Can Birds Smell Bird Seeds?

Is it possible for birds to smell bird seed? Many individuals have inquired about this subject.

Some believe it is true that birds can smell the bird seed, while others are sure that it is not.

We’ll find out if birds can smell seeds in this article, so keep on reading.

Can Birds Smell Bird Seeds?

bird seeds

As per studies, most species use their sight to identify food, but certain birds, such as the turkey vulture, utilize olfactory sensors on their beaks to smell food.

The sense of smell is called olfaction, and these vultures can detect carcasses from a considerable distance. Homing pigeons and some warbler species are examples of birds that rely largely on their sense of smell to find food.

Birds can detect minute changes in the chemical makeup of the air using these glands, allowing them to find food even when it is hidden.

So don’t be surprised if a bird flies in and starts munching; they’ll be able to smell the food the next time you put out a feeder.

Is It True That All Birds Have a Keen Sense of Smell?

As per popular belief, birds’ most important senses are sight and hearing. By analyzing the DNA of birds, researchers have found genetic proof that some birds have a very well sense of smell and sight.

The senses of smell and sight in birds may be just as important as those in fish or even humans. In their research, they arrived at this conclusion. It was often thought that birds’ senses of smell and sight were undeveloped.

According to current behavioral studies, several bird species use their sense of smell to move, forage and even discriminate against individuals.

What Methods Do Birds Use to Locate Bird Seed?

bird feeder

If you want to set out a feeder to attract birds, you should first learn how they get the seed. Birds primarily rely on sight and hearing to locate food, so positioning your feeder where they can see it and hear the seed fall is critical.

Make sure there are lots of trees or bushes around for the birds to sit on as they feed. To keep the birds guessing, some people place their bird feeders in new spots each day. \

This also prevents the birds from getting reliant on a single feeder.

When You Put Out Bird Seed, How Do the Birds Know?

Many people think that birds could see the bird feeder from afar and fly right to it. However, that is not always the case.

Many birds will only come to a feeder if they are aware that it is there. Feeders may be learned in a variety of ways by birds. One method is to observe.

When a bird sees another bird eating from a feeder, it is more likely to go to that feeder as well. Birds can pick up on information about feeders by listening to other birds talk about them.

If one bird finds a feeder and starts singing about it, other birds in the area are likely to hear the song and remember where the feeder is.

How Long Does It Take Birds to Find a Seed Feeder?

Hummingbird with Feeder

It might take a bird anywhere from a few minutes or longer to locate a feeder. The size of the feeder, its location, and the species of bird are all factors that might influence how long it takes a bird to discover a feeder.

Birds that are accustomed to being fed by humans may take less time to locate a feeder than other birds.

Is It Possible for Wild Birds to Smell Seeds?

Certain of the food you leave out for birds will have a distinct odor, and some birds rely on their sense of smell to locate food. Because seeds don’t always have a strong odor, most birds will rely on their ability to sight them rather than their ability to smell them.

Doing your study is the greatest approach to attracting birds.

First, take a look around your garden to discover what birds you already have. Find out what some of their favorite meals are, and then stock your feeder with items you know they’ll like.

Which birds could you be able to lure to your yard? Migratory birds like to follow a similar pattern, so if you want to attract them to your yard, make sure you reside in the correct place first.

Then you’ll need to figure out when the birds are scheduled to arrive and have your feeder ready 2 to 3 weeks ahead of time.

Not every bird enjoys sharing its meal with other birds. To attract specific species, you may need to place more than one feeder in different locations of the garden. 

Woodpeckers, for example, like to dine away from other birds and would prefer a feeder in a secluded corner of the yard.

Check out this article on What Seeds Do Birds Eat?


So this is all from us about whether Birds can smell seeds or not. The most important way for birds to find feeders is through sight. If they see and identify the food within the feeder, they will eat from it. 

Birds typically mistake the feeder for a food source since feeders are abundant in the neighborhood. 

They may locate seeds strewn on the ground or on the top of the feeder. It’s also possible that sound is a factor. Birds want fresh water on a regular basis, and the sound of flowing water attracts them.


Do birds communicate with one another about where they may find food?

According to research, birds interact with one another by using vocalizations and gestures to signal the existence of food. Birds can graze more effectively and avoid competition because of this communication.

Is it possible for birds to smell bread?

Since they rely on their vision to find food, the great majority of birds are unable to smell bread. There are some bird species that can smell, but mostly these backyard birds.

How far out can birds detect birdseed?

Because birds cannot smell birdseed, they must rely on their vision to locate food. Birds will fly 1 to 5 kilometers to find food, depending on their size and the type of seed available. Birds that consume insects fly farther than birds that eat seeds.

Last Updated on March 22, 2023 by Lily Aldrin

About Lily Aldrin

I am Lily Aldrin. I attended Cornell University, where I obtained my degree to become an Ornithologist so I could pursue my love of these magnificent creatures in and out of their natural habitats.

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