How to Attract Birds to Your Backyard
Guest Writer: Dave Green
I’ve always been fascinated by wild birds, and I’ve spent many a pleasurable hour sitting and watching them feeding, bathing and preening in my backyard. It’s wonderful to observe them playing and flitting around.
If you want to attract birds to your yard, you don’t have to do much more than put out a feeder or two to get a few visitors. If you want to attract as many birds as possible though, and a wider range of different types of birds, there are a few simple extra steps you can take.
Following are a few guidelines for how to attract birds to your backyard:
Tips On How To Attract Birds to Your Backyard
- Put out a number of different types of feeders with varying types of feed in them. This will help to attract a range of bird species. Target the feed and the feeder types at the specific types of birds you would like to attract. For example, put out hummingbird feeders filled with nectar to attract hummingbirds.
- Keep your feeders clean and tidy to prevent the risk of disease from moldy or stale food.
- Place your feeders where the birds can easily escape from predators such as cats.
- Make sure you put out feed regularly. The birds will get used to your feeding routine and will become regular visitors.
- Provide sources of water for the birds to drink and bathe in. Flowing water is best, both because birds seem to be attracted to it and also because it prevents the water from becoming stagnant. If you can only provide still water sources, make sure you refresh the water regularly. Some ideas for sources of water are ponds, streams, bird baths and water fountains. Again, think carefully about where your sources of water are placed; you want to make sure the birds are safe from predators and can relax and feel comfortable.
- Give the birds areas to shelter and nest. Bird houses are good for cavity nesters. Trees and hedges are good for non-cavity nesters.
- As well as putting out feeders, think about other ways you can provide food. For example, old pieces of wood are great for attracting insects and so work well as a food source for insect-eating birds. Lawns are good for birds that feed on worms. Shrubs that produce berries are another good food source.
- If you have the space and time, design your yard for birds. For example, plant trees, hedges and shrubs that attract birds. Lay a lawn and put in some berry-producing plants. Leave some areas to grow wild. This provides cover for the birds and also attracts insects.
If you follow this advice, you will no doubt soon start getting a lot of regular visitors to your yard. This is good both for your personal enjoyment and also for the birds that have a safe and reliable source of food and water.
My name is Dave Green and I am a keen advocate of backyard birding. Not only is it a relaxing and enjoyable hobby but it has real benefits for the birds too. I run a website dedicated to all aspects of backyard birding. You can access it here: Backyard Birding
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A QUESTION FOR YOU:
What do you do to attract birds to your yard?
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18 thoughts on “How to Attract Birds to Your Backyard”
Oh yes, definitely! We all get to go outside as long as we stay in our own yard.
I’m more into watching the birds than playing with them. They’re super pretty and cute to watch.
I loooooove me some songbirds (and birds of prey and buzzards, to be honest, but that’s another blog for another day, right?). ☺
I live near a river in a wide-open grassy area so we see lots of interesting birds. My favorite songbirds in my yard, though, are the mockingbirds and barn swallows. The swalows have been coming back to nest around my house for years (they have mud nests under a few eaves). If I put thistle out, we’ll get goldfinches, too. I could go on… Oh, do wild turkeys count?! (We have those, too. They’re hilarious to watch.)
Hi Elizabeth! Nice to hear from you. We have birds of prey and buzzards here too. Oh, and wild turkeys. I love them all. We had a Coopers Hawk come by for awhile but I guess he was just passing through. We were glad in the end, because he was terrorizing the other birds who come here all the time. We have pictures. I’ll post them some day. Birds sure are fascinating. My Jon sets up his camera by an open window. He has a remote, so he can relax and be online or whatever, and take great shots too! He’s the Birdman. Thanks for your visit! 🙂
My cats and I miss our bird feeder so much. Our last apartment was so much better and we were able to hang one. This apartment complex sucks and there’s no where for them to view the birds. I hope one day when we get our own home that we will be able to have another feeder.
I hope one day you’ll be able to feed the birds again, Lauren. They’re so pleasant to watch. Hang tight! 🙂
Ma plants our yard not only for our benefit but also to benefit the birds. We put out seed everyday and get a lot of birds. Ma likes to take photos of them.
I’m glad your ma does that, Carma. I’ll bet it’s very pretty in your backyard. 🙂
People have been putting out extra water for the birds because it’s been so hot here lately! We don’t have a yard but I enjoy watching them.
That’s good to know, you little terrier, you. 🙂 I’m glad the birds are getting some extra water this summer. We have more sources of water out for them too. And for your dogs and cats, of course. Thanks for your visit!
We have TONNES of birds in our yard! They love the Japanese flowering crabapple tree, multiflora roses and holly bush. Peep is planting more crabapples for them, too. Oohhh… and there’s this shrub the peep calls a ladybug bush even though that’s not it’s real name. We have a hedge of it and the chickadees go nuts over the seed every winter.
Wow, your yard sounds heavenly! Do you get to go out and (play) with the little birdies?
Suet is usually grease looking with seeds.. just was curious. maybe it’s small stones the smooth ones to hold the bird house down and balanced.
What are those bags hanging on the first photo with the birdhouse?
Hi Kathleen, it’s not my photo, but it looks like suet to me.
Good blog Jeannie! Thanks. The Birdman
Great photography, Jon!! Thanks for letting me use your images. I want more! Let’s do this! 🙂