Birds are colorful, magnificent, and lively animals often found in streets, sidewalks, and backyards. They come in different colors, species, and characteristics. If you want to, there are ways to attract birds to your backyard. To do so, provide them with their basic needs and what’s crucial in making your place a welcoming abode.
Food, water, and shelter are the keys to attracting birds in your backyard. To do so, you have to set up a birdbath and feeding station and attract them with proper treats. You might also want to encourage nesting for your feathered visitors to keep them coming back. Also, to keep your backyard birds safe and healthy, regularly clean your bird feeder and squirrel-proof it.
In this article, we will discuss the different ways to attract birds to your backyard.
11 Ways to Lure Birds in Your Yard
Attracting birds in your backyard is something fulfilling and fun to do. But, aside from this, you are helping the birds on their long migration journey or to get through a rough winter. Indeed, a welcoming and well-stocked backyard can help birds be healthier and survive the bad weather.
While food, water, and shelter meet the bird’s physiological needs for survival, these animals tend to look for a safe place to call their forever home. They often look for spaces where they can be social and happy.
Here are 11 proven ways to attract birds into your backyard.
1. Create a Bird Feeding Station
Food is the most important thing for a bird’s survival. Thus, create a bird feeding station for your feathered visitors to suffice their hunger. Consider putting up many feeders to attract more birds into your backyard and prevent them from fighting due to overcrowding.
Birds will show their liking for one feeder style over another, so a variety will provide your feathered fellows with choices. Some birds who are ground feeders will take advantage of sturdy hoppers like Juncos, Cardinals, and Blue Jays. Meanwhile, Finches and Nuthatches will love cylindrical feeders.
Place them in a safe area from where you can observe the birds easily. As a beginner, start with three to four feeders and put different types of feeders in different places and at various heights.
2. Provide a Birdbath
Attracting birds shouldn’t be hard, especially if you have an abundant water supply. Supplying water is the easiest way to attract these animals to your backyard. You can set up a birdbath made of old laundry buckets or small old pots.
The birdbath shouldn’t be deep but must supply enough water for birds to bathe in comfortably. Place it in an area likely to welcome minimal interactions with humans and pets to avoid startling birds. You can also place the birdbaths in a hidden area where birds hang out for privacy.
Make birdbaths accessible to birds by placing them in an object from which they can easily go in and out, like a stone. Also, make sure to clean the birdbath regularly to prevent mosquitoes from reproducing.
3. Bubbles and Drips
As mentioned above, water is one of the main attractants for birds. Birds may sometimes not know you have provided them water, even though you have made it accessible. Spring and fall bird migrants are often unaware that you provided them water since they are just passing through.
The best way to catch birds’ attention to your water is to let them hear the gushing sound of running water by using a fountain pump or drip hose. Small fountains, bubblers, drippers, and misters are very popular options in attracting our feathered fellows.
You can get these materials at your local pet or bird supply stores. Plus, they are inexpensive. With this, you can probably attract warblers, vireos, flycatchers, and other migrant bird species on their way to Central America.
4. Plant Bearing Trees and Flowering Shrubs
If we, humans, are easily attracted to delectable food, so are birds. Indeed, they love fruits and nectars, so fruit-bearing trees and flowers will attract birds to your backyard. Although, it is not advisable to hand-feed wild birds, so if you plan to feed them directly with fruits, don’t pursue them.
You can plant local fruit-bearing trees and flowering plants like orchids. You may also add more food supply depending on how many birds hang out in your backyard. This will also add to the bird’s dependence on your backyard. Trees also provide shelter and protection for wild birds.
5. Tempt Them with the Right Food
Birds come in many different species, so they also have varied food preferences. Thus, it is best to provide them with a wide variety of healthy and safe food. Local or native plants that supply seeds, berries, and insects naturally attract wild birds.
With different feeder types, you are on the right track to attract a flight flock to your backyard. Enticing birds with proper treats is one way to meet their needs and provide them with safe shelter.
As a beginner, avoid buying cheap food or generic low quality feed that is usually bought in grocery and hardware stores. Instead, invest in a healthy bird feed as a start. In this way, you’ll be able to offer the birds’ nutritional needs.
Here are some samples:
Black-oil sunflower is a popular birdseed that helps you attract birds into your backyard. It is also a great start if you are new to backyard bird feeding. Chickadees, finches, nuthatches, sparrows, and cardinals love to dine on this seed.
Thistle or Nyjer
Thistle and Nyjer are other high-quality and small seeds that Goldfinches love. This kind of seed requires a special bird feeder with small holes.
Seed mixes are popular and common for beginners because they draw different bird species. However, this may cause a mess since birds pick over unwanted seeds and throw them away.
Peeled “no-mess” seed mixes will reduce the mess in your feeder. Then, they are likely to be picked up by ground-feeding birds such as sparrows, juncos, and doves. Squirrels would love to eat these too if there’s any left on the ground.
Suet is a cake of animal fat and a healthy protein source for birds, especially in the winter. When the weather is cold, food comes in short supply for birds, and suet then becomes a great alternative and life-saving food for most birds that visit your yard.
Suet is often mixed with seeds and served in suet cages. You just have to hang the cages in areas where backyard birds are likely to feed themselves.
Nectar is sugar water and needs to be served in a hummingbird feeder. Given the feeder’s name, the hummingbird is one of the popular nectar-loving birds. You can also hang this food somewhere where birds love to hang out. The rare Oriole is another fruit-eating bird that loves nectar.
There are many different types of food that you can feed the birds visiting your backyard. Just make sure it is safe for birds to eat and that it has health benefits. Some birds also enjoy peanuts, peanut butter, millet, apples, oranges, and cracked corn.
If you want your backyard to be the home to different bird species, one of the things that you can do is build a bird sanctuary. This structure provides shelter and food to different kinds of birds. To help you get started with this project, here is our ultimate guide to building a backyard bird sanctuary.
6. The Location of the Feeder Is the Key
The location of your bird feeder is the key to attract more birds into your backyard. As different birds have various behaviors when visiting feeders, try placing your feeders in different areas that you deem appealing to birds.
Try putting a couple of feeders close to a bush or brush for shy birds like Cardinals. In this way, you can provide them with both food and protection. The feeder must be placed at a significant angle to avoid predators from preying on your feathered visitors.
As you may already know, birds are territorial when it comes to feeders. The solution to the problem is to place feeders at least 3 to 4 feet apart to allow space between birds. You might also consider deterring pests from taking over bird feeders by using barriers or baffles.
When the bird feels that an environment is safe, they are more likely to come back.
7. Leave the Leaf Litter to Rot
Worms, including slugs, ants, and snails, are some of birds’ favorite foods. Leaving your leaf litter to set or having compost on the side of your backyard will attract worms.
A leaf litter is a natural habitat for many insects and grubs. Robins, thrashers, and towhees love this type of meal, for example.
8. Provide Temporary Shelter
Another way to attract birds is to provide them with shelter and protection as they rest and stay in your backyard. You can hang birdhouses on trees or set up wood boxes while they are temporarily staying in your yard.
Birds will first sit in a nearby bush “staging area” before flying in to have some food in the feeder. Then, after eating, they will get back to their haven. With this action, you can place the feeder near their safe place, and in this way, attract more birds.
Be mindful of predators, like cats, for they can startle birds and cause them to fly away, or worse, kill them. Birds like to lie in wait in vegetation or bushes that are close to feeders.
9. Encourage Nesting in Your Backyard
There are different ways to encourage nesting and drawing birds to build a family in your backyard. As some birds don’t use birdhouses as nesting areas, there are other options.
Offer materials that birds will use to build their nests, such as a string, hair, pet fur, and yarn from the suet cage feeder. In this way, you are helping birds build their nests and make your backyard an attractive nesting place.
Most migrating birds will use these materials to build their nests while other bird species will use the natural offerings around your backyard. The weed fluff from dead flowers, grass clipping, and brush piles can provide the needed nesting materials.
10. Keep Your Feeders Clean
Cleaning bird feeders is a task that most beginners shrug off. Birds are clean animals and will avoid dirty or unclean feeders, so regularly clean bird feeders to attract more of them.
Cleaning your bird feeders regularly prevents the spreading of diseases and parasites where birds gather. Cleaning feeders keeps your visitors healthy and safe. You should also check and wash your bird feeder with a mix of dish soap, diluted bleach, and warm water. Let it dry before refilling it with food and water.
11. Squirrel-proof Bird Feeders
Another way to attract birds into your backyard is to squirrel-proof your feeders. Just like dogs and cats typically don’t get along, birds and squirrels do not either. Squirrels can be annoying since they have a big appetite for birdseed, and thus, take over feeders.
There are several ways to make your feeders squirrel-proof. Some designs available at local markets or pets stores already come squirrel-proof. Designs vary from weight-balanced to throw squirrels off while others feature barriers, such as wire mesh between the food source.
Other ways include installing a baffle on your bird feeder pole or using home and natural remedies, like bacon grease, on the pole to prevent squirrels from climbing to the feeder.
Birds attract other birds. They are curious animals that listen to the activity around their area and like to know what’s going on. If a backyard offers abundant food, water, and safe shelter, they are likely to tell this to fellow birds.
Birds are the most overlooked animals. They instantly elevate the whole feel of your backyard with their colorful feathers and sweet songs. If you want them to stay in your property longer, you need to provide them with a reason to stay. The main aspect to draw them into your backyard is to let them explore it, give them time to evaluate your place, and let them enjoy it.
The key to attracting birds to your backyard is providing them their basic needs. Remember to maintain food, water, and especially shelter during rough winters and hot summers. Also, keep your backyard bird-friendly, so that birds can feel that they are in a secure and happy place when visiting it. As long as you do these things, these feathered creatures will definitely call your backyard their home.