What Time Of Day Do Birds Feed?

group of 6 blue and green birds eating from a brown bird feeder

When you are choosing a bird feeder and feeder location, you are probably wondering what time of day do birds feed?  This question can go in any number of directions, from all birds to the obvious song birds you are trying to witness.  Once you have your bird feeder set up and you’re able to watch them feeding, you’ll understand a little more about how they operate.  For now, let’s look at what you might expect once you put up your bird feeder.

What To Expect When Birds Feed

First, you’ll notice the noise.  Especially once spring comes.  Birds are incredibly noisy once the weather starts heating up even just a little.  If you have blue jays in the middle of winter however, they’ll be making plenty of noise for everyone, and you’ll always know they are there.  Birds will start feeding around an hour before sunrise.  Once there’s even the smallest glint of an edge taken off the night sky, the birds are ready to start the day.

What Time Of Day Do Birds Feed?

Much like roosters crowing at sunrise, birds are ready to feed as soon as there’s any daylight whatsoeverBirds are diurnal, meaning they sleep at night and are awake during the day. You’ll notice they seemingly feed all day and continue until dusk. At which point they generally go find a nice place to spend the night. Essentially, if there’s light outside, birds will feed. If there’s darkness, don’t expect much activity although there’s always a few stragglers.

You’ll most likely never see an owl on your bird feeder. This is because they are looking for field mice and other small creatures to eat, not birdseed. Remember that owls are nocturnal. So when considering what time of day do birds feed, owls fall outside the standard definition.  Other birds of prey however, like hawks, eagles, and falcons will gladly eat any time of day their prey can be spotted.  

This generally coincides with the times of day the song bird is active and feeding.  For this reason, you may someday witness a bird being plucked from the bird feeder by a raptor.  Don’t worry however, this is a rare occurrence.  Under no circumstances should this figure into your decision as to whether or not to build a bird feeder.

yellow and black bird showing what time of day do birds feed as being during the daylight

Does What Time Of Day Do Birds Feed Change?

The time of day the birds feed will change over time.  As the winter gives way to spring, you’ll notice some birds disappear into the woodlands. As snow melts and the first plants of the season begin to bud and grow, food sources diversify and for some, seeds just aren’t as appetizing.  

There are some birds who will only come to your feeder at certain times of day, and other who will show up as a group and stay for a few days only to move on and disappear until next winter.  Birds all have their own actions and way of being.  Some will stay all year, while others are migratory.  If they could talk, you’d undoubtedly get some interesting tales of northern Canada in summer, or the coast of Cuba in winter.  

What Time Of Day To Refill Your Bird Feeder?

It’s a good idea to load up your bird feeder when you get up in the morning. The feeder will likely be running low from the early morning birds. Regardless of what time of day do birds feed, this will give you something to watch as you have your morning coffee or tea.  You now have access to bird TV.

What Time Of Day Do Birds Feed Summary

Now you know that the time of day birds feed depends on several factors. First, what type of birds you’re hosting. Second, what time of year it is – seasonality matters. However, in most cases, birds feed from sunup to sundown. You should plan to refill your bird feeder when you wake up in the morning. Once your local birds have discovered your feeder, they will probably make a routine of eating in your backyard.