What Time Of Day Do Birds Eat?

On stacking up your bird feeders with birds’ favorites and placing them in appropriate locations, you will notice that most birds will eat throughout the day. 

Intro Video - Backtobirds
Intro Video - Backtobirds

Birds usually start looking for food first thing in the morning as light appears, and they continue to do so till evening. They stop once it is dark. 

The exception to this is owls, and they look for food in the dark as they can see in the dark, unlike other birds and humans.

Do birds feed at specific times of the day?

Birds can be found feeding heavily in the morning, after the first light. From the first light, till dark birds seek food. They will look for food and keep consuming till evening. Once it gets dark, they stop feeding.

This is entirely dependent on the season. In winters, birds come out late as winters have late mornings, and in summers with early sunrise, the birds can be seen early.

After the morning feeding session, you can see that the birds start to fizzle out from mid to late afternoons.

What is the best time of a day to feed your bird?

Mornings, 7 – 11 am, is the perfect time to feed your bird. During this time frame, birds consume the amount of food needed for their nourishment.

Birds go out at daybreak looking for food. They spend late mornings, early afternoon hours napping, preening, bathing, and playing. They will last feed during late afternoons then return to the roost to spend the night.

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Do birds eat from feeders at night?

No, birds don’t usually eat from feeders at night as they are diurnal. They cannot see in low light conditions or complete darkness. 

Though some birds may feed at night or during early evenings, provided it is a well-lit area. It is unlikely to fly towards the food, but it is possible to spot birds feeding after dark.

Factors that affect when birds feed

Since birds feed throughout the day, we can try to understand what affects their feeding times by looking at the following factors. 


This is quite simple when you think of it. Birds won’t leave the safety of their nests and bills to feed in extreme weather conditions. For example, birds don’t feed as much when it is raining. They will wait for the rain to stop before going out to look for food. 


When winter comes, the days get shorter. This means that the hours with sunlight during the day are much less. Birds prefer to eat in light because it is easier to look for food. This is why birds will start feeding later and end earlier during winter.

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How many times a day do you feed a bird?

As a rule of thumb, it is best to feed birds once and at a specific time every day, This way, the birds will know when to expect food.

It is best to place this feeding time between 7 – 11 am as birds come out for their main meal during this period. And this is the time when they feed the most.

Will birds starve if you stop feeding them?

If you leave your feeder empty for a few days, birds might be forgiving about that. But if your feeder is consistently empty, then it won’t attract any birds. For caged pet birds, they can eventually die if not fed.

Wild birds get most of their food from nature, they won’t starve, but they won’t be returning to a food source that is unreliable.

At what time of the day do birds eat is something every bird keeper or a bird feeder seeks to know. The answer is – all day long. 

Birds flock out for food first thing in the morning. Once they have had their fill, they go about singing, napping, and playing. They will keep snacking now and then till it’s late afternoon. 

During early evenings, all birds move back to their nest or any other resting spot and stay there until the next morning as they don’t see in the dark. Nocturnal birds are the only exception to this as they feed at night.

Related Read: How To Cope With The Loss Of My Pet Bird

Should I refill my birdfeeder everyday?

It’s unlikely that the birds that visit your birdfeeder will eat it all. So, you probably won’t need to refill it every day. If you think the feeder is empty, you can refill it. If you find that the food is disappearing too soon, you might want to check for small animals like squirrels which might be stealing all the food from your birdfeeder.  

Also, monitor how much the birds are eating. Make sure you are not overfeeding the birds because that won’t be good for them. 

Related Read: Do Pet Birds Smell? Even With Well Maintenance?


It is said that birds feed more in the morning. You might have even heard the popular saying “the early bird gets the worm” which implies that birds have to start looking for food early in the morning.

It has been observed that birds feed throughout the day. Feeding timings depend on weather, season, and the availability of food.

Birds like owls are nocturnal and feed at night. They have eyesight which is adapted for this time. Diurnal birds are those which are active during the day and these birds generally feed during the daylight hours.