How to attract birds to your yard
If you’re anything at all like me, once you start to feed the wild birds you will become addicted and will soon start wanting to attract as many different species as you can. If this is the case, then this article on how to attract birds to your yard should be great for you.
It is full of tips and advice on how to go about making sure that your yard is set up in the best possible way to achieve this.
As well as providing you with great joy and delight, attracting birds to your yard or garden also plays an important role in conservation and helps to provide balance to the ecosystem. So it is a win-win situation. You get the pleasure and fun from it, while at the same time you are doing something very worthwhile and useful.
And it is easy too. If you follow some basic guidelines, you will soon have a great variety of feathered visitors. These are my top tips on how to attract birds to your yard or garden…
Use a variety of feeders & locations
Not all birds like to feed in the same way so make sure that you use a number of different kinds of bird feeders. For example, you should think about using a mix of open feeders with trays or perches, mesh socks, nectar feeders, suet feeders and jelly feeders, to attract a variety of different species of birds. Also bear in mind that more natural looking feeders will attract more birds.
As well as this, different species of birds will have different preferences when it comes to the placement of the feeders. Some birds prefer feeders to be higher up while some prefer them to be lower down. So check the feeding preferences of the bird species that you wish to attract most and place your feeders in the best place for those types of birds. If you are in doubt, it is best to place them higher up as this is where most birds prefer to feed because it keeps them safe from cats and other predators.
When thinking about how to attract birds to your yard, it is also important to remember that birds are still wild animals, no matter how beautiful they are. This means that they will be quite wary of humans so do not place your feeders too close to the house if possible. This will obviously depend on the size of your yard but try and place the feeders somewhere that the birds will feel the most safe. If you are planning on putting your feeder on a pole then try and place the pole near to a tree if possible, to give the birds a quick escape route if they need one.
Finally, you should try and place your feeders somewhere that they will remain dry and are protected from the elements. Of course this does not matter as much if you make sure your feeders are designed to keep water out and to withstand the worst of the winter weather in your area.
Use the best quality seed
Do not use cheap bird seed mixes as a food source. They usually contain milo which does not appeal to most birds and will just get left and discarded, with the end result that the birds will eventually go elsewhere to find food and you will just end up with a messy lawn or yard.
So it is always a good idea to pay that little bit extra for good quality seed if your budget lets you do so.
Different species of birds prefer different types of food, so once again when considering how to attract birds to your yard, first think about which types of birds you want to attract. Then when you have chosen which birds, put out the best seed to attract them. For example, millet is a favorite of small birds while cracked corn is good for larger birds as this is a typical food they eat in the wild.
Don’t forget other food sources
Do not forget about natural sources of food. As well as having feeders in your garden, you should also have natural food sources such as fruit trees and other plants and shrubs that attract birds. In particular, shrubs that produce berries can provide a natural food source for a lot of birds.
Also remember that birds feed upon insects, so do not remove insects from your garden through the use of insecticides or pesticides. You can place some dead wood (for example, logs) in some areas of your yard if you have the space. These will act as a haven for insects and so act as a good food source for the birds. You can hide these dead wood areas out of sight if you are worried about the way your garden looks to humans.
Never let your feeders stay empty for too long; definitely not for more than a few days. Birds come to depend on your feeder as a food source and if it remains empty for an extended period they will go and look somewhere else for food.
Keeping your feeder filled means that you also keep it cleaner and better maintained too, which is good for the birds. Once you have established a feeding routine try to keep to it as the birds will start to visit your garden at the same times, expecting to be fed at those times. It is no use carefully considering all the aspects of how to attract birds to your yard if you do not then keep to a feeding routine.
Keep feeding during winter
Keep putting out food all through the winter even if you think there are no birds around. There are lots of winter birds that will not be around in summer that need feeding in the winter. During this time birds need high energy food source to maintain their fat reserves during the cold nights so make sure that you feed them high fat foods.
Protect your feeders
When thinking about how to attract birds to your yard, one area that is often neglected is the task of protecting your bird feeders from other wildlife, in particular squirrels. You do not want these other animals to eat all your seed without the birds getting much, if any at all. Consider investing in a squirrel proof bird feeder to keep those pesky squirrels from stealing your feed.
Put out the right food at the right times
It is important to provide the right sorts of food at the right times of year. You should put out high fat foods during autumn and winter and high protein foods during spring and summer. Avoid peanuts and fat in spring and summer as you do not want the adult birds feeding these to their young because there is a choking risk. If you do use peanuts, make sure they are in a mesh feeder with only small pieces.
Keep your feeders clean
Make sure you keep your feeders clean and well maintained so that they do not become clogged. Damp or moldy seed can harm the birds and spread disease so make sure your seed is always fresh and nutritious. This will not only give the birds a healthy diet but it will also attract more birds.
Never allow uneaten food to accumulate on or around your feeders. If you do have a dirty and/or moldy feeder then remove all the seed, clean the feeder thoroughly and then refill it with fresh seed.
Provide fresh clean water
When it comes to considering how to attract birds to your yard, providing a source of fresh clean water for the birds is one of the most important things you can do. Water not only provides the birds with something to drink, it also allows them to bathe and preen, and so remove parasites from themselves. In addition, it provides a way for them to cool themselves down on hot summer days.
There are various ways that you can provide water. You can use bird baths, misters, watering trays and ponds and waterfalls.
If you are going to install a bird bath, try and buy one that has a pump if you can, to keep the water moving. It is vitally important to make sure you prevent the water in the baths from getting stagnant by providing a constant source of fresh water. The pump helps with this, and a moving source of water will also attract more species of birds.
Misters are a great way of providing a way for birds to cool and clean themselves. Hummingbirds in particular love misters and will spend plenty of time hovering in them.
If you are going to put a pond in your garden, make sure that you cover the area around it with suitable plants and ground cover. This will make it more attractive to the birds. And it will also provide a good food source, insects in the ground cover, for example.
Provide housing and nesting opportunities
You can add bird houses and other nesting opportunities to your garden for the birds. Bird houses not only make decorative items for your yard or garden, they also provide a safe haven for birds to roost and nest. There are a variety of different types of bird houses so consider which bird species you wish to attract and then choose your bird houses appropriately. For example, a smaller hole with keep bigger birds from using the bird house.
You can also plant trees and hedges to give the birds somewhere natural to nest. Try and provide a range of heights, for example taller trees at the back, then smaller trees and hedges and then bushes and shrubs.
If you follow these tips on how to attract birds to your yard or garden, it will soon be full of happy, healthy wild birds bringing you great pleasure. And at the same time, you will be playing an important conservation role in helping to restore balance to the ecosystem.
All the information about how to attract birds to your yard is summarized in the infographic below. Please feel free to share this infographic on your own site.
(Click infographic to enlarge)