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What Time of Day Do Birds Feed

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what time of day do birds feed

If you want to attract birds in your backyard, you need to know what time of day do birds feed. When you have the idea, you can easily make adjustments to put bird food on the bird feeders.
But unfortunately, birds will generally feed throughout the whole day.

The bird’s hunting for food usually starts as soon as the sunlight comes out. Then, the birds will continue searching for food and feed as the days go by. However, other factors also influence the time and the habit of the birds feeding, as elaborated in this article.


Morning: The Most Active Birds Feed

The bird’s habit is to look for food and eat throughout the day. But it is in the morning, from 7:00 am to 11:00 am, they are most active feeding. I am talking about all the birds in general, but there are other factors which can affect or influence the ability of the birds to feed at a particular time.

This morning habit for the birds is the reason why you will hear plenty of noises during the early hours of the morning, as the birds will be close to your bird feeders to look for food. Morning is the time when the birds are most active in looking for food and feeding themselves.

The moment there is enough sunlight, expect the birds to come to your place to look for food. As soon as the light is comfortable enough for them to feed, they will go out and feed themselves aggressively.

From around 8:00 to 9:00 in the morning, expect the birds to be busiest in looking for food and feeding themselves and their baby birds. Expect the noise coming from your windows as soon as the light comes out, and darkness is gone.

Taper Off at Mid-Morning

feeding bird at morning

There are common garden birds which rely on bird feeders for their feeding. These birds are usually busiest around 8:00 to 9:00 am but usually fizzle out mid-morning. Of course, those birds that feed off the ground or those that look for their food above the trees come with different behavior.

But all of this feeding behavior does not apply to every bird. Other factors affect their habits, such as the weather, the location, and the surroundings. For example, when the weather is too difficult and the food sources are dried up, these birds may keep on coming back for their food.

Returning in the Afternoon

The birds’ feeding behavior covers all day, but the number of birds visiting your garden varies depending on several factors. They can return later, around 12:00 pm to 2:00 pm, as they will again look for food and feed again properly. Some birds will also come back from 2:00 to 4:00 pm in your garden.

In your garden, the arrival of these birds in the afternoon will also depend on the quantity offered to them. But rest assured that they will again look for food during this time of the day and start feeding themselves.

Feeding At Night

feeding bird at night

As soon as the sun goes out, it is normal for the birds to stop feeding when it gets darker. However, there are always exceptions to the rule, such as those nocturnal birds who are wide awake during the night.

The owl, for example, usually looks for food and hunts during the night. But for most birds, since they cannot see in the dark, the amount of feeding will be lesser since it is actually their sleeping time. So, when it comes to learning what time birds usually feed, it is basically throughout the day, with the busiest happens in the morning.

Factors Affecting Birds Feeding Time

Type of Season

The type of season can influence the feeding activity of the birds. During the winter season, the daylight is usually shorter, which means the feeding activity of the birds during the day will also become shorter. Of course, the morning will still be the busiest when it comes to their feeding habits.

During the summer season, it is expected that the feeding activity will be longer during the day because the daylight is longer. Most of the birds will spend a long time looking for food on the way until the late hours of the afternoon.

Type of Weather

The type of weather can also affect the bird feeding activity within a day. For example, when it is raining, few birds will likely be visiting your backyard to feed. When it is sunny, it is expected that more birds will visit your garden to look for food and feed.

Nocturnal or Diurnal

The bird’s ability to be awake at a particular time of the day can also influence their feeding activity. When the bird is diurnal, it usually sleeps at night and hunts for food during the day. These are the birds that visit your backyard in daylight. Diurnal birds include sparrows, robins, cardinals, orioles, and many more.

On the other hand, nocturnal birds are usually awake at night and sleep during the day. Their feeding routine usually starts from dusk until dawn or before the sunlight comes up. Nighthawks, nightingales, and owls are just some of these nocturnal birds.

Type of Bird Species

The type of bird species visiting your backyard can also dictate their feeding time. Most birds such as jays, woodpeckers, and cardinals visit a garden in the morning and come back again mid-day. They usually spend their time feeding from 8:00 to 11:00 am and then come back at 2:00 to 4:00 pm in the afternoon.

The number of birds visiting your backyard also varies depending on the bird species. For example, jays like to visit in small groups as well as titmice. Chickadees want to visit in bigger groups, just like the cardinal who always knows where the others are.

As far as woodpeckers are concerned, they like to come to your place one at a time. But it all depends on the type of bird food available in your bird feeders. These birds like to eat suet and peanuts for their meal.

Type of Location and Surroundings

The location and surroundings can also affect the bird’s feeding activity. For example, a much busier urban location will only be visited by birds for feeding during the time when the location is not busy. On the contrary, rural areas will have steady numbers of birds visiting for feeding throughout the day because of the quiet environment.


What time of day do birds feed? Birds will hunt for food and feed themselves throughout the day. It is usually much busier in the morning and late in the afternoon. But other factors can affect the feeding activity of the birds in a single day which must be considered to really understand their feeding habits.

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