Bird Barn logo
Great Tit standing amongst loose peanuts to feed off on surface

Best way to STOP feeding birds

You could very well have a genuine reason to stop feeding small common garden birds, but remember unless its for their own health, there's no reason too.

What you can do is slowly reduce the amount of food you offer daily, before reducing the bird feeders to one, so food is less reliable. Hopefully in this time the regulars to your garden would discover new feeding grounds. Never stop feeding in drought or harsh winter, but wait until the nesting season is over.

Its a strange thought of putting in the effort to stop feeding wild birds, thus stopping them ever coming to your garden - rather than attracting birds to a new feeder.

But I understand it must be done once in a while as wild birds can be in danger.

Never remove bird feeders or a bird table though just because you read somewhere you should stop feeding birds, at a certain time of the year... its simply not true.

Best way to stop feeding birds who come to your garden would be to reduce the bird feeders - while going on to reduce how much bird food is left out for them.

Once they come to rely on you, it can be hard on them to find new feeding grounds. But to reduce what you regularly put out could see them go elsewhere in the meantime to find more food hanging up in other gardens.

Nothing serious can happen if you stop feeding birds, but picking the wrong time of the year can have serious consequences. Example of that is in a drought or harsh winter months which is guaranteed to effect their food sources in nature.

Birds come to reply upon bird feeders so much, they will simply seek out new ones. So with that in mind, wait until a close neighbour sets up a bird feeder as the best way for you to stop feeding wild birds.

Nesting season is over

As the wild bird nesting season is pretty much over come the end of August in the UK, to stop feeding birds then would be best for the safeguard of hatchlings.

So as most young have left the nest come September, to remove wild bird feed in your garden then isn't going to cause a food shortage for the new parents.

Wait until the nesting season is over in the UK as a way to judge the best time too stop feeding birds.

However, the nesting season can go on beyond the recommended month for weeks or a month after - so its up to you too judge the best time to pack it all in.

But what you must never do when feeding small common garden birds on a regular basis, is to stop feeding them when the weather is hard to get through for us, and them.

Not in drought or harsh winter

Best way to stop feeding birds would be in the Autumn I believe, but in this time its likely you can avoid harsh weather conditions.

Autumn is not likely to see a drought in the UK, but its feels too soon to have a blanket of snow covering the country.

Of course a thick layer of snow that lasts up to a month would make it near impossible for birds to forage off the ground. Whereas food grown in nature is not only going to be covered in snow, but it could be difficult to get at in a frost.

That is especially when natural food can be ruined if a long spell of cold weather is present.

In a drought during the summer months, this could absolutely effect all wild birds, as natural food sources are dried up nationwide.

Common misconception is to stop feeding birds in summertime, but what good is that when they become so dependent on us to feed them in our gardens all year round.

Reduce feeder numbers

Best way to stop feeding birds if you've always had bird feeders hanging up on a bird feeding station or added to a bird table, is reduced numbers.

Not so much a bird table mind you, but if in case of a bird table you can always reduce the amount of food you offer daily.

To then remove all hanging bird feeders but one, you can then allow the wild birds to get used to the change of their daily feeding.

Instead, they could still arrive in your garden to feed, only they may go elsewhere to seek out additional food sources.

Benefit to that is, once the remaining bird feeder has been removed on a random day, they can move onto their backup feeder nearby.

Birds who visit our gardens come to depend on bird feeders, so to remove them for whatever reason is not going to benefit them, at all.

Dismantle feeding area

Now that the bird feeders have disappeared from your garden landscape, its probably best to remove the remaining bird feeding equipment.

To still have it out in the garden is not going to hurt, but to remove it all together would at least tell the birds its gone and its not coming back.

That way you could save them a trip to your garden as they believe food is still available.

Uproot the bird feeding station on a pole then by putting it away in the shed.

Likewise, its time to move the heavier wooden bird table on a stand into the shed too, but that is if you haven't made the bird table part of the garden landscape permanently

Its best you remove the bird feeding equipment as it doesn't serve a purpose anymore, but there's certainly an opportunity to give your bird feeding station or bird table away to someone else who can takeover bird feeding duties.

Continue to feed without equipment

Once all wild bird feeding equipment has been put away in the shed then, in due course birds should stop coming to your garden all together.

Be it one week or a month, soon their numbers will come to an end.

However, that is not to say you don't have to stop feeding the birds. Sure, its a hassle filling bird feeders on a daily basis, yet worse with the expense associated with it.

But to top up on a big bag of seeds or nuts is certainly not going to hurt.

I'd say it again, unless its for the wild birds well fair why you've rid yourself of feeding birds - there's no good reason to stop feeding garden birds.

Why not then continue to enjoy feeding them without use of feeders or a bird table by throwing bird food over the lawn or patio.

It can only serve ground feeding birds this way so it won't hurt to scatter bird food in different parts of the garden - higher up to accommodate all bird species.


Best way to stop feeding birds that come to your garden would be to once the nesting season is over.

That way you don't risk interfering with nature as parenting birds have set your garden as a way to feed their young.

Nesting season is over in September in the UK but it can go on a little longer, so be cautious. So wait until spring time as the best possible way to bring your feeding routine to an end.

Why you want to stop feeding birds can be justified for their own well being, but don't stop feeding birds just because you read somewhere you are suppose to at a certain time of the year.

Birds become dependant on bird feeders, so reply on you to feed them 365 days of the year, come rain or shine.

To stop feeding birds it would help to reduce all hanging bird feeders to just the one. Let the single feeder be used for a month or so to give your regular visitors time to seek out new feeders, as they now knew your feeder is not reliable.

After a month or so then you can remove the last hanging bird feeder. If you use a bird table on the otherhand, then simply reduce the food for up to a month, before missing days out all together - then remove the bird table on a random day.

You can then dismantle your bird feeding equipment while relying on feeding the birds by hand, as you throw seeds or nuts over the garden from time to time.

Share this article: