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Having a variety of wild birds to watch in your backyard is really something special. Their vibrant colors and songs can make any backyard feel peaceful. I find watching them relaxing and it helps me connect to nature. For the past couple of years, we have had the pleasure of watching multiple generations of birds build nests and raise their young.
To attract more birds, we have created a bird feeder station in our yard where we can provide nutritious food and access to fresh water. This makes it easy to enjoy our regular local birds as well as seasonal visitors.
How to Attract Birds to Your Backyard
Creating a bird feeder station with different types of feeders at varying heights will attract birds.
1. Include a Variety of Bird Feeders
2. Offer a Variety of Food to Birds
Maintaining bird feeders in your yard provides an extra boost of calories and nutrition. This will help them survive the harsh winter months and have energy for migrating. Especially if you live in an urban area, introducing more food sources will benefit birds.
Nuts, Seeds and Flowers for Birds
The lavender-pink flower clusters attract butterflies, hummingbirds, and bees. The lemon-mint-oregano flavored petals can also be used to replace oregano in dishes or used for tea.
A favorite native wildflower, the Purple Coneflower produces lovely pinkish-purple petals in midsummer. In the fall and winter, the seed cone attracts birds. It is often used for borders and is a good companion plant for lavender, Golden Rod, and Phlox ‘David’.
Creating a space filled with a mix of flowers will help attract birds and butterflies to your bird feeder station. To provide a consistent supply of food throughout the year, choose plants that have different bloom times. Some species of birds rely on seeds and berries for energy during the winter.
Suet Cakes for Birds
Birds that are omnivores and normally eat insects will enjoy suet cakes. These include birds such as woodpeckers, nuthatches, warblers, orioles, chickadees, titmice, and wrens. Suet cakes are blocks made with suet and a variety of ingredients such as peanuts, fruits, and dried insects. Suet blocks are best as a protein-rich food source in winter months. If the blocks are exposed to heat, they will melt and transfer onto the birds.
Favorite Fruits of Birds
You can offer a variety of fruits such as:
In the winter, some birds such as mockingbirds, catbirds, and thrashers will enjoy currants and raisins.
Homemade Hummingbird Nectar Recipe
An easy and quick recipe for making hummingbird nectar requires only two ingredients. Bring to a boil and let cool before placing in hummingbird feeder.
3. Provide a Water Source for Birds
Birds will enjoy fresh, clean water for hydration, bathing, and cooling off.
The sound and sight of moving water will attract birds to your bird station. A bubbler or solar-powered fountain pump will keep water flowing. In winter months, a bird bath heater will ensure that your bird feeder station will continue to provide fresh water.
4. Provide Shelter and Nesting Sites for Birds
Including birdhouses in your backyard landscaping will help provide shelter and encourage breeding. Birdhouses made of durable and natural materials such as pine or cedar work best. The size of the nesting box and its entry hole will determine what species of birds will use them.
To help minimize the risk of animals climbing up to a birdhouse and raiding it, use a guard made of plastic or metal. It is best to use a style that uses motion to deter invaders. Although there are many commercial baffles available, I recommend researching options on Pinterest and creating your own.
Unwanted birdhouse guests such as bees, wasps, ants, blowflies, mites, or lice may appear inside the shelters. Cleaning them periodically will help prevent infestations.
Birds prefer to take shelter in shrubs, trees, or stands of grass. Having a variety of plants of all heights, will encourage them to shelter on your property.
Tips for How to Keep Birds Safe
1. Clean Bird Feeder Station Clean
To minimize the risk of spreading disease and parasites, you should clean bird feeders with warm soapy water and a small amount of bleach. Wet bird seed can mold, so let the bird feeder air dry prior to refilling.
The ground underneath the bird feeder should also be kept clean of old seed, droppings, and other debris.
2. Minimize Risk of Predators
Placing bird feeders in the open within a short flying distance from native trees and shrubs will help protect birds. You should also keep bird feeders away from your home to minimize the risk that birds will fly into your windows.
2. Provide Plenty of Bird Feeders
To minimize crowding, provide several bird feeders in your backyard. This will help smaller birds eat with less competition from larger birds that may be aggressive feeders.