If you have a yard, you are just four steps away from making the perfect backyard bird habitat. Here's how to bring feathery friends flocking to your backyard.
A perfectly manicured lawn with no weeds may appeal to some humans, but wouldn't it be more interesting to turn your yard into a wild bird habitat?
There are four simple things you can do to attract birds to your home.
Tips for Creating a Backyard Bird Habitat
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Grow Native Plants
Plants that are designed to tolerate your local rainfall, soil, and weather conditions are more likely to thrive than plants imported from other places. This means less work on your part, and will also assure that your backyard habit is ecofriendly. You won't have to water excessively or use chemicals to ensure proper growth.
Plus, native plants will feel more familiar and comfortable with your local bird population.
Look for trees that produce berries, seeds, or nuts that birds like to eat. For example, beeches and oaks produce nuts and seeds that attract large songbirds (and squirrels.) Flowers such as sunflowers, asters, and daisies draw many seed-eating birds, especially sparrows.
Diversify! Provide plants that grow to all different heights, offer a variety of foliage, and plants that bloom, flower, or fruit during different times of the year. This way, your yard is more likely to attract a variety of birds year-round.
Love plants? Try these great indoor plant options as well.
Feeding stations in your yard can be a big draw to local wildlife. Be aware that you may be attracting more than birds.
Squirrels, chipmunks, mice, raccoons, rats, skunks, and even deer have been known to take over feeding stations.
If these animals live in your area, you'll need to purchase or make feeders that deter anything bigger than a bird, or include built-in "squirrel bafflers."
You may also want to avoid certain foods that are particularly attractive to some mammals, like table scraps, suet, or peanut butter. Or, alternately, you can provide squirrels and chipmunks with their own feeders, filled with food they like best.
Corn cobs and baked goods are always a hit with the rodent population.
Provide feeders on different levels: One feeder up high, one at table-height, and a ground feeder will entice the largest variety of birds and help deter squabbling and bullying amongst your visitors.
Also, keep in mind that feeders located near cover will be more popular than feeders out in the open.
A variety of foods will ensure a variety of avian visitors.
At certain times of the year, fresh, clean water - even more than food - can make your yard a desirable refuge for birds. Besides classic round-birdbath-on-a-pedestal, there are many ways to provide water. As with food and foliage, a variety of options will ensure the most activity.
Water can be provided in store-bought birdbaths, large saucers, or even garbage can lids. If you can provide water at a variety of depths, offered at a variety of heights, you may see more variety of birds.
Gently running or dripping water often proves irresistible to birds for drinking and bathing and is less likely to freeze during winter months.
A pond can enhance a yard's beauty as well as draw birds. A thriving pond stocked with fish, frogs, snails, or water insects may draw birds that eat these creatures. The larger the pond, the more chance migrating birds will notice it from the sky.
Provide Birdhouses and Nesting Boxes
Different birds will be attracted to different shelters. There are hundreds of store-bought birdhouses on the market and just as many designs for building your own. You'll have to do your research to figure out what will work best for your habitat. The birds most likely to nest in a man-made birdhouse are house wrens, chickadees, tree swallows; house finches are also common inhabitants of birdhouses.
Try hanging mesh bags full of possible nesting material, such as cat or dog hair and yarn, next to birdhouses to entice nesting birds.
Some species that won't inhabit birdhouses, such as robins, phoebes, and barn swallows, may nest on a shelf or platform with only one or two sides and a roof.
Once you've provided food, water, and cover your backyard meets the requirements for becoming a National Wildlife Federation Certified Wildlife Habitat! Now, you can sit back and enjoy the beauty of birds in your own backyard!