If you've put your bird feeders in good locations and keep them regularly filled with wild birds favourites, then most of the time you look outside at your feeders, you'll see birds eating at most times throughout the day. But what time of the day do they mainly feed?
The short answer to this is that wild birds will generally feed throughout the entire day. Birds will generally start searching for food and eating first in the morning as soon as there is light. They will then carry on until the evening and will eventually stop when it gets dark.
Early in the morning between 7 am and 11 am - when the sun has fully risen - tends to be the best time where you'll find more birds are out feeding. In spring and summer, birds will be out earlier in the mornings as it is generally lighter earlier on in the day, with winter and autumn months being a bit later on and for less time - due to the shorter days.
This can all, of course, vary on your location and your surroundings. For example, busier urban locations will generally have more birds during the less busy times of the day. More rural locations can have steadier numbers of birds throughout most of the day.
Wild birds that rely on feeding on your garden feeders tend to drop off mid-morning, returning later on in the afternoon (usually between 2 pm and 4 pm) - again, this varies on the time of year. You'll often find that you get the same birds coming back multiple times throughout the day.
A good indicator that there are plenty of birds out and about feeding is the noise levels, which is usually a sign that there's plenty of birds close by out to find food. Again, mornings and early evenings are some of the best times to hear birds as there's less noise from traffic.
A pair of Carolina Wrens feeding at a backyard feeder
As soon as it gets dark, you'll find that most birds stop feeding - the only expectation to this rule are Owls, who mostly hunt during the nighttime. This is because, like us, most birds are unable to see when it gets dark.
To ensure birds keep on coming back throughout the day, keeping your feeders stocked full of fresh and highly nutritious bird food is a must. If you manage to do this, you'll find that you'll attract a wide variety of species that will continue to visit your backyard for months and even years in some cases.