How to use a window bird feeder

Window bird feeders can better your birding experience from the inside out! Traditional bird feeders have to be enjoyed from a distance, but with a window feeder, you can view your backyard birds up close like never before! Window bird feeders typically use a suction cup mounting system to allow you to mount them directly to your window. You can attract all types of birds to your window with a hummingbird window feeder or a seed window feeder – it all depends on what you decide to fill it with!

seed window feeder

Will birds feed from a window feeder?

Most birds are comfortable coming up close to buildings to feed. The types of birds you’ll see at your feeder will largely depend on your geographic location as well as the vegetation in your backyard. It’s important to select a window feeder that will accommodate the size and type of the bird you’re wanting to feed. For example, if you want to attract larger birds like jays and cardinals, make sure your window feeder has an opening large enough for them to be comfortable feeding in.

Where should a window bird feeder be placed?

A window feeder should be mounted on a clean window using the suction cup mounting system. Try to mount the feeder on a window facing away from incoming weather patterns. When possible, place your feeder roughly 10 feet from a natural shelter such as trees or shrubs to offer a resting place for birds between feedings and quick refuge from any predators.


How long does it take for birds to come to a window feeder?

Just like with any new bird feeder, it may take up to two weeks for the birds to discover your window feeder. It may also take some additional time for them to become confident enough to figure out a new landing pattern or feeding mechanism.

Why won’t birds come to my window feeder?

If you’re still not seeing any birds at your window feeder after about 2 weeks, we recommend trying out a few of these tips to help the birds get comfortable with your feeder.

  • Take down other feeders: Birds may prefer to feed from dependable food sources like existing feeders. If you have other bird feeders in your yard, try temporarily taking them down until the birds find and use the new feeder. Once they are regularly using the new feeder, existing feeders can go back up.
  • Close curtains and blinds: Birds may be deterred if there is regular movement behind the window that the feeder is mounted to. Try closing the curtains or blinds to block any movement, then periodically open them more to expose the birds to the motion until they get comfortable.
  • Ease them up to the window: You may try unmounting the feeder from the window and setting it on a table several feet away from the window. Once the birds show interest, move the feeder closer every few days until it is mounted back onto the window.
  • Try a new seed type: If you’re using a seed window feeder, offer a universally popular type of seed in your feeder, even if the feeder will eventually be filled with a different type of seed. Try using black oil sunflower seed or a blend with a high concentration of black oil sunflower seeds as this feed attracts the widest variety of birds and is the healthiest option for them. Be aware that certain seed types, like thistle/Nyjer, can spoil quickly. It’s important to regularly inspect and change out seed to keep it fresh. Once the birds are accustomed to using the new feeder you can gradually mix in a different type of seed to attract new birds. Here is a list of seed types that attract specific types of birds.
  • Have a water source nearby: All birds drink water and need to bathe regularly to keep their feathers clean. Providing a consistent source of clean and fresh water from a bird bath, fountain, or a shallow pond will attract birds and increase the chances of them discovering your window feeder.
  • Plant for the birds: Try adding some flowers, bushes, or trees that birds love to your landscape to attract more birds to your yard.
  • Be patient: Before making any changes, try waiting at least two weeks to give the birds enough time to discover your feeder. As you try new locations, seed types or other changes, be sure to give the birds enough time in between to acclimate to the new modifications. Always keep your feeder full of seed or nectar to position your feeding location as a reliable source over time. And remember, always keep your feeder clean!

Are suction cup bird feeders safe?

Suction cup bird feeders have been tested to hold quite a bit of heavy seed and can also hold the weight of birds as large 4 oz. Make sure you mount your window bird feeder according to the manufacturer's instructions for the most secure placement possible.

Millions of birds die each year due to reflective glass on our home windows. To help prevent fatal window collisions, a window bird feeder can break up the reflective surface of windows to decrease the amount of bird collisions. For more information on how you can retrofit your windows to prevent bird collisions, visit the American Bird Conservancy website.

hummingbird window feeder

How can I make suction cups stick to my window better?

Before mounting suction cups to your window, make sure it has been thoroughly cleaned to prevent any dirt buildup from getting in between the cup and the window. You may use rubbing alcohol on the suction cups and allow them to dry before installing.

Suction cups will adhere better to a warm surface. If you’re installing your window bird feeder on a cold day outside, try lightly warming your window with a hair dryer or other warming device to help it hold better.

Make it a habit to push in the suction cups each time you refill and clean your window bird feeder. Releasing any air bubbles that have formed will help improve the suction.



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