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SummerShaddow

Refilling bird feeders, day or night?

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I have a strange question, one that was brought up by a neighbor.  I'm not sure what to think about this so am hoping someone here has an answer.  My neighbor and I talked for a little while today, and she told me she never fills her feeders during the day and does so at night so she doesn't scare off the birds while they're eating, especially during cold months.  While this sounds logical on the surface, it seems to me that moving about the yard at night may be more disruptive than filling those feeders during the day.  Depending on the yard, I would think many birds are roosting in shrubs, etc. at night and may become spooked with nightly activity out there like that.

Any thoughts?  She did make somewhat of a good argument, but I'm on the fence on this one.

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I usually fill mine during the day. I can see her point, but when I go out to fill them, if the birds are feeding, they just fly up in a tree and wait till I'm finished. They are usually back on the feeders by the time I get in the house. Sometimes if I take too long (in their estimation!!) they will chirp impatiently till I'm finished.

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I have no problem filling my feeders during the day. Most of the times my birds are back on the feeders before I get back in the house.

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We refill during the day. It spooks the birds off for all of 5 minutes. 

Around here, filling at night is just asking for other visitors. I had to chase a possum off the thistle sock the other night. Little turd was trying to rip it open!

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The colder the weather, the more tolerant the birds are of my presence.  They'll scatter when I go out, but they won't go far.  Like Bird Brain says, they're constantly critiquing my performance, and I never score well.  Like rpope15 says, they're often back eating before I can put the seed away.  Occasionally one may sit on one feeder pole while I'm refilling the other one eight feet away.  One annoyed Pine Warbler actually sat on the pole while I serviced the suet feeder 18 inches from him.

Refill them in the day.  They won't be gone long, it will be easier to see, it won't be as cold, and you won't step in the dog 'cookies'.

EDIT: and last week a Pine Warbler landed on the suet feeder as I was hanging it up.

Edited by Charlie Spencer
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If going out to fill the feeders is going to disturb the birds, I would say that disturbing them in the daytime when they're active and alert is better than disturbing them at night when they are sleepy and further handicapped by poor vision in the darkness. A bird being flushed from the feeders and having to fly off to a tree branch for a few minutes is one thing, a bird being flushed from it's nightly roost and having to find somewhere else safe in the dark would be far more stressful, I would think.

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I bring my feeders in at night, but if during the day one of the smaller ones goes empty, I go out and fill it up. Usually the birds fly to the nearest tree, but as soon as I turn my back and start walking down the driveway to the house, they are already landing on the feeders again. The Carolina Chickadees are really brave, and they are the first ones to come back while I'm really close. I think they are used to the fact that I'm the person, or thing that is putting the food in the feeders for them to eat, so they dont seem too afraid of me. And like the previous posters said, if it takes too long, I get a lot of loud chirps telling me to hurry, they are hungry :lol:

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On 1/18/2018 at 11:24 PM, meghann said:

We refill during the day. It spooks the birds off for all of 5 minutes. 

Around here, filling at night is just asking for other visitors. I had to chase a possum off the thistle sock the other night. Little turd was trying to rip it open!

Wow.  Didn't think of that.  And a thistle sock?  Dang.  No words here.  But you certainly bring up a great point... 

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On 1/20/2018 at 5:17 AM, MeInDallas said:

I bring my feeders in at night, but if during the day one of the smaller ones goes empty, I go out and fill it up. Usually the birds fly to the nearest tree, but as soon as I turn my back and start walking down the driveway to the house, they are already landing on the feeders again. The Carolina Chickadees are really brave, and they are the first ones to come back while I'm really close. I think they are used to the fact that I'm the person, or thing that is putting the food in the feeders for them to eat, so they dont seem too afraid of me. And like the previous posters said, if it takes too long, I get a lot of loud chirps telling me to hurry, they are hungry :lol:

I do have to go out to refill the Nyjer feeders, and if I have to do anything outside the titmice fuss at me to hurry up.  If I take too long they just go to the feeders anyway. lol

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On 2/24/2018 at 10:00 PM, mossyhorn said:

I have a couple of feeders at the edge of small wood grove.I usually fill them near sundown.

 

Our cardinals are usually still eating near sundown, so that's one reason they're filled just after dark.  Plus, living in a neighborhood, though heavily wooded, means these birds are used to hearing voices, footsteps etc. at night, especially when there's people working night shift right next door.  I may switch my schedule to refilling during one of their 'pauses' during the day.  I'd rather not do it at night anyway... since there's no telling what critter I may end up face to face with. ;p lol

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