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How to Attract Birds Without a Feeder (5 Easy Tips)

The best way to attract wild birds to your yard, as you may know, is to put out bird feeders filled with bird seed. However if you don’t want bird feeders in your yard for whatever reason but still want to enjoy wild birds, there is hope! So here’s a couple of tips on how to attract birds without a feeder.

Some birds don’t really eat at feeders anyway and prefer worms and insects, such as robins, and you may see these types of birds in your yards already. To attract more of these birds you can put out some dried mealworms in a dish or scatter on the ground.

If you want to attract a wide variety of birds into your yard, you are going to have to entice them with food and a water source. Bird seed is inexpensive though and doesn’t have to be placed in a standard bird feeder to attract many different types of birds to your yard.

Ideas for attracting wild birds to your yard without a bird feeder

I’ll give you a few simple options here for attracting birds without a bird feeder. If you know of any others leave them in the comments but these are really the easiest ways.

1. Make a simple feeder

You’d be surprised what birds will eat out of, they don’t really care how fancy your bird feeder is as long as they can get their meals from it. Just keep in mind though, without the proper safeguards from squirrels they will be eating that bird seed too.

This article has some neat ideas for making bird feeders out of household items such as old shoes, teacups, and empty plastic bottles.

2. Scatter seed on the ground

house sparrow eating seeds on the ground

Many different types of birds actually prefer to eat from the ground. Some examples of these birds are sparrows, juncos, grosbeaks, cardinals, and buntings.

Again though, you are opening the floodgates to all different types of animals eating your seed so I recommend this as a temporary solution.

3. Add a water feature

Image: aitoff |

A supply of fresh water is an important resource for birds. Not only do they need to drink and stay hydrated, they also need to bathe. Birds are always on the lookout for a good watering hole.

Adding a bird bath, fountain or small “pool” with a water bubbler to your garden will likely grab their attention. Moving water is best!

4. Plant food sources

You can offer food in your yard without actually putting out bird seed. Plants like sunflowers, coneflowers, black-eyed susan, cornflower, milkweed, asters and marigolds will all yield seeds that birds like to eat.

Also plants like raspberry, blackberry, blueberry, elderberry, virginia creeper, and staghorn sumac will attract birds that like to eat berries and fruit.

5. Shelter


Birds need to hunker down and protect themselves from the elements in inclement weather. They also need places to nest. A variety of trees and shrubs in your yard (including some evergreens) gives birds places to perch out of the wind and places to nest.

For cavity nesting birds, you can consider putting up a nest box. Or, if you have some dead trees in your backyard that aren’t a danger to your house, consider leaving them up. Woodpeckers especially like to nest in dead trees, and the cavities they create will attract other birds to nest in the coming years.

Do I really need a bird feeder to attract birds?

If you want to be serious about feeding birds and get to experience them close up and on a consistent basis then yes. Bird feeders aren’t expensive and can be placed in areas that are very inconspicuous.

If you aren’t allowed to put one in your yard for whatever reason, maybe a landlord won’t let you, then I would recommend a window feeder. They are super simple to get started with and will attract a variety of wild birds just like a normal feeder on a pole would. Check out our recommended window feeders here.


Simply put, the best way to attract birds to your is to offer them food. The best way to do this is to have bird feeders, specifically squirrel-proof bird feeders so that you are just feeding birds.

Check out our recommended squirrel-proof bird feeders if and when you decide to buy a feeder. For now though, use the tips above to get started and let the birds in your neighborhood know that your yard is a great little oasis to hang out in so they can tell their friends. Your yard will be the local hangout for all types of beautiful wild birds in no time!

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