Birds do use bird feeders, although in some instances they resist utilizing the feeder. Location, the type of bird seed used, and the presence of other animals such as squirrels can deter birds from using a feeder.
Placing a bird feeder in a safe location that is visible encourages the birds to feed from it. High-quality black oil sunflower seeds attract birds more quickly than standard seed mixes. Adding a squirrel deterrent and several perches allows birds to explore the feeder.
Birds generally use a new bird feeder in time. If the bird seed is not moldy and has not attracted insects, changing the location of the feeder and possibly adding a bird bath may get the birds to feed.