Basics of Attracting Backyard Birds

Many people have discovered the pleasure of attracting birds to their yard. Young or old, it is easy to smile when surrounded by the song, color, and antics of our feathered friends. Attracting birds is a particularly good way to introduce children to the appreciation of wildlife.

The keys to attracting birds can be summarized in three basic steps:

  • Providing food
  • Providing water
  • Providing shelter

The Backyard Birding Checklist

Feeding
To attract a variety of birds, use different types of bird feeders in different locations. For your viewing pleasure, you may still want to keep your feeders visible from your favorite window.

Sunflower seed is a popular food for many songbirds – including the colorful cardinals and blue jays. However, birds do like a variety, be sure to provide several types of seed. If you are just getting started, a single feeder with mixed seed is a good way to attract a variety of visitors.

Try to put out at least one clear feeder so the birds can see the seed.

Locate the feeders near some cover vegetation, such as trees and shrubs, to offer a quick means of shelter in the event of a predator.

Keep the bird feeders filled all year round. Birds need the feed most in the winter months.

Clean your feeders periodically with soapy water and rinse thoroughly. You should let your feeders dry before refilling with seed.

Water
When attracting birds, water is perhaps more important than providing seed.
Be sure to provide a source of clean water and change it on a regular basis.

Shelter
The easiest and most natural way to provide shelter for birds is to provide shrubbery, such as holly, evergreens, and forsythia.

You may also want to provide bird houses and nesting boxes.