With summer in full swing, wildlife is incredibly abundant in most areas. Bird watching can be a great way to pass the time on a lazy summer morning. It’s also a very educational activity for children. However, if your backyard isn't particularly inviting, many birds will choose to keep on flying rather than visiting your neck of the woods. If you would like to encourage a few more of your feathered friends to call your yard their home, here are a few tips for attracting birds to your backyard.
Provide plenty of fresh water: Like all animals, birds need fresh water to survive. Provide them with a bird bath and keep it clean and full of fresh water. You can also build a backyard pond or even just provide a small drip hose for a few hours in the morning.
Offer plenty of shelter: Birds are prey animals and thus tend to be timid by nature. Offer plenty of shrubs, trees and other areas for them to hide. Place your bird feeder a short distance from this cover to give them a place to scope things out before diving in for some seed. You will not only make your birds feel more welcome, but you will also give them a place to hide from your neighbor's cat!
Let leaves stay where they fall: Allow certain areas of your yard to stay covered with fallen leaves. This attracts bugs to the area since they love to live in the moist ground underneath and feed on rotting vegetation. These bugs are an attractive food source for many different types of birds.
Offer them places to raise their young: While many birds are happy nesting in your hanging plant or a nearby shrub, some really enjoy the safety of a nice bird house. Hang a bird house or two in the back yard and make sure to clean it out once or twice a year when you are sure there are no birds nesting in it.
Lure them in with food: Depending on what types of birds live in your area, you will need to do a bit of research on what type of food use. An all purpose seed mix will attract many of the common song birds. Other types enjoy thistle, fresh fruit, suet or nectar. Buy a bird-watching book and do some research about common bird types in your area. Make this simple DIY bird feeder and you might see some beautiful feathered friends come to visit!
- ½ a grapefruit with the flesh removed
- 2 wooden skewers
- 2 (12 to 18 inch long) pieces of twine
- ½ to 1 cup seed mix
Place the grapefruit on a table with the cut side down to create a stable platform. Poke one wooden skewer through the side of the rind, going straight through the other side. Repeat this with the 2nd skewer, going from the opposite direction.
Using the image as a guide, tie the twine to both ends of each skewer to create loops that will support hanging up the bird feeder.
Fill the grapefruit rind with seed mix. Hang the bird feeder in a tree and wait to see who shows up!
Many bird species are declining in numbers and could really use our help. Providing a safe place for birds to live helps improve their survival rate, but also offers a lot of enjoyment for us as well.
Do you have a safe place set up for backyard birds?
Photo courtesy of Diane Hoffmaster.