How to Attract Birds to Your Garden
- Benefits of Attracting Birds to Your Garden
- Provide Shelter to Attract Birds to Your Garden
- Provide Water to Attract Birds to Your Garden
- Provide Food to Attract Birds to Your Garden
- Use Color to Attract Birds to Your Garden
- Keep a Good Book For Identifying Birds Nearby
Fortunately, if you want to attract birds to your garden, it is not difficult or costly. Attracting birds to the garden is as simple as providing the appropriate shelter, water, and food. Like people, birds are always looking for the best places to live. If you provide that, they will come.
Benefits of Attracting Birds to Your Garden
Birds Help With Pollination
Birds, like bees and butterflies, are great pollinators for your garden. This is one of the best reasons to attract birds to your garden. As birds move from plant to plant collecting food, they are also gathering pollen and distributing it about the garden. Pollinated plants mean more blooms and more plants. That is always a benefit!
Birds Help With Weed Control
Birds reduce weeds by eating the weed seeds before they mature into full grown plants. Finches and sparrows are particularly good at eating weed seeds.
Birds Help With Rodent Control
Larger birds such as hawks and owls eat rodents such as mice, rats, and snakes. Unfortunately, they do not discriminate against eating small dogs so beware of that before attracting large birds to your yard.
When You Attract Birds to Your Garden You Increase Biodiversity
When your garden is full of different plants, insects, and birds, it increases the overall health of your garden. Attracting birds to your garden increases the biodiversity of your garden and that always adds to overall garden health.
Provide Shelter to Attract Birds to Your Garden
Trees Attract Birds to Your Garden
Obviously, birds use trees to rest, gather, nest, and as protection from inclement weather. When adding trees to your yard, consider adding fruit trees that will provide both shelter and food to the birds in your yard.
Bushes Attract Birds to Your Garden
Bushes are also great for attracting birds to your garden. Flowering bushes and berry bushes are particularly useful in bringing birds to your yard. Birds will also nest in large bushes. When planting trees or bushes, concentrate on native selections that are best fit for your yard and for providing shelter to the native birds that live in your location.
Birdhouses Are a Great Source of Shelter
Birdhouses vary greatly. There are simple birdhouses that consist of a wooden box with a hole in it. There are elaborate and decorative birdhouses that are multi-leveled. You will also find birdhouses that are specific to a species of bird such as a swallow. Providing a variety of birdhouses will, obviously, attract a variety of birds to your garden. If you are feeling particularly creative, birdhouses are relatively easy to make. Include a child when you tackle the project and give them a chance to learn more about birds and their nesting habits.
Provide Nesting Materials
You can assist the birds in their nesting by providing nesting materials for them. Nesting materials birds prefer include bits of string, pieces of yarn, human hair, pet hair, grass clippings, and small twigs. You can even buy materials specifically for nesting materials. Cotton nesting balls are balls of cotton that are wrapped loosely in rope and then hung from a tree. Birds can easily pull the cotton from the ball and then return to improve their nest. Other materials such as coconut fiber are also available for purchase for birds to use as nesting materials.
Provide Water to Attract Birds to Your Garden
Birdbaths are an easy way to provide a source of water for birds, As a bonus, it is fun for both children and adults to watch a bird splashing in water. Locate birdbaths close to large windows of your house and you can watch from your home.
Birds are attracted to the sound of moving water, so consider adding a bubbler or a fountain birdbath to your garden. If you want to go all out, add a waterfall. Both you and the birds will benefit from a waterfall feature in the garden. The sound of splashing water will attract the birds and soothe you at the same time. Like birdfeeders, water features work best when there are multiple sources for the birds to use.
Natural Water Sources
Natural water sources such as ponds and streams will attract a wide variety of animals and birds to your home. If you are lucky enough to have these natural water sources in your yard, then you are probably already attracting birds to your garden. Ponds can be added to the garden and costs vary greatly, depending on the type of pond. If you have a large yard, you can hire someone to dig a pond for you. Depending on your soil, you may or may not need a liner. Clay soil will retain water, while sandy soil will require a liner. If you have a smaller yard, you can buy small plastic ponds from your local home improvement store. Although not natural, these little ponds look great when decorated with rocks and surrounding plants.
Provide Food to Attract Birds to Your Garden
Birdfeeders are available in a wide variety of sizes and styles. Some are specific to certain birds such as hummingbirds. The best strategy to attract birds to your garden is to use a variety of birdfeeders. It is also a good idea to locate birdfeeders in different parts of the yard to reduce competition with the more aggressive birds. When considering birdfeeders, keep the following factors in mind.
Levels. Birds feed at different levels. The World Birds website tells us some birds like cardinals and blue jays prefer feeding at ground level while finches prefer elevated cylindrical feeders.
Location. Location of birdfeeders also needs to be varied for best results. Some birds prefer feeders in open locations in the middle of the yard, while others feel more comfortable with a more private location in a secluded nook.
Squirrels. Squirrels are a nuisance when it comes to birdfeeders. Luckily, there are ways to make it difficult for squirrels to reach the feeders. There are “squirrel proof” birdfeeders available for purchase. You can also add “squirrel baffles” to the poles of your birdfeeders to prevent squirrels from climbing up the birdfeeder poles.
Cleaning. It is also important to regularly clean your feeders. Birds will avoid dirty feeders. This includes both regular seed feeders and nectar feeders. Also, regular cleaning will ensure that there is no moldy feed in your birdfeeder.
Plant Berries and Fruits
Like humans, birds love berries and fruits that grow in bushes and trees in our gardens. Some favorites for birds are raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, mulberries, cherries, apples, crabapples, plums, and grapes.
Plant Flowers That Attract Birds
Birds are attracted to flowers that are rich in nectar or in seeds. Some flowers that are particularly useful for attracting flowers include coral bells, trumpet vine, petunias, iris, honeysuckle, coneflowers, bee balm, sage, lily, and lavender.
Choose Food That Birds Love For Birdfeeders
Birdseed. A basic bird seed mix will attract birds to your birdfeeders, but if you want specific birds, offer seeds specifically for them. For example, black oil sunflower seeds are the best for attracting songbirds to your garden.
Suet. Suet is a raw fat that can be fed to birds. It is available in a cake form that is easy to use and can be placed in a special cage feeder for suet. Suet can also be made at home and then smeared onto logs or a tree branch to feed the birds. Suet is great for attracting woodpeckers and nuthatches.
Nuts. Birds such as jays, titmice, and magpies love peanuts. Mix pieces of nuts into your birdfeed or offer them by themselves whole or shelled in the birdfeeder.
Fruits. Bits of cut fruit such as oranges, apples, grapes, and melons are also a way to attract birds to your garden. Fruits are easiest to feed from platform feeders.
Nectar. Special hummingbird feeders are fairly common and work great to attract birds to you garden. They are commonly brightly colored (which also attracts hummingbirds) and are filled with homemade nectar or store-bought nectar. Locate them near windows of your home to enjoy watching the hummingbirds feed.
Use Color to Attract Birds to Your Garden
An easy way to attract birds to your garden is to plant flowers in the colors that attract birds. For instance, red is known to attract hummingbirds so plant red flowers under or near your hummingbird feeders. Orange and yellow flowers are known to attract orioles and goldfinches. Species specific birdfeeders are also often available in colors that attract those birds.
Keep a Good Book For Identifying Birds Nearby
I like to keep a book for identifying birds on the coffee table in my living room. That way, when I see an unusual bird outside in a tree I can quickly identify it. Such a book is also a great way to engage kids with nature. Show them how to identify birds with the book. Maybe let them add a note to the book under the photo of the identified bird with a date. “Noah spotted in birdbath on July 27, 2020.” You will not only be creating fun memories to share, but you will also teach your children to be more observant and appreciate nature.
Possible books on amazon: