Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

What makes bird feeders attractive to birds? : implications for wild bird feeder design

Rothery, Luke


Luke Rothery


Lesley J. Morrell

Graham (Graham W.) Scott


With ever increasing levels of habitat destruction and degradation across the globe, many avian populations are being displaced from their historic environments and home ranges towards towns and cities in the search for food and/or shelter. One way to support and sustain the displaced populations would be to use the bird feeding industry with its large global footprint; using supplementary feeders in order to increase the level of food resource readily available in an environment. The use of bird feeders in both urban and semi urban gardens, parks and green spaces is becoming increasingly important in order to provide sufficient nutrients to sustain populations, given the constant increase in environmental stress.

One way to achieve the increased transfer of nutrients to avian populations would be to make supplementary feeders more attractive to birds. This will benefit birds by providing a more attractive reliable food source during winter, benefit people by attracting more birds to parks and gardens and benefit the industry by allowing for the focus marketability of feeders most preferred by specific species.

Currently no work has been done on the colour preference for feeders in temperate granivorous or omnivorous species, with the majority of previous work done on tropical frugivorous or nectivorous species.

This investigation examines two main variables relating to bird feeders: feeder colour and the perch design, in order to investigate if these two factors have any effect on visitation rate both on a population level and within individual species. Birds demonstrated a preference for silver coloured feeders and for feeders with long (80mm) perches. Results examining both avian and human preference suggests a green feeder with a long perch may offer the most marketable combination for industry. There was no recorded effect of UV preference on the selection of bird feeder.


Rothery, L. (2015). What makes bird feeders attractive to birds? : implications for wild bird feeder design. (Thesis). University of Hull. Retrieved from

Thesis Type Thesis
Deposit Date Jan 24, 2017
Publicly Available Date Feb 23, 2023
Keywords Biological sciences
Public URL
Additional Information School of Biological, Biomedical and Environmental Sciences, The University of Hull
Award Date Sep 1, 2015


Thesis (6.2 Mb)

Copyright Statement
© 2015 Rothery, Luke. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.

Downloadable Citations