It may still be winter, but that doesn’t mean we can’t begin to prepare for spring! We know that spring is here when our days are filled with soft rains, the brilliant yellows and oranges of cheerful daffodils, and the happy chirping of neighborhood birds. If you’ve enjoyed watching birds nearby, maybe you wish you could get them to hop on over to your yard and stay a while. Does this sound like you? If you’re a beginner at birding, read our 7 tips to help you easily win over birds and keep them coming back!
Try a Variety of Feeders – If you have one bird feeder out in your yard, you’re on the right track. But if you want to attract the greatest variety of birds, try using different styles of feeders. Your basic hopper feeder is a great way to start, especially since it can hold a variety of seeds and provide birds with a place to perch. Feeding tables, cages, and mesh feeders are good choices and can serve a wide range of birds as well.
Provide a Smorgasbord of Food – Much like humans, birds enjoy eating a variety of food. Don’t just rely on one type – serve up a buffet for your feathered friends! Set out black-oil sunflower seeds on a tray or tube, place suet in a cage, offer nectar for hummingbirds, or stuff unshelled peanuts in a mesh feeder for those pretty blue jays. We suggest choosing husk-free seeds for a tidier yard! Oh, and if you’re not squeamish and want to make a difference during breeding and fledgling season, set out live mealworms.
Choose Quality Bird Food – It’s so tempting to head to your local grocer or hardware store to pick up a 50-pound bag for a couple of bucks. The problem with this is these mixes are often filled with filler seed that wild birds won’t eat. Before buying, always check the bags to see which ingredients are included. You’ll want to avoid bags that are filled with milo, wheat, or oats. Get the most out of your money by finding quality seed at a local bird supply store like Wild Birds Unlimited!
Keep Squirrels at Bay – These furry critters can damage your feeders or can even deter birds from landing and enjoying a snack. To keep squirrels out and away, try using cage feeders or feeders with a baffle. You can also use weight-sensitive bird feeders to keep food in and squirrels out.
Keep Feeders and Tables Clean – As more and more birds begin to flock to your feeders, dangerous bacteria can build up, which can be fatal to birds. Protect your feathered friends by thoroughly cleaning your feeders with a 10% bleach solution and a sturdy scrub brush. Make the chore easier by keeping your cleaning supplies in a designated feeder-cleaning bucket.
Provide Fresh, Clean Water – Birds love bathing in and drinking cool, clean water. Setting out a shallow birdbath can help meet this need. Just make sure that you change the water every few days and clean the bath every couple of weeks. This will keep deadly bacteria at bay and will also prevent the bath from becoming a breeding pond for mosquitoes.
Give Them Shelter – If you’ve ever spent time bird watching at all, you’ve probably noticed that these little guys are tentative and shy. They usually don’t like eating in the open or in the snow or rain (and who could blame them?). Make them feel safe and secure with shelter of some sort. Nest boxes and native trees and shrubs work great. Just make sure that these birds will be protected from nearby predators like neighborhood cats.
When it comes down to it, attracting birds to your yard is all about providing for their most basic needs – and having some patience to boot. Follow these tips above, sit back, and enjoy the gradual influx of birds that will begin choosing your yard as their own little oasis.