One of the most common questions I am asked at the store is “How can I attract birds to my back yard?” There are a number of things you can do to accomplish this. For many the easiest thing you can do is add a bird feeder. You will be surprised of how many diﬀerent birds you can attract with a simple seed feeder. I would recommend a tube feeder with a tray to start. Many birds that will not come to a tube feeder will come to one with a tray because they like to feed from a platform and a tray provides this. Place the feeder in an area where you can enjoy viewing and it’s accessible to ﬁll. Keep in mind birds like to retreat to cover if they feel threated so having a tree or shrub nearby can be helpful. If your feeder is close to a window, it is a good idea to put some window alert decals on the outside of the window. This helps birds realize there is a window there so they won’t ﬂy into it. Multiple feeders will attract more birds as you can provide diﬀerent seed and presentation options. It is important to have fresh seed as birds do not like stale seed. Black oil sunﬂower, golden saﬄower, sunﬂower hearts, nyjer, and peanuts are favorites. However, not all birds eat seed so feeding nectar, jelly and mealworms can attract humming birds, orioles, and bluebirds. Suet is a favorite of woodpeckers, chickadees and nuthatches so I would add suet to your feeding station if possible.
Adding a water feature to you back yard is another way to attract birds. Birdbaths, misters and drippers are favorites of birds. A water wiggler added to a birdbath helps keep the water clean and free of mosquito eggs and larvae. Birds like the moving water as they know it is clean. Dripper’s add a constant drip to a birdbath which helps to keep the water clean. Clean water is not always easy to ﬁnd so keeping your birdbath full with clean fresh water can be a bird magnet. Birds prefer a shallow bath rather that a deep one so keep this in mind when setting up a birdbath. If your backyard is pretty open adding some trees and shrubbery for bird habit can be helpful. Not only do trees and shrubbery provide cover for birds, it also provides places for birds to nest and raise a family. Planting ﬂowers such as canna lily, columbine, and zinnias among others will help attract hummingbirds as they visit the ﬂowers for nectar.
Making your backyard safe by keeping out predators and artiﬁcial threats makes your yard welcoming to birds. Having a ﬁeld guide will help you identify your back yard visitors when you are wondering what bird you are looking at. I have found bird watching is very enjoyable, brings me closer to nature and helps relieve stress. My hope is that you too will ﬁnd much enjoyment bringing these beautiful creatures into your backyard.