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In Malaysia, the country I'm from, almost nobody puts up bird feeders. I have just bought a bird feeder from overseas, but the birds don't seem to know what the feeder even is, as they may not have never seen one.

How do I encourage them to know to eat from the feeders?

My feeder is a tube feeder (I think? I'm so new to this).

Bird feeder lighter version

And the garden I have is about 11ft by 6ft as shown:

Lighter version of lawn picture

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    Time, clean food, and water will all help - so long as the food in it is nutritious then they will eventually come and feed. Make sure to just use feed designed for your climate and the current season. – Aravona Jul 2 '18 at 7:45
  • @Aravona They don't understand the concept of what a feeder is. They've most likely never seen one. – deskJob Jul 2 '18 at 9:18
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    Perhaps an image of the bird feeder in question would help - birds migrate, the chances of no birds in an entire country not seeing one would be slim, that's why my first word was time but without seeing the kind of bird feeder you're using this is ambigous, if you want birds to feed easily build a bird table. – Aravona Jul 2 '18 at 9:51
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    Fair - but actually a lot of what I would write is covered here: outdoors.stackexchange.com/a/8589/3313 – Aravona Jul 2 '18 at 14:26
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    Yes, it is out there, and that is what makes it so fascinating! Surely the combined intellect and creativity of this group of outdoorsy people can solve this problem! – ab2 ReinstateMonicaNow Jul 2 '18 at 20:40
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Malaysia has 781 species of birds, but most are not feeder-oriented, which would explain why people don't put up many feeders in your area. There are some, though, and they've probably seen feeders in their travels. Types and location of feeders and foods will bring them to you! Once you have an established group at your feeder, your yard will be a favorite spot and you'll need to order more feeders!

According to Attractiveness of Birdfeeders to Birds in the Garden, Malaysia, which studied 15 local species, five were the most attracted to birdfeeders. They were the Magpie Robin (Copsychus saularis), Yellow-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus goiavier), Eurasian Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus), Brown Shrike (Lanius cristatus), Black-naped Oriole (Oriolus chinensis), Magpie Robin (Copsychus saularis).

If you have any of those, it seems that you'll have the greatest chance for success. Others will probably come, but tailoring your feeding habits to these will give you that feeling of success as a beginner!

Research what types of foods your birds like most. According to a number of sources, the Malaysian version of those birds eat seeds, fruit, and insects. Their preferred seeds are millet, which comes in many colors and sizes. In fact, it looks like that's what's in your feeder, although I can't quite tell. If so, that's excellent! They do like kuaci, which is similar to sunflower seeds, but it's not their 1st choice, as it is with the American and European versions of the same bird. A seed blend including both is a good way to go. Their favorite fruit is papaya, and for protein they like mealworms. This shows a good basic diet. (It's a Malaysian vendor. I have no affiliation, it was just the best way to show you everything in one place.)

This page has a good list. Buy in bulk because once your birds are established, steady provision of food will keep them!

  • Try to choose feeders tailored to the needs of your birds. You should try more than one kind. Fill them with seeds. At the same time, sprinkle a lot of the same food on the ground around the feeder. If you have plants or bushes, put the feeder near them, and sprinkle the same food in, underneath, and around them. Many birds are shy or scared at first, and don't know what predators are around. They'd rather eat in the bushes until they feel safe in your yard. Whatever lawn, yard or patio you have, sprinkle the same seeds all around. The purpose is to attract the birds to your yard, then make sure that when they find the feeder, what's in it will taste the same.
  • Water near the feeders is very important. You can use a birdbath, or a dish, no deeper than 2 inches.
  • Be patient, and try not to get discouraged. Birds often take up to two weeks or longer to recognize a new feeder. Even birds who are used to feeders take a while to like a new one. We have 15 feeders, and when we add one, even if it's the same size, shape, and filled with the same food, they ignore it for a few days.
  • Some birds are ground feeders, and won't ever spend much time on the feeder. This is mostly the bigger birds, because their bodies are too awkward to stand on the feeder and grab the food. They'll still hang around though, because you'll be feeding them on the ground. Some birds prefer feeders placed on the ground, according to this source. The theory is that some are more comfortable stationary than on feeders that are blowing in the wind.

There's a lot more excellent detailed information in this question and answer which is already on our site.

Good additional sources:
Bird Feeding Basics
How do birds find feeders?
Hanging New Birdfeeders
Malaysia Bird Forum
The Malaysian Times

  • Sue, I have updated the question. I'll take your answer into consideration, thank you so much! – deskJob Jul 3 '18 at 7:35
  • Thank you. This has been very helpful! Kuaci is the chinese-to-english transliteration that means "Seed", hehe. – deskJob Jul 8 '18 at 0:56
  • I only have one feeder. I'll be getting a bird bath soon, hopefully. Thanks for the answer. – deskJob Jul 8 '18 at 0:57
  • My pleasure! Please come back and let us know how it goes!. – Sue Saddest Farewell TGO GL Jul 8 '18 at 17:35

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