A site visitor asked:
A feeder can be filled as soon as it is low in seed but not completely empty.
If it is left empty for too long, the birds who have been regular visitors may find a different place to dine.
It will also be important to clean out all the seed occasionally so there is nothing left in corners to decay.
This would cause a health issue for the wild birds if they ate rotten food.
Ideally it is best to have your feeders full when the birds arrive first thing in the morning.
They are eager to fill their bellies when the sun begins to rise after having spent the night without any food.
Cardinals are often the first ones at the feeder in the morning and the last ones to have dinner.
Maybe they feel the cover of a little darkness is safer or perhaps beating the rush is the goal.
A feeder can be filled any time during the day.
It does not have to be the same time each day either.
Although the birds will grow used to regularity and anticipate the re-filling of their feeders if you do use the same time each day.
The birds will not be deterred by your presence.
In fact Chickadees, Downy Woodpeckers and Nuthatches will likely sit close by, on a pole or nearby branches while you refill the feeders.
Or even land on your arm, while they wait!
You can train birds to come to a feeder at the same time each day.
Choose a time you are most likely to be consistent at keeping.
Don't worry about missing a day here and there as it will not make a difference, they will still come.
Put out a special food each day such as meal worms for Bluebirds, fruit for Orioles or suet works well too.
Each day ring a bell, clap your hands or do something similar.
Placing the food in an open feeder works best like a platform, or table feeder.
Then step inside and watch. You may not get action right away but within a week of doing this everyday at the same time you will have prompt visitors.
If you would like to step it up a little, after they are coming regularly, don't go inside, but wait at the door.
Don't make sudden moves, but you can speak quietly to your visitors.
Hold your arm out at a comfortable level with a treat in your hand.
They probably won't take it from your hand for a couple of days, but if you are patient, they will come.
As you feel they are trusting you, stop closer to the feeder.
Always maintain a distance from the feeder to allow the really shy birds to enjoy your special treats too.
But the bolder ones will gladly come to clean-up your hand offering.
A funnel will be helpful to prevent a mess by spilling the seed. A funnel with a long neck 2 to 4 inches long and a wide mouth about 2 inches wide will make filling much easier.
Put the funnel in the opening of the feeder and use a scoop (just a plastic container will do) to pour the seed into the funnel.
I made a funnel from a spray bottle by simply cutting the top and bottom off. The mouth of this refitted bottle fits nicely inside my tube feeders and my chalet feeders.
The body of the bottle is wide enough to allow the seed to be poured in without making a mess and wasting the seed.
This will depend on how quickly the birds eat your seed.
If you have a lot of visitors to your feeders you can go through a great deal of seed.
When I fill my feeders if I do not have enough left in the bag to make another refill, then I put bird seed, etc on my shopping list.
For suet I always make sure I have a back-up on hand.