Insect populations don’t just drop when bug-eating birds show up at feeders; instead, they gradually decrease over time as more and more bugs are eaten every day.
Feeders attracting a variety of birds to your yard will reduce the insect population for the simple reason that some of those species consume insects. Only birds that eat insects should be lured to your feeders. Be sure to provide perches for birds that feed on the ground in addition to feeders for Orioles and Hummingbirds.
Putting up bird feeders might attract the birds that will consume all the insects in your yard, so diminishing their population.
There will be fewer insects in the coming months, but in the meanwhile, it’s important to encourage the presence of wild birds that consume them. This includes both ground-foraging and aerial feeders.
You can choose to put up traditional seed, suet, and peanut feeders if you’d like, but the seeds themselves must be spread over the ground in order to attract and accommodate birds that eat on the ground.
Feeders on the ground can use standard platform and hopper feeders, but a ground level feeder is necessary to keep the food neat and tidy.
Now that you’ve extended an open invitation to all of the local bird species, you can enjoy watching them do what comes naturally: forage for insects on the ground and in the air, just like orioles and hummingbirds.
Placing bird feeders close to the area plagued by insects will help, as the birds will have easier access to the insects, spiders, and other arthropods that populate the feeders.
Bug numbers can decline
Putting up more than one bird feeder in your yard may help reduce the insect population.
The existence of natural predators, such as birds that feed on insects, is no longer effective in keeping bugs at bay; yet, these birds will eventually consume all of the bugs in an area.
Insects on the lawn can be taken care of by ground-feeding birds like Blue Jays and American Robins, but certain flying birds may consume insects as well. As a result, birds are able to grab insects while flying.
Orioles and, more importantly, hummingbirds are potential candidates.
If you want to attract a variety of birds to your backyard, including typical wild birds and the hummingbirds and orioles who eat flying insects, I recommend setting up a series of suet, seed, and/or peanut feeders.
You may notice that the insects and other pests that have been bothering you for months gradually disappear as birds begin to feast on them in great numbers.
If you want this to succeed, you need encourage the arrival of a variety of insect-eating species; otherwise, the birds will restrict their foraging to your feeders.
Feeders attract bug eating birds
Seed feeders, or seed bird food thrown over the ground, are the essential to attracting bug-eating birds, although platform feeders are the more obvious choice.
Many species of birds, including the ones listed above that are regular visitors to bird feeders, may enjoy feasting on the insects that have taken up residence in your garden.
- The Blue Jay is too large to perch on hanging feeders, but may use an open platform or ground feeder. Blue jays eat insects like caterpillars, beetles, and grasshoppers.
- Robins eat a variety of insects, including earthworms, snails, spiders, and other ground-dwelling creatures.
- In the summer, sparrows eat largely insects and other small invertebrates, but they are attracted to suet or seeds on many kinds of feeders.
- Less common at feeders, but an open platform will bring them; chickadees eat a variety of insects, spiders, and snails throughout the summer.
- Perch high on open top platform or hopper type feeder with seeds, but also eats caterpillars, moths, crane flies, and spiders.
- Birds of prey include spiders, millipedes, earthworms, and beetles, but the common grackle will also consume hopper feeders’ hanging seed.
- Common Redpolls, which are only seen during the summer, feed on a wide variety of pest insects.
- Ground-feeding Dark-eyed Juncos consume seeds at the feeder but also hunt insects such as beetles, grasshoppers, true bugs, and spiders.
- In the wild, Downy Woodpeckers eat a wide variety of insects and will also eat peanuts, suet, and seeds from feeders.
- Rarely seen at feeders, bluebirds of all subspecies (Eastern, Western, and Mountain) may end up hunting insects in your yard.
- A ground-feeding Northern Cardinal would use a platform feeder, even though these birds have been observed searching the ground for insects.
To attract the most variety of birds, it is best to invest in a few different types of feeders, rather than a single species-specific one.
Ground feeding birds are key
Many of the birds that frequent your feeders and feast on your seeds, peanuts, and suet would really be happy if you simply left them to forage for food on the ground.
Naturally, insects, such as spiders, and fruits are two of the most common foods of ground-feeding birds.
It’s important to have birds visit your bird feeder, but keep in mind that the ultimate goal is to have them stop worrying about the food and start focusing on the insects that are plaguing your yard.
Only certain types of birds consume insects and other arthropods like caterpillars, beetles, grasshoppers, earthworms, snails, spiders, etc.
Since different species eat different kinds of insects, it’s important to have as many different kinds of housing available as possible.
Caterpillars on leaves, beetle and grasshopper reduction, and more if only Blue Jays visit your yard.
For the best results, scatter peanuts and other ground-feeding birds’ favorite foods, such as seeds, around your lawn or deck in the area where birds already congregate on a regular basis and where the pest problem is most severe.
The alternative is to purchase a bird feeder that is placed on the ground.
Not all bugs disappear
Having a bird feeder around is a great idea in theory, but in practice it may not always work to keep insects at bay since the feeder may not draw in the correct kind of birds that eat them.
It’s possible that the birds will only eat from the feeders, therefore it’s not a good idea to overindulge them.
Birds have to spend a lot of time each day looking for food, so they quickly learn to depend on bird feeders when they are available.
It’s then a matter of crossing your fingers that the various bird species you’ve drawn to your yard through your feeders will start to forage on the ground, in the trees, and among your hedges, the same way they would in the wild.
If your bird feeders are too crowded, you can try putting less food in them and instead scattering the remaining seeds on the ground, where they will be within easy reach of the insects that eat on them.
In addition, a bird bath, ideally with running water, placed near the feeders, and watering the lawn when possible to attract insects, will help.
While bird feeders may not deter pests, the presence of birds in your yard increases the likelihood that those pests will be eaten.
Although it’s true that bird feeders can assist reduce insect populations, their main function is to attract birds that feed specifically on insects.
In the coming weeks and months, if the installation of bird feeders proves successful, the bug population may decrease.
If you want to draw in a wide variety of birds, an open platform feeder or a hanging hopper feeder would be your best bet.
Even though not all birds can be trained to use feeders, those that consume insects will still eat crumbs from the ground around your feeders.
The sheer number of common birds drawn to your garden by the feeders would then lead to the birds engaging in their natural foraging behavior and feeding on a wide variety of insects.
Insects can be kept at bay with the help of ground-feeding birds.
True, not all bugs will vanish, but it’s quite improbable that the bug problem will get worse as more and more birds flock to your yard.
Hummingbirds and orioles, in particular, are voracious insect consumers and are attracted to regular bird feeders. So, a nectar-only bird feeder, rather than one packed with seeds or suet, will be required.