Birds Flying Past Your Feeder? Here's How To Attract Ground-Feeding Birds To Your Yard

No matter how tantalizing we make our feeders, with gourmet seed mixes or nutrient-rich suet cakes, some feathered creatures just won't take the bait. Certain birds like doves, sparrows, juncos, and towhees don't like to perch while they eat. As their name implies, ground-feeding birds prefer feeding on the ground or on other flat, hard surfaces. Give these hungry creatures a hand by providing them a flat feeding space filled with delectable seeds they won't be able to pass by.

Juncos, sparrows, doves, and towhees are some of the most common ground-feeding birds, and you don't need to miss out on their avian antics and striking plumage just because they don't love perching while they eat. And giving these birds sustenance isn't just about our enjoyment. After a snowfall or a heavy rain, ground-feeders may not be able to find dry seed that stays healthy for them. By attracting birds to your yard during the winter, you're doing them a favor. With a few products or materials for a DIY, your backyard habitat could get a lot more traffic.

Try a platform feeder

Whether they hang or stand on the ground or another flat surface, platform feeders will satisfy the sparrows and their friends. Platform feeders provide a wide, horizontal space with good drainage that allow them to follow their flat-feeding instincts but with some decided advantages over grubbing through the dirt and elements, and at the mercy of potential predators.

If you live in an area that gets lots of precipitation, a ground platform feeder with a clear cover like Duncraft's Clearview Ground Platform Feeder. The transparent roof keeps seed dry and free from snow without blocking our or the birds' view, and an added bonus is that it's made from recycled plastic. Birds are more likely to feed where they feel safe from danger, and the ability to watch their surroundings while they eat can attract more birds to a feeder.

If you don't have the funds for a top-of-the-line platform feeder, you can DIY a birdfeeder with a piece of plywood or a wooden tray. Although these home-made options don't feature drainage, the hole-free surface will hold tiny seeds like millet better than one with drainage holes.

Fill the feeders with the good stuff

Once you give your ground-feeders a space they feel comfortable in, they'll only keep coming back if you give them seeds they love. There are many types of bird seed, and it's good to know which ones will attract your favorites. White millet is at the top of the flock-pleaser list. Doves, juncos, American sparrows, and cardinals will gobble it up. However, it's also extra tasty to cowbirds and house sparrows, both birds that some homeowners prefer not to encourage in their yards.

Birds that love white millet love sunflower seeds just as much, so making both kinds available may be a way to reserve enough white millet for your birds of choice. Do be sure to purchase white millet; red and golden millet are common fillers in seed mixes, and they aren't particularly tempting to many birds.

Another alluring option for many non-perching eaters are rapeseeds. These morsels don't bring in too many types of birds, but juncos, quail, and doves will happily help themselves. If you have Gambels or California quails in your area, they are fans of milo, which is another name for sorghum.