Are Backyard Bird Feeders Bad? (Find OUT)

Feeding backyard birds can be a rewarding hobby for nature enthusiasts, but are bird feeders bad for your backyard ecosystem? In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the potential negative impacts of bird feeders, from attracting pests to disrupting natural foraging habits.

We’ll also provide practical tips on how to maintain a healthy backyard habitat while still enjoying the beauty and companionship of wild birds. If you’re looking to make your outdoor space more bird-friendly, we’ll discuss alternatives like creating a modern backyard that promotes natural food sources and provides safe nesting sites.

So, let’s embark on this journey of understanding the impact of bird feeders on your backyard ecosystem.

The PROS & CONS of Backyard BIRD Feeding
Key Takeaways
Backyard bird feeders can have both positive and negative impacts on birds and the environment.
Providing a variety of food types and keeping feeders clean can help mitigate negative impacts.
Avoid feeding birds foods that are unhealthy or potentially harmful, such as bread or junk food.
Balancing the benefits and potential drawbacks of bird feeding can help you make informed decisions about backyard wildlife management.

Good For Birds?

Bird feeders are good for birds, as they help them to survive by providing a food source at times of the year when natural sources of food may be scarce. They can also make your yard more interesting and fun for you and your family or friends. 

Bird feeders provide an opportunity to see birds up close, which provides an opportunity to learn about these fascinating animals that many people never get to experience otherwise. 

It’s also a great way for kids to learn about nature and develop their sense of wonder about the natural world around them!

While bird feeders can be beneficial in so many ways, there are some downsides too. For example: if you don’t clean out the seeds that fall onto the ground below your feeder regularly enough (or at all), this will attract insects like ants or termites into your yard; 

These insects could then invade other areas of your house like windowsills or doorways where they might bite someone walking through them! In addition: 

If there’s not much pollen available during certain parts of springtime then some bees may starve because there isn’t enough pollen coming from flowers nearby where these bees typically pollinate plants!

Ants can be a common sight in backyards, but did you know they can have both positive and negative impacts? Learn more about how ants can affect your backyard ecosystem and how to manage their presence.

Good For The Environment?

You might be surprised to learn that bird feeders can actually be good for the environment. For example, birds are a great way to control pests, such as mosquitoes and other insects. While you may not want them in your garden, they certainly help keep away other unwanted guests.

Bird feeders can also help people enjoy nature in a way they wouldn’t otherwise be able to by attracting birds into their backyards and front yards (or even living rooms).

They create an opportunity for people who would otherwise never get outside to watch or interact with wild animals up close. 

This is particularly great for kids who have limited access to wildlife where they live; watching birds at home allows them to gain exposure without having to travel far from home or school! Plus it’s educational!

Infecting Other Wild Bird Species?

It is important to note that the reason we have bird feeders in our yards is to attract birds and give them a place to get food. So, it’s not a good idea to use these as a way to treat sick birds or those that are injured.

If you come across an injured bird, try contacting local wildlife officials or the nearest SPCA for advice on how best to handle the situation.

Are you considering raising animals in your backyard? From chickens to bees, there are many options to choose from. Check out our guide on 11 animals that can be raised in the backyard to learn more about the benefits and considerations of backyard animal husbandry.

Tips for Responsible Backyard Bird Feeding
Clean feeders and bird baths regularly to prevent the spread of disease.
Provide a variety of food types, such as seeds, suet, and fruit, to attract a diversity of bird species.
Avoid feeding birds foods that are unhealthy or potentially harmful, such as bread, junk food, or foods high in salt or sugar.
Consider the impact of bird feeding on the environment, including potential attraction of invasive species or predators.
Be mindful of local laws and regulations related to bird feeding.

Bad For Birds?

One thing you should keep in mind is that feeding birds can cause them to lose their fear of humans and other animals, including predators. When a bird becomes accustomed to being fed by humans, it loses its natural wariness of us (and other animals).

This is especially true if we throw food at the bird so that it’s forced to eat from our hand. This causes birds to become dependent on humans for food instead of finding their food sources.

If they’re used to eating out of our hands or off our back porch, they may not be able to survive in nature once they’re released.

Common Backyard Bird Feeder Birds
Blue Jays

Attracting Rats?

You may be surprised to learn that bird feeders can attract rats. Rats are attracted to bird seed and will try to get at it, whether it’s in a feeder or just lying out on the ground. 

These pests carry diseases that can be transmitted from rats to humans, so if you want your backyard to be safe for you and your loved ones, don’t encourage them by providing an easy source of food.

They’ll also cause property damage as they burrow through the soil and chew up the wiring (which can lead to fires). And while rats are small creatures, they have sharp teeth that can bite people and their bites aren’t always easily visible or felt until later on when an infection develops!

Besides humans and other animals being bitten by these pests, birds have been known to suffer injuries when trying to access food sources at ground level where rats tend to hide during daylight hours. 

If this happens often enough over time then eventually birds might stop visiting altogether because they no longer feel safe around these dangerous predators lurking nearby.”

Deer can be a beautiful sight in the backyard, but they can also cause damage to plants and trees. If you’re looking for ways to keep deer out of your yard, check out our guide on how to keep deer out of your backyard for effective and humane strategies.

Attracting Squirrels?

Are backyard bird feeders bad? For many people, they’re a welcome addition to their outdoor decor. They’re also great for attracting birds! But there’s one downside that can’t be ignored: squirrels. 

Squirrels are attracted to bird feeders and will make themselves at home on your feeder, whether or not you like it. This can be problematic for several reasons:

  • Squirrels steal bird food from the feeder, depriving the birds of their most essential resource.
  • If you have a large enough number of squirrels living in your area (and this is something that often goes overlooked), they may even steal all of the food before any birds get any chance to eat anything at all!
  • In some cases, squirrels have been known to attack and damage bird feeders to gain access to their precious bounty within

Attracting Other Animals?

By attracting birds to your yard, you may also attract other animals. These include rats, squirrels, and raccoons. All of these are not just pests but also potential carriers of disease. If you have cats or dogs in the house, they may try to get into the feeder when their owners aren’t looking.

Foxes and deer will eat birdseed too as well as any other food that gets spilled on the ground near it which can cause damage to your lawn or garden plants if not cleaned up after every day or so

Raising Disease Rates In The Bird Population?

If you’re a bird enthusiast, you’ve probably seen the signs of disease in your backyard flock. Have you ever wondered why birds can get sick from eating bird feed?

Well, it’s actually pretty easy to avoid this by simply being aware of what you’re putting out there. 

For example, if the bird feeder is near a window then there’s going to be lots of dust and that can spread disease so make sure that it is not somewhere where there is going to be too much dust or dirt kicked up by cars driving past or anything like that.

If your backyard birds are showing signs of illness such as coughing, sneezing, and discharge from their eyes or nose then try cleaning out all the food containers with hot water and washing them down with soap before refilling them with fresh food again. 

This should help prevent any further bacterial growths on any surfaces inside those containers which could potentially cause more problems than just making little droppings everywhere!

Are you tired of maintaining a traditional grass lawn in your backyard? Consider switching to an alternative groundcover that requires less water and upkeep. Check out our guide on what to replace your backyard grass with for ideas and inspiration.

Dislocating Birds From Their Migratory Routes And Starving Them During Migration?

If you have a bird feeder in your backyard, it’s likely that many of those birds are migrating to find food and shelter. When you put out more food than there was previously available, it draws in more birds than the ecosystem can support. 

This means that instead of finding food and water to survive, they’ll be competing for food at your backyard feeder.

By providing too much of a good thing at once, you’re disrupting their migratory routes by making them travel further than they would normally want to go in search of food or water and potentially causing them deaths due to exhaustion or starvation.

Wasting Your Money And Not Feeding Many Birds?

You may be wasting your money and not feeding many birds. You see, there are two problems with bird feeders:

Birds won’t necessarily find them. Yes, you can buy a special feeder that attracts certain species of birds, but this is far from foolproof. 

For example, if you want to attract cardinals, you can buy a red-colored bird feeder but what if the cardinals in your area aren’t attracted to red? It’s all about trial and error (and research).

There’s no guarantee that they’ll keep coming back once they discover it’s there. Once again, every species has its own specific preferences when it comes to food preferences.

There’s no guarantee that once one type of bird finds one type of food source it will keep coming back for more especially if there are other types of food sources nearby as well.

Backyard Bird Feeders Are Not That Bad But You Need To Be Responsible When Using Them

If you have a bird feeder in your backyard, you are not a bad person. You are not wasting money, time or food by feeding birds. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Bird feeders can be beneficial to both you and the birds!

Backyard chickens aren’t just great for fresh eggs, they can also provide environmental benefits like natural pest control and fertilization. Learn more about how backyard chickens can benefit the environment and how to responsibly raise them for maximum sustainability.


If you are looking to attract birds in your backyard, then a feeder is a great way to do it. Just make sure that you are using good quality bird food, keeping it clean, and putting the feeder in an area where there’s not too much human traffic or cat activity (cats love birds).

Further Reading

Here are some additional resources related to backyard bird feeders that you may find helpful:

The Pros and Cons of Bird Feeders: This article from the Audubon Society provides a detailed overview of the benefits and drawbacks of backyard bird feeders.

Feeding Birds FAQs: The Cornell Lab of Ornithology answers some common questions about feeding birds in your backyard.

How to Clean a Bird Feeder: This HGTV article explains why it’s important to keep bird feeders clean and provides step-by-step instructions for how to do it.

Feed or Not Feed Wild Birds? – This article from the US Fish and Wildlife Service provides an overview of the benefits and potential drawbacks of feeding wild birds in your backyard.

Bird Feeders Are Good for Some Species but Possibly Bad for Others – This article from Scientific American discusses the complex ecological impacts of backyard bird feeding and provides guidance on how to feed birds responsibly.

Feeding Birds in Your Backyard – This resource from the Humane Society of the United States provides tips and best practices for feeding birds in your backyard, as well as advice on how to avoid potential negative impacts on bird populations.

Birdseed 101: The 10 Best Types for Wild Birds: If you’re new to backyard bird feeding, this article from Bird Watcher’s Digest can help you choose the best type of birdseed for your feathered visitors.

How to Attract Birds to Your Yard: This Better Homes & Gardens article offers tips for creating a bird-friendly habitat in your backyard.


Here are some frequently asked questions about backyard bird feeders:

Is it okay to feed birds year-round? Yes, it is safe to feed birds year-round, but be sure to clean your feeders regularly to prevent the spread of disease.

What types of birdseed are best for different bird species? Different bird species prefer different types of seed. Sunflower seeds, nyjer seed, and suet are popular choices, but it’s important to research the specific needs of the birds in your area.

Do bird feeders attract rodents? It is possible for bird feeders to attract rodents, but taking steps like cleaning up spilled seed and using squirrel-proof feeders can help prevent this.

Are there any birds I shouldn’t feed? It is generally safe to feed most bird species, but avoid offering birds food that is high in salt, sugar, or fat.

How often should I clean my bird feeders? It’s a good idea to clean your bird feeders at least once a month, or more frequently if you notice mold or other signs of contamination.