If you have a backyard or a garden, you probably enjoy spending time out there. Why not share your space with your local native bird populations? Attracting birds to your garden can be beneficial to you, your family, your garden, and the birds and local plant life and wildlife. A few easy tricks can get your backyard bustling with the chirps and chatter of happy birds all year round!
There are many benefits to attracting birds to your outdoor space. Besides being fun to watch, birds are very helpful to gardens. Many species of birds eat an assortment of insects, including those pesky mosquitoes. Using birds as pest control allows you to refrain from using severe chemical insecticides that can harm people and the ecosystem.
Local birds also provide assistance in your gardening. Sparrows, finches, and other birds eat weed seeds, eliminating the unwanted plants without hours of backbreaking work for you. Hummingbirds are great examples of how birds can also help pollinate your garden. They, and other species, pollinate the flowers in your garden by spreading their nectars, causing the flowers to bloom bigger and brighter. Your garden will be even more successful and brighter flowers will attract even more birds to your garden.
If you already have a backyard or garden, and the birds just aren't showing up, there are many things you can do to invite them to your oasis. It is important to do some research on your local bird species and their likes and dislikes. Aside from planting local plants, flowers, and fruit trees that will attract birds naturally, it is also a very good idea to provide birds with general things they need, mainly food, water, and shelter. Birdhouses and birdbaths can either be constructed or purchased and placed in your garden or backyard to encourage birds to feel safe and return. Birdbaths should be 1 inch deep and cleaned weekly. If nesting spots and supplies can be provided, you may have a nest full of hatchlings right outside your home!
Nesting boxes or nesting sites can be provided for birds if you’d like them to create their nest in your backyard. Yarn, pet hair, human hair, small pieces of cloth, chemical- and dye-free dryer lint, straw, string and other fibers can be left for the birds as nesting materials, but should not be placed directly within nesting sites. The birds like to gather the materials and create their own nests.
Providing a new food source will inherently attract birds to your yard. Basic birdseed mixes are available all over, from hardware stores to supermarkets, and are a great place to start. As birds start approaching your garden, you may want to gain more attention by adding new seeds.
Songbirds are particularly attracted to sunflower seeds. Hummingbirds and orioles are attracted to sugar water, so try that in their water source. Many species such as doves, ducks, cardinals, ravens, and quails eat corn, which should be served cracked and shelled, and never left standing in wet conditions as it can spoil and become harmful to the birds. Cardinals, doves, and sparrows enjoy safflower seeds. Peanuts also attract certain birds, if the birds can get to them before the squirrels do, and should also be kept dry to avoid spoiling.
It is always important to teach your family to be respectful of the birds and other wildlife your backyard will attract. Nests, eggs, and hatchlings should never be touched or moved. Try to avoid birdhouses with perches as this can encourage predators to gain access to the houses and kill the birds. Research your local wildlife – some nuts and sweet treats can attract raccoons, deer, and even bears to your backyard if they are native to your area.
Having a bustling garden is great for your mood, brings you closer to the environment, and can be educational for the whole family! Bring your kids to the backyard and have them identify different bird species by looks and chirps, draw different birds or photograph them. Introduce little ones to local species and the environment. Help them build their own bird feeders! There are many possibilities for you and your family to interact with nature, and you and your garden can benefit from inviting birds to your backyard.