I'd prefer a more permanent solution. Thanks for the tip!


a good way to keep cats away is to use powdered garlic in the areas around the feeders. They move on to other locations.
Get it in bulk!

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  • Our eyes and ears should be open and alert to the natural wonders that surround us every day. Take time to look out our windows to see the birds that visit us and open our windows to hear them. Walk around whatever space we have to enjoy the birds in nature. Every day, work on improving our powers of observation.


  • Nature happens. We cannot MAKE natural things happen (or NOT happen). We can create habitats to encourage natural things to happen around us, but there are no guarantees.


  • Birdfeeding comes with responsibilities to the birds and the environment we share with them. If you are unwilling to accept these responsibilities, you shouldn’t feed the birds. We also have a responsibility to share these natural wonders with the next generation.