Updated at: 18-06-2023 - By: Jane Brody

If you want to see wild birds in action, keep an eye on the feeders the next time it rains and you’ll notice that fewer birds visit, and those that do can be seen fluffing their feathers.

Because a brief drizzle poses no threat to the birds, they continue to visit feeders even when it rains. However, fewer birds prefer to feed during periods of persistent downpour. Light rain doesn’t bother the birds at bird feeders because the conditions are still calm, but a heavy downpour can bring windier conditions that the birds avoid.

Do Birds Feed In The Rain-3

The next time it rains, stick your head out the window and observe the birds’ behavior.

Light rain, such as you could see, can encourage wild birds to visit bird feeders at their usual times, which are typically early in the morning and end before it becomes dark.

If the rain isn’t too heavy, birds will still use their feeders as usual, so long as you keep them filled.

Fewer birds, for instance, choose to postpone feeding during heavy downpours, therefore it is not uncommon to see birds continuing to feed despite the rain, while ruffling their feathers to shake off the moisture in much the same way that people do after using a bird bath.

This sparrow still comes to the backyard, rain or shine, to eat from the ceramic dish that’s been set out for the neighborhood birds.

Birds may easily reach bird feeders even when it rains because they can fly beneath running water from a tap or a bird bath fountain.

When it does rain, the wind can pick up, which the birds don’t like, and it can prevent them from going to the feeders. A bird feeder that hangs from a bracket or a limb presents a similar challenge.

Under a heavy rainfall, fewer birds will be out and about, but most birds will continue to feed regularly during a light drizzle.

Keeping bird feeders dry and safe from the elements, like under an overhanging tree limb or the overhang of a roof, will assist ensure the survival of as many birds as possible.

Birds feed in light rain

Even when it rains heavily, even the smelliest, most delicate wild birds that visit our yards will still come to feed at bird feeders.

Wild birds are more likely to visit a bird feeder during a light rain because it is a more secure environment, they can see better, and the wind is less likely to chase them away.

During a mild rain, birds will visit a feeder.

Look out your window the next time it rains during the time of day when the most birds visit your feeders, and make a mental note of how the scene differs from when it is dry.

In spite of the fact that there may be fewer birds at the feeders on any given day, the birds will continue to eat as usual.

Of course, birds are less likely to fly when it rains, but the ones that regularly visit your yard will still be within a few quick steps of your bird feeders.

Considering that, a trip to the bird feeder in light rain poses no problem at all because the birds are so close by in their nests or perched in the trees that they are protected from the wind and rain.

Delayed until heavy rain eases up

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However, heavy rain may force birds to delay feeding periods, despite the fact that most typical backyard birds can be seen to develop ruffled feathers owing to getting damp while they use bird feeders in the rain.

Hummingbirds can be spotted lingering under a heavy, running tap or fountain in the backyard to preen their feathers or hydrate themselves. Thus, you can imagine that heavy rain is a breeze in comparison.

It’s not that birds don’t like coming to feeders in the rain; it’s just that fewer of them do, which may explain why feeders may look deserted during downpours.

Why birds don’t visit feeders as often when it’s raining hard is due in part to the fact that strong winds accompany severe weather.

Birds are often seen taking shelter from storms, like those brought on by heavy rain, only to return to their feeding habits after the weather has settled down.

If the wind is light, rain can continue, but if it has died down, birds may return to feeders if they haven’t eaten enough.

Bird feeders do keep food dry

When bird feeders get damp, the bird food within them can become spoiled in as little as a day or two.

Although birds are less likely to consume the food in your feeders when it’s wet, and especially when it’s raining, a day of inclement weather might cause a significant amount of food to be wasted.

Birds will still visit feeders even if it rains, although they may not eat as much if the food has been ruined.

Birds can still use your yard as a feeding ground in the same manner they always have, however you may need to be more proactive in the event of prolonged rainfall and subsequent changes in the birds’ feeding habits.

If it rains for only a few minutes here and there, it won’t be a problem; however, if it rains for days or weeks in a row, you’ll need to keep the rain off the bird food and change it frequently.

Only bird feeders can be used to provide birds with food during wet weather, but if you have the option of placing feeders in a sheltered area under a tree or a building, you should do so.

Cover can benefit birds

Do Birds Feed In The Rain

Most birds will still visit their feeders during a moderate rain, but a severe storm will force a delay.

Since foraging is what birds do all day long as a matter of survival, feeders can be kept out in the rain until the weather improves.

To aid the more nimble birds, you may set up a covered feeding station for them to use. Birds can take turns eating for much longer than they need to.

This will aid in two ways: first, by preventing the feeders from getting wet and thus preserving the quality of the food within; and second, by allowing the vast majority of feeder-birds to continue using the feeders as they always have.

A tree provides excellent natural cover, making it an ideal spot to hang bird feeders.

If you don’t have any trees in your yard, the roof overhang of your home or shed may be able to provide some shelter from the rain.

Cover, in the sense that it keeps the birds dry as they use the feeder, allows the birds to continue using the feeder as usual, even though many of them would rather wait until the rain stops.


Although fewer species visit feeders when precipitation is present, certain birds will still visit in the rain.

Given this, most birds will still enjoy feeding at a bird feeder even if it rains, provided it is only a light drizzle.

Since birds need to consume their body weight in berries, nuts, seeds, or suet at bird feeders to maintain their health and survival, they are able to forage in rather difficult, stormy conditions.

When it’s raining heavily, fewer birds may go to feeders than usual, but the same birds can still be spotted foraging in the wild beneath cover, as they would if they weren’t trying to avoid the downpour by eating at feeders.

Even though some of the birds that usually visit your bird feeders might be delayed if there is a heavy downpour, the birds will eventually come out to feed.

Assure that your backyard birds may continue to feed as usual by placing the pole of the feeder under cover, or better yet, hang feeders in a tree.

Birds can still come to feeders even if there is heavy rain if they have somewhere to take shelter.

Although you might notice fewer birds at your feeders during a strong downpour compared to a moderate drizzle, they will still visit if you leave the door open.

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