Attracting Birds to Your Garden
By Sabrina Essery, Freelance Writer
You don’t have to be a bird-watching enthusiast to enjoy the sights and sounds of our feathered friends enjoying your garden. By supplying local birds with food, water, and shelter, you’re helping to sustain wildlife and aiding birds when it comes time to migrate. If you’re lucky, you may even get the chance to see baby birds take flight for the first time from your own birdhouse!
To attract birds to your garden, you should aim to supply them with four things: Food, Water, Shelter, and a comfortable Habitat.
• Food: Before you purchase a bird feeder, do your research to figure out what type of feeder is best for your yard and for what kind of birds you would like to attract. Depending on these factors (as well as how worried you are about squirrels), you might choose a tray feeder, a house feeder, a window feeder, a tube feeder, a nyjer feeder, or a suet feeder. The same goes for the food you put into the feeder: there are plenty of different seeds, mixes, berries, suet cakes, etc. that you can use, and it all depends on the season and what type of birds you wish to attract.
• Water: Birds need water, just like any other creature. Bird baths are a wonderful idea, however, as with any pool of water, you should be willing to change the water every so often to avoid the breeding and spreading of bacteria. For this reason, a smaller bird bath is a little more convenient than a larger, more extravagant one. If you really want to draw birds in, create a pool or water source that they can hear. Birds might fly over your yard, missing it entirely; using a small fountain, a drip hose, or a bubbler will allow them to hear that there is a source of water nearby, increasing the likelihood that they will stop in for a visit.
• Shelter: Birds need a place to retreat from local predators, unpleasant or dangerous weather, and to raise their young. Bird houses provide dryness during the wet season, warmth during the colder months, and a place to safely raise their offspring. However, much like with bird feeders and food, you should do your research to figure out what type of birdhouse will work best for you. Don’t want a birdhouse? Go ahead and plant a tree! Birds love to nest in high, “dense” trees. Often, these trees are just as good as an enclosed birdhouse. Spruce, Fir, Pine, and Hemlock trees are all excellent choices for nesting and protection in the Winter.
• Habitat: When it comes to birds, the more trees and shrubs you have, the better. While some birds do dwell on the ground, many prefer the protection and view that trees offer them. Many birds are also used to living their lives in forests or wooded areas- so a yard or garden that features a variety of trees and shrubs will feel more like home to them. Unfortunately, many of us (especially those that live in the suburbs or in the city) don’t have the space or the ability to plant multiple trees around our homes. If this is the case, just do the best that you can! A single tree among a sea of flat lawns or concrete will still look like a good pit stop or safe haven to a bird. Finally, be patient! You can set up a perfect retreat for the local birds, but it will still likely take some time for them to take advantage of your work. If you don’t see any birds in your garden, don’t get frustrated. They will come – just give them time!