How would you like to attract your favorite birds to your yard? I’m going to show you how! Simple, and almost guaranteed, too! First, a couple of fundamentals: all birds need three things, food, water, and shelter.
Food – Birds can get food from seeds you provide in your feeder, and from landscaping that offer nectar, fruit, seeds and plant insects, natural food sources.
Water – Providing this necessity is one of the quickest ways to attract birds to your yard. If you don’t have a natural water source, setting out a birdbath is quick and easy. You can even offer a heated birdbath in the winter to keep water staying ice-free.
Shelter – Can provide safety from predators, warmth or shade from the weather, or a safe place to hide nests, making your yard a more useful place for birds.
For the next step, actually beginning the selection process, you’ll need a good birding book, one covering your area of the country. Many birding series of books provide more in-depth descriptions by dividing the United States by Eastern & Western regions. That birding book must show range maps for each species, so you can determine just how available the bird you want to attract is to your region. Nothing is more frustrating than trying to attract a bird to your yard that is an irregular visitor to your area. It would also be helpful if your book suggested seed, feeder type, and feeding habits your bird-choice likes.
Now make a list of each bird you would enjoy watching and listening to in your yard.
Next, refer to your range map to confirm the bird is a frequent, regular visitor in your geographic area, either breeding or year-round.
Third, learn what feeders it prefers, and if you have one or need to purchase one.
Fourth, what seed it prefers, such as black sunflowers, safflower, nyjer or thistle, white proso millet, peanuts. milo, millet, mealworms, fruit or nectar, or suet. As a reminder, be certain you have the appropriate feeder for the seed type. E.g, a nyjer feeder for nyjer seed.
Let’s take an example, the Northern Cardinal. A bright red male who does not molt, so always in his conspicuous red-feathered suit. The Northern Cardinal does not migrate, so in winter he is even more spectacular against the snow. Cardinals prefer sunflower and safflower seeds offered from feeders with spacious landing areas, such as large hopper on platform feeders. In the summer, the cardinal’s sweet sound is one of the morning’s first melodies you’d hear. There is only one catch– you had better live on the Eastern half of the U.S.! Cardinals do not range out west beyond Texas, the Dakotas, and such. The Cardinal is the reason more birders bought birding books than any other species!
To learn more about how to improve your backyard habitat, visit www.habitat.net
Into DIY, visit nestwatch.org/birdhouse to get free downloadable nest-box plans
To learn more and participate in the Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC), visit birdcount.org
To learn more about Project Feederwatch, visit feederwatch.org
To learn more about nestwatch, visit nestwatch.org