Attracting birds to your yard is a matter of carefully considering landscaping, and providing the things that birds need in order to survive, or will simply enjoy. Obvious answers to how you can go about attracting birds to your yard include things like placing bird feeders and birdhouses of varying types on your property. Yet birds are less likely to use these if they can’t find the other things they would need to survive, nest and feed their young families.
You should think about the basic needs of birds and the types of birds you’d like to attract when planning a garden. For instance if you’d like to attract birds like hummingbirds to your property, then planting red and especially blue and purple flowers is likely to do the trick. You don’t even need a hummingbird feeder. Yet many birds rely on more than nectar and eat a varied diet of seeds, nuts, and insects in order to survive. They also need access to a small amount of water.
You should avoid gardening with pesticides or herbicides since many of these can harm birds, or cause them to produce young with unsurvivable birth defects. Further, pesticides tend to reduce insect population, which many birds need to survive. Also consider not allowing cats or dogs that hunt in any areas where you want to attract birds, since this will make for a very poor combination. You may end up only attracting birds to their deaths.
In planning out your yard to attract birds, consider the following in your garden:
- A fruit bearing tree or two, like crabapples or chokecherries.
- A few larger trees like firs, pines, nut trees, and trees that produce acorns.
- An area devoted to grass.
- An area planted with colored flowers like agapanthus, Mexican sage, lavender, and red flowers.
- Some areas of the garden with open, easy to dig through dirt.
- A birdbath, pond, or easily accessible fountain.
- A couple of bird feeders containing millet.
- Some high bird houses and if you’d like to attract birds that nest on the ground, consider some safe, camouflaged wooden boxes that would make ideal nests on the ground, perhaps surrounded by tall grasses.
Since you are most likely to attract birds to your garden that are native to your area, consider using only native plants. Research the birds local to your area to find out about their diets. Also, plan to vary plants so that you have ready supplies of food for birds that migrate through your area at certain times of the year. For example if you live in an area where persimmons are widely grown, have a persimmon tree to attract birds that visit in the winter and eat the fruit.
Do be aware that certain bird attractors, especially bird feeders and fruit trees can also attract other animals to your yard. You might find that bird feeders are impractical if local rats discover your feeder. On the other hand, squirrels and raccoons may be welcome visitors provided you always remember they are wild animals and need to be left alone. With birds, you should also remember that these animals prosper best when left alone. Never attempt to touch birds or remove young from nests, but instead, find a good vantage point to watch the parade of nature through your bird friendly yard.