How to Attract Backyard Birds for a Wildlife-Friendly Home

Bill Taylor
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Why You Should Attract Birds to Your Yard

Ever wished you had some time to yourself during the morning and evening hours where you can relax in your yard? If you have, you are not alone due to the fact that most people are typically in a rush to go to work or school in the morning or, if they are lucky, they can spend some time at home relaxing at night.

There is no doubt that the American lifestyle has changed over the years and time is a precious commodity. However, there are some simple things you can do to relax in your yard before the sun goes down. One of the best ways to relax is by spending time with our feathered friends that are out feeding and enjoying the outdoors. Having birds in your backyard is a great way to attract them to your yard. You do not have to spend a lot of time or money to attract them to your backyard. You just need to ensure they have water, food, and shelter in order to make a home in your yard.

Birds are very interesting creatures to watch and you should plan on having a lot of free time to watch your backyard birds. They will eat from your bird feeders and enjoy bath time in your birdbaths, which can be easily purchased from many local stores. You should visit your local pet store to find easy-to-fill, hardy birdbaths. However, feeding the birds is by far the most enjoyable part but you also need to make sure they have shelter in your yard.

Knowing Which Birds Lives Around You

The birds that most often come to our homes live in most regions where log cabins, houses, and cottages are found. These include the chickadee, nuthatch, titmice, sparrow, grosbeak, warbler, bluebird, junco, wren, and wagtail.

They will accept nectar, fruit, bread, suet, and meal worms as well as meal worms, which are available in pet stores.

Check to be sure the food you put out is not harmful to the birds in your area. Some birds may take a meal of fruit in your yard, but those from the tropics should not be fed fruit in cold weather because of spoiling and fermentation.

The wren and chickadee will take care of themselves through the coldest weather. They will visit your yard to feed on insect eggs, which overwinter under the bark of trees and in other crevices. They also like to make trips inside your home. If you want to enjoy singing birds in your winter home, you will need to provide them with food and shelter. The same goes for other birds that like to live inside. A home for them to visit makes them happier. After they are used to coming inside, you can train them to come when you whistle.

The Big Three

When it comes to attracting birds to feed in your backyard, there are specific things you can do to help make this happen:

First, you need to attract their attention. When birds are flying over your home they can't see anything below them. So in order to appeal to birds, you need to create an area that will help make your home more visible to them, which will then motivate them to land.

Second, you will need to provide birds with a variety of food items to entice them to stick around and visit. This can be accomplished by building a variety of feeders, providing plenty of seed, suet, fruit, or whatever else birds prefer to eat. You may need to build several types of feeders to suit the preferences of different birds.

Lastly, you will want to try to attract birds to your yard through audiovisual methods. Birds are naturally curious and enjoy investigating new sights and sounds. However, you need to remember that the needs of each bird are different and some of the things that they are attracted to could be harmful to them. For example, lighting that might seem like perfect entertainment to backyard birds could also be a potential danger. Never use bulbs that are unsafe for them to fly into. Bird friendly electronics can be entertaining for them but should be located in places where birds could not feel trapped.

Step 1: The Right Food for the Right Bird

A bird feeder is the first step in luring birds into your backyard. In order to attract the specific types of birds that you wish to have in your garden, you need to offer them the appropriate foods. Different birds have different feeding habits, and different food preferences.

Determine which birds you wish to attract by identifying the wildlife native to your area. For example, the American robin enjoys eating sunflower seeds and will readily come to your feeder. Chickadees, on the other hand, prefer seed mixtures and millet.

It can take several weeks to entice birds into visiting your feeder. Be patient, and keep sprouting new seeds and changing the seed mixture when the old supply starts to run low. Make sure to clean your feeder with water and bleach after refilling it.

Most importantly, put the bird feeder where you can enjoy it the most. Additionally, if you are interested in attracting different types of small birds, place more than one feeder in your yard.

The key to attracting backyard birds is to have an ample supply of seeds for them throughout the winter months. Birds often migrate during these times, returning in the spring to breed before migrating again. Therefore, it's important to have a continuous supply of seeds that will appeal to birds all year long.

Tips for Using a Bird Feeder

  • Introduce the bird feeder to your feathered friends gradually with a gradual introduction. Begin by putting the bird feeder out, and then only during certain times of the day. Once the birds have started eating from it, increase the amount of time you leave it out.
  • While your birds get used to your feeder, have it in an area that will afford them the greatest amount of safety. For some this might be near a window, or for others, where you can keep an eye out for them. Either is ideal, but allowing them to get used to you taking an interest in their feeding habits by watching them is another perk of the almost one-on-one experience you get from this backyard bird feeder.
  • While your birds get used to your feeder, it may also be helpful to provide them with alternative food options. If you notice other birds eating from your feeders, try putting out some other foods that they eat such as dog or cat food. You never know if they will like it but it never hurts to try!

Landscaping for Wildlife

Some people consider bird watching a hobby as well as a way of life. But others see birds as a way home to feed your family. Your backyard is likely to attract wildlife. This wildlife is a great way to bring nature up close, or even into your home. Creating a wildlife-friendly environment outside of your home is a good way to keep your yard clean. Also, if you have a garden, then it will attract many birds. It is, however, essential for you to choose the best plants and accessories to attract back yard birds.

Here are some of the things to do to attract back yard birds:

Landscape for food. By landscape for a backyard birds, you can provide the food they need. The backyard birds that will always be present in your backyard include the blue jays, turkeys, and squirrels. Scientifically, these animals are also known as carnivores. They are small carni-vores. So, their diet usually depends on either plant-eating or fruit-eating animals. They also have a preference for eating different kinds of beetles, bees, and snakes. So, landscape your backyard to attract these creatures to your property.

They will definitely love your garden and it will double as a place of feeding for them. You should ensure you have different types of plants and accessories that will allow these animals to feed themselves.

Step 2: Water in the Right Spot

Placing your bird bath near the corner of your house or near a large tree for clinging birds, bird bath stands alone on a lawn, or is located in the middle of a garden are all fine. This will attract the greatest diversity of avian neighbors.

Ideally, birds would have access to a source of fresh water year round. But since your pet cat may drink from your birdbath, it is best to avoid having it near your cat's favorite lounging areas.

Some cats will also attack bathing birds, so it is a good idea to keep the birdbath from their area by placing it at least partly under some sort of cover or screen. This can be done by placing your bath on a hidden flood tray, a small elevated decorative pedestal, a birdbath house, or by using some other type of landscaping edging to partially hide your birdbath.

Bird feeders are best attached to a structure that won't be a hazard to the birds. Fastening an outdoor feeder to the corner of an open-air porch is usually fine, but you should avoid mounting it on a wall or tucking it under an eave that will be positioned directly over your outdoor décor or garden.

Step 3: Give Me Shelter!

The next thing to consider is whether or not you have adequate shelter for the birds to survive the winter. Birds need protection from the elements and predators. They need a place to thaw out and dry off after the rain, as well. Bird houses are very simple to make and it's just as easy to make a bird friendly backyard, with or without a bird house.

To create a suitable shelter for your backyard birds, first choose a location in your yard. Oftentimes this will be someplace that is near a tree, because trees provide the birds with food, shelter, and protection from the rain.

Types of Plants for Landscaping

Seasonal plants include tulips, hyacinths, crocuses, and narcissus. These are planted in the autumn. These are blooming when fresh colors are required as the days get shorter.

Evergreen plants save a landscape designer the trouble of worrying about plants going out of bloom.

Deciduous plants need trees to support them. They are planted in the spring.

Perennial and annual plants need a smaller job of maintenance. They can be planted in the perennial beds.

Artificial Nests

You'll notice that some of the best attractants for birds are not made by man- they're artificial nests. The featherless nests sold by craft and decoration stores might fool birds after the brood leaves, but during nesting season, they know the difference between the real thing and a knock-off.

Instead of artificial nests, make an area outside that looks like a tree cavity or manmade nest. Place a shallow dish inside the nest and fill it with water. Place your birdseed, suet, and bread cake all around the base of the nest.

Make sure that your suet doesn't warm above room temperature since you don't want it to melt in the heat.

Step 4: Putting on the Finishing Touches

Your wildlife sanctuary is a work in progress, and you can improve and add to it as you see fit. From planting grasses and wildflowers to decorating with bird feeders, birdhouses, and birdbaths there are a lot of ways you can add to your backyard ecosystem. Follow these tips to attract more wildlife to your home.

  • Determine what type of food is available to attract birds to your feeders, then put out food accordingly.
  • Birds are more likely to visit feeders with perches.
  • Birds are more likely to build a nest near a birdhouse.
  • Birdbaths provide water and a place for birds to cool off. Birdbaths are especially helpful during the dry winter months.
  • Bird feeders with perches will entice a wider variety of birds.
  • Controlling rain gutters is essential to remove standing water in your roof field. Standing water provides mosquito breeding grounds for disease vectors.
  • Make sure to remove any trash, pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizer from your back yard and surroundings. Chemicals are not only unhealthy for the birds, but can also, if ingested, kill a bird.
  • In warmer months, birds need to be able to take a good wash to keep from tearing their feathers apart. Try installing a misting sprinkler on your back deck.

Give Them Space

If you want to have birds visiting in your backyard, give them reason to come. The more diversity present, the more kinds of birds you will have flocking to your yard.

Be sure to have a wide selection of trees to provide food, shelter, and a perch. Fruit trees, like apple or pear trees, are a big hit with birds.

Also, shrubs provide cover and food for bird nests. Bamboo and rose bushes are known to attract sunbirds.

A bird bath is essential for attracting all sorts of backyard birds. However, you need to change out the water frequently to avoid a quick death of the local bird populace, as they will come to bathe and drink in the water along with all the creatures that live in it.

Consider installing a small pond or birdbath with a fountain. Some smaller birds like the sound of moving water and will come to drink from it.

Also, consider the placement of your flower pots. Choose ones that have drainage holes, and a few larger ones placed on top of the ground to allow the birds to sip water from the dirt.

Keep the water from standing in your bird bath by using the techniques also recommended for garden watering. A drip irrigation system is the most effective. If the bird bath becomes a mud puddle, you need to consider using a larger, shallower, more frequently changed water source.

Pets and Birds

When you love animals, having pets in your house is a must! The question is, which one to have? Some say a cat or dog is the perfect pet for a pet lover like you. But if you love nature and are more of a bird lover, or if you just like to admire birds from a distance, your best bet would be to attract them to your home.

One of the ways to do this wouldn’t come as a surprise: plant trees around your home. Birds are natural tree-dwellers and will try to stay close to their tree-home whenever they can. These trees will provide them food, shelter and breeding grounds. If your house is close to these trees, you are bound to attract the birds!

Another way is by feeding your local birds. If you have a bird feeder that you can hang in your backyard, the birds will soon make it their hang-out place. They will come here to eat and rest between flights. Don’t forget to hide the bird feeder because that is the only defense you have from squirrels and other animals that will be trying to get into your feeder.

Step 5: Troubleshooting Issues

As you add more birds to your home, you may find that you have an issue with a particular bird or behavior. Luckily, bird behavior is almost always manageable. Before you remove a bird, try to find the issue and figure out a solution. Not only will this save you from missing a fun and charming friend, but it will also ensure that you are truly saving a bird in need, instead of just throwing him in a pet store cage.

Here are a few issues you might face, and how you can fix them and encourage your birds’ behavior to be everything you dreamed it would be!

Feeding Habits

Some birds get a little nippy when they are hungry. If any of your birds is nipping fingers and toes, make sure you are feeding them at the “right” times of day. Some birds are worse at certain times of day, so they may need to be fed extra in the morning to help curb the nipping.

If they are super hungry, they may need slightly more food at breakfast, and get fed less in the evening. In the wild, birds work their hardest to get birds in the day, so at the end of the day they relax a little. They have earned their meal!

Waking Up to Jolly

Invasive Birds

Out of the estimated 10,000 species of birds in the world, a quarter of them are found in North America. You’ve probably seen plenty of these species in your backyard or neighborhood, singing or feeding seed to small children and pets while parents snap pictures.

However, there’s a difference between the birds who live in your backyard and the birds who might be considered as invasive. Invasive birds are non-native to the local area, and are therefore, harmful to the native animal populations and the environment. It sounds bad, but there are plenty of types of birds native to a region that also can cause problems for wildlife as well.

Invasive birds can come in all shapes and sizes. The killdeer, a bird often seen in the grassy fields of the countryside, is a common resident. The killdeer’s charming call is familiar to Americans, and so is its diet. The killdeer is a predator that feeds on insects, worms, amphibians and even smaller birds. Because native birds, insects, and other animals have no defense against the killdeer, they’ve been known to destroy local populations if they are left unchecked. Sometimes this process is so slow, that the native birds don’t even realize that they are losing their natural habitat to a predatory invader.

Final Thoughts

Too many people feel that creating a space for wildlife in their backyard is a difficult or intimidating undertaking. But we can assure you that it is more than possible. In fact, creating a small wildlife habitat in your backyard is much simpler than you might assume.

If you want to attract birds to your garden, you need to make sure that you have plenty of surface level water. Your birds will often hunt and drink while on the go, so areas that provide a source for both is the ideal solution.

Setting up a feeder for birds is the best way to feed them regularly. There are lots of feeders on the market, but they mainly fall into two categories – in ground and hanging feeders. You can choose whichever type is more suitable for your anatomy and your garden.

Like all creatures, birds have different tastes so, try offering them a few different food types. Thistle, nyger, sunflower seed, peanuts, and fruit are great to begin with but make sure you try other items like suet, mealworms, and berries every now and again.

Avoid using birdseed that has additives and preservatives because they can be harmful to the birds in your backyard.