The Definitive Answer: Can You Put Bird Seed In A Birdhouse?

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close-up view of a large birdhouse

Have you ever wondered whether or not it’s safe to leave bird seeds in a birdhouse? This question certainly crossed my mind on more than one occasion. So, I buckled down and did the research and I discovered a few interesting facts about this question: “Can you put bird seed in a birdhouse?”. I’ll share what I found with you right now.

Leaving bird seeds in a birdhouse is technically acceptable. It won’t harm the birds unless the seeds turn rancid. Although, most birdwatchers aren’t fond of this practice. Why? Tasty seeds attract predators and make privacy nearly impossible; two things nesting birds crave while raising their young.

And to make things really clear, I’d like to break this down into even more detailed answers.

After we’re through, you’ll better understand that even though it’s innocent enough, it still isn’t recommended.

To expand on this answer, I’m going to share even more information on the following topics:

  • How adding bird seeds to your birdhouse can scare away nesting birds
  • Why nesting birds prefer their privacy
  • How forgetting about old bird seeds can physically harm baby birds
  • Why avoiding this practice will keep predators at bay

As you can see, there’s a lot more to this topic than originally meets the eye. You aren’t guaranteed to cause harm by leaving seeds in a birdhouse, but it’s certainly a real possibility.

And you certainly don’t want that, right?

Keep reading to learn more about these expanded topics.

Related Article: Birdwatcher’s Guide To Finding The Best Bird Seed For Their Yard

Stop Frightening Nesting Birds: Keep Bird Seeds Out Of Their Birdhouse

It’s obvious that the seeds themselves aren’t going to frighten the birds. So, let’s clear that up immediately.

On the other hand:

When a family of birds begin nesting in your birdhouse, they take residence because they’re looking for a safe and secure place for their little hatchlings to grow.

Picture this:

You fill a small bowl with tasty black oil sunflower seeds and a nice mixture of wild bird seeds. The other birds in your yard love these seeds and think they’re delicious.

And now that a new family is nesting in your birdhouse, you want to make them feel welcome and invited.

Guess what?

Leaving seeds in their birdhouse will have the opposite effect. This is especially true if you attempt to put the seeds in the house while the birds are inside.

They will feel scared and threatened by your presence. They will likely avoid your birdhouse altogether and move to a new location.

You wouldn’t want that, right?

So, keep away from the birdhouse when a family is nesting inside. They’re focused on raising and feeding their young hatchlings and they do not want you intruding on their family time.

Nesting Privacy: The Most Important Thing For A Family of Young Birds

bluebirds in birdhouse

How would you feel if a gigantic creature 50 times your size constantly invaded your home? For instance, this gigantic being looks inside your house all the time, opens the door and starts moving things around, and ultimately disturbs your peace of mind.

Would you like it? Would you feel safe and protected?

The truth is you would likely get up and move because you’d fear for your life and worry that the giant might harm you someday.

Do you know what else?

Birds feel the same way about humans and other predatory creatures. They want to live their lives in peace, quiet, and harmony when they have young hatchlings in tow.

And they deserve their privacy, right?

According to the Seattle Times, when installing a birdhouse, you should “Choose a spot without a lot of foot traffic so the young family can have some privacy. Fences usually won’t work; cats, raccoons, rodents and other predators have too easy access.”

If too much chaos is going on around the nest, or the birds feel physically threatened, they will abandon your birdhouse and relocate to a less busy and better protected setting.

We’re just getting warmed up. Next on the agenda…

Forgot Something? How Rancid Bird Seeds Could Potentially Kill Baby Birds

Here’s the deal:

bird feeding young in birdhouse

You’re a really nice person and you’re trying hard to take care of your backyard birds. In fact, you’d like to do something special for the family of birds nesting in your birdhouse.

So, you decide to leave a small bowl of bird seeds for the little ones.

But then the worst happens…

The mama bird saw you place the bowl of bird seeds in her place of abode and it scared her half to death. She doesn’t want some giant monstrosity invading her privacy and making her unsafe.

Unfortunately…

This mama bird doesn’t know that you actually care about her. She views you as a threat and she decides to abandon the birdhouse.

And you forget about the incident altogether. Suddenly, completely out of the blue, a new family begins nesting in your birdhouse next summer.

This brings you tremendous delight and puts a happy spring in your step.

Until you remember what you did last summer.

Now: you have a small bowl filled with rancid bird seeds sitting inside the birdhouse. And since birds have a terrible sense of smell, they’ll easily eat these rancid seeds without knowing they are tainted.

Even worse…

Spoiled seeds occasionally carry diseases. And these diseases are transmittable from the seeds to the baby birds.

I’ll spare you the gory details of what could potentially happen. 

But learn your lesson from this story and avoid putting bird seeds inside your birdhouse. It could end up causing irreparable damage to a family of young birds with beautiful hatchlings.

The Problem With Predators: These Cunning Critters Love Eating Tasty And Fat-Filled Oily Bird Seeds

Most important of all:

You really should avoid putting bird seeds in your birdhouse because they’ll attract predators in droves.

Guess what that means?

It means putting the safety and health of the bird family nesting in your birdhouse in jeopardy. Obviously, you’d rather avoid this situation like the plague.

The real truth…

Squirrels, raccoons, rats, mice, cats, and large birds of prey including eagles, owls, hawks, falcons, and other raptors love eating bird seeds too.

Do you know what else?

They also love eating wild birds. In fact, raptors like owls, hawks, and falcons tend to feed on small birds including songbirds, sparrows, and finches.

Putting bird seeds in your birdhouse is a bad idea, unless you want a potential bloodbath on your hands. And I know, as a bird lover and birdwatcher, that’s the last thing you have in mind.

So, keep the wild birds in your community safe and protected. And start by only leaving bird seeds in their bird feeders. Never place them inside a birdhouse because you’re making the occupants incredibly vulnerable to serious threats.

The Last Word On Can You Put Bird Seed In A Birdhouse

By now, I think I made it very clear about the truth behind putting bird seed in a birdhouse. But if you haven’t gotten the message yet, I’d like to reiterate my beliefs.

First, it’s okay to put bird seed in a birdhouse in one respect. If you place the seeds inside the birdhouse, and birds eat them relatively quickly, they will remain safe, healthy, and you’ll provide an excellent source of nutrients for the young family.

But…

There are quite a few reasons why you should avoid this potentially dangerous practice altogether. I spent the bulk of my time telling you why this is such a terrible idea.

To recap, you should keep bird seeds out of birdhouses for the following reasons:

  • If the mama bird catches you putting seeds in her birdhouse, she will likely abandon the location because her privacy and safety is now threatened
  • Nesting birds need privacy to help their young hatchlings grow, because these guys and gals need a safe and secluded place to live as they grow to become adults
  • Leaving bird seeds in your birdhouse means potentially forgetting about them, and then a new family comes along, eats the rancid seeds, and theoretically spreads deadly diseases
  • Predators are a serious problem for wild birds and they’re attracted to bird seeds. Hawks and other raptors tend to eat wild finches, songbirds, and sparrows

Do you see what I mean?

It’s better to be safe than sorry. You should never put bird seeds in a birdhouse even though the seeds themselves will likely not cause harm.

I hope you found this information entertaining and informative. Please use it to keep nesting birds snuggled safely away in your birdhouse and protected from unintended dangers.