As I mentioned in my last post, spring is here and our birds are returning. Each spring is a new chance to fill your yard with birds. If you want to attract birds, here are five handy tips that you can use now to encourage birds to live in your yard. Plus, stay tuned until the end of this article for a chance to download a free Bird Watching Journal!
1) Feed Them
Pretty much anyone will show up if you offer to feed them and that includes the birds. The fastest way to get birds to show up to your yard is to put out feeders. There are so many beautiful and fun bird feeders on the market right now and you can even make them yourself. Be sure to keep them clean and fill them consistently to grow your bird population.
Choose the right bird seed. Each bird has its own preferences, so you can attract specific birds by offering them their favorite foods. Wild Bird Watching has a wonderful reference with information about different bird seed options as well as a handy chart that lists each bird and its favorite foods.
I like to experiment with different brands and seeds to attract the most colorful songbirds to our yard. I put out several feeders with a variety of foods in each. I've got some seed feeders, suet feeders, nectar feeders and fruit feeders.
2) Provide Water
Having a reliable source of water for the birds is a must. They like to drink it and bathe in it. Be sure to keep it clean and filled.
3) Give them Shelter
Bird houses are a great way to attract birds, but do your research to make sure they are the right type for the birds you wish to attract. Try to choose a bird house made of thick, unpainted and untreated wood like cedar or redwood. Welcome Wildlife has an in-depth chart that shows the different sizes and characteristics of ideal birdhouses based on the bird type you'd like to attract.
You can also put out nesting material for the birds. Be sure to choose natural fibers that will dry quickly after getting wet. Some good examples are yarn, small strips of cloth, animal hair, wool or cotton batting and grass clippings. You can put your materials in an onion bag or suet feeder and then hang them in the trees.
4) Keep Them Safe
Birds have many predators, so keeping them safe is important. Place feeders and houses high enough that cats and other animals cannot catch them when they go to feed or nest. You can also provide overhead shelter to the birds when they are feeding to keep them safe from predatory birds. One of the biggest hazards to birds, though, are glass windows. If you have a window they often fly into, try hanging a suncatcher, vinyl cling or other decorative element in that area to warn birds of the glass.
5) Plant Accordingly
You can also attract birds with certain plants, shrubs and trees. Birds love berries, so blueberries, blackberries, apples and raspberries plus many others will draw them into your yard. Native plants are also an excellent source of food for birds. A few popular examples are purple coneflowers (echinacea), maximilian sunflowers and partridge peas.
I hope you can use these tips to attract the birds to your yard this spring. I'll be filling my feeders and keeping my camera ready to capture these colorful visitors. A special thank you to Jody Doll for her beautiful photographs that I featured in this article. To see more of her wildlife photography and see some of the artwork created from these photos, check out my Near to Nature Collection.
If you enjoyed this article, you might enjoy reading my Pine Cone Bird Feeder Tutorial.
And don't forget to download your free printable Bird Watching Journal. It features a place to put photos or sketches of your birds, a section to record the date and location of each sighting and room to write notes about the highlights of each bird encounter. Happy birding!