I have seen birds at the feeders before it is light but not recently. I suspect it is a result of the chilly weather and birds needing to perhaps warm up. Also it is safer, I would think, to come when it is light and warm weather would enhance that.
I might try leaving deck light on and see what happens.
Today the bushtits, chickadees, juncos, hummingbirds, house finches came early to the feeders. Downy woodpecker(s) and nuthatches had yet to appear.
I put up a niger feeder a few weeks back - that's the long wooden feeder, and have not seen a single bird on it.
So I put some of that teeny niger seed on a plate yesterday afternoon and within minutes had juncos and finches paying it attention. Was interesting to see both a junco and finch eating from the plate. The arrival of another junco swooping down left only finch on the plate.
There are eight feeders grouped by the most viewable kitchen window. I had intended to add a lovely black chain to the support system but that has not yet happened so I added the niger feeder, another suet feeder (this had dried mealyworms so I had to get it and see how birds reacted: favourably but still give time to the hunks of fat and other plain suet) , a second peanut feeder (different sized holes) with hooks to the existent feeders.
Wondered how the proximity of feeders to each other would affect the birds. There is some heirarchy but mostly they all come together and eat. I do not know enough about preferences but it seems to me birds are eating what I would not have expected them to eat; perhaps they are motivated by seeing other birds.
Did not expect the juncos to try the niger. Hmmmm.