Attracting birds to your yard and garden takes more than putting out a birdfeeder. Creating an inviting and safe area for them to feed and nest will attract more birds than any fancy feeder you find in birding magazines – although feeders are an important part of creating an environment to attract birds.
Birds need both shelters from the storms and protection from predators. Shrubs and trees provide places for birds to rest and hide from predators. Although house cats and other small mammals may pose a threat to wild birds – don’t forget the soaring hawk that can attack from above. Providing birds with sheltered areas where they are safe from both land-dwelling predators and those who attack from the sky goes a long way toward attracting and keeping birds in your yard.
Many birds are attracted to the sounds of running water and will stop to investigate if you provide a small fountain or birdbath. Moving water is preferred, as birds can hear it a distance, but if that isn’t an option provide shallow pools of water for your birds. Birds seek out water for both drinking and bathing and appreciate it when you provide a source of clean, fresh water for them.
Birdfeeders filled with the appropriate food keep birds coming back to your yard – but not all birds like the same foods or prefer the same feeders. Black oil sunflower seeds attract a wide assortment of birds from tiny nuthatches to blue jays, but offering an assortment increases your odds of attracting birds. Think finch feeders and suet feeders to satisfy bright finches and shy woodpeckers. Ground feeders often enjoy cracked corn or mixed seed scattered on the ground.
Putting up nesting boxes and birdhouses invites birds to stay and raise a family. Not all birds nest in houses, but many do. Place them so the opening faces away from prevailing winds near structures that provide shelter from the weather.
Plant brightly colored flowers to attract hummingbirds. These tiny birds preferred and purple bell-shaped flowers, such as petunias, nicotiana and fuchsias. Plant flowers that form interesting seed heads to provide a source of seeds for other songbirds in the fall.
Creating a garden oasis for birds brings your garden to life with both movement and color. Adding flowers enhances the appearance and serves double duty by providing a natural food source for visiting birds.