For bird lovers, having one or more as a pet just isn’t enough. There is a whole world of beauty outside that you can attract to your home whether you own a pet bird or not. You can be as simple or as elaborate as you want to be, and soon you will find that there is an amazing array of colors, attitudes and personalities you never realized was right outside your door.
What Kinds of Birds Are Common to Find at Feeders?
For most people in the United States, the most common ones they see regularly are robins, sparrows and swallows. Even these common birds may seem ordinary until you start to pay attention. You may be surprised at how many varieties of even these usual yard occupants there are.
Once you start to actually try an attract more birds to your yard by placing feeders and/or water sources in strategic places, you will begin to see even more species coming out and finding you.
If You Build It, They Will Come
In part, it is true that if you put out food and water, birds will find it. However, that’s only part of the truth. The birds that already travel in and around your property will be thrilled to find the extra resources. However, to attract different birds you are going to have to find a way to let them know that a new spot exists that is attractive.
Water is a big draw for wild birds. It is one resource that can be even more difficult to find in landlocked areas. Small bird baths are a gathering spot, but may not be recognized unless you add some extra elements to cue birds in the area in that it is there. Adding a little fountain, bubbler or spray will bring more birds flocking to the area.
Different birds eat different things. If you only put out one type of wild bird food, black sunflower seeds, for instance, only the birds that are attracted to them will come. Why put out a plate when you can provide a virtual smorgasbord of flavors and foods. Specialty types of feeders like nectar feeders that contain sugar water are a great way to bring in non-seed eaters like hummingbirds. If you love the colorful goldfinches, put out a seed mix that contains thistle or nyjer.
To make your yard a true haven for the neighborhood flock, add lots of little hideaways and safe areas that birds can rest, eat and provide you with the beauty of their vocalizations without fear of the neighborhood cat or other predators. Feeders placed near bushes, large plants or dense trees will make birds feel more comfortable and more likely to engage in your offerings. It won’t take long before the shrubs and trees in your yard come alive with the songs of birds. Don’t be surprised if you get families moving in and building little homes in your plants as well.
Remember when planning your bird feeder areas, that birds are not the only species attracted to seeds and nectar. If you don’t want to be feeding the local squirrel population too, use anti-squirrel feeders like shepherd’s crooks, or feeders with squirrel blockers to prevent them from climbing up and cleaning out the seeds before the birds get a chance to have any.
A wide cone or tray build around the feeder post about midway between the feeder and the ground will also help catch seeds that are tossed out by the birds. Seeds that build up on the ground to provide nice food sources for ground feeders, but they also attract other rodents that may not be as desirable. The catch trays or cones prevent that from happening.
Don’t be disappointed if at first all of the birds in your yard are common, everyday birds. Birds congregating in one place attract more birds, and soon exotic birds will find you just because they hear other birds chirping and flying about.
Adding or Replacing Feeders
Even an established bird area will be disrupted a little bit if you want to change out an old feeder for a new one, or add another feeder. They may look better to you, and your intentions are the best by adding extra stations, remember birds are both creatures of habit and prey animals. That makes them leery of new things that pop up suddenly. They will appreciate your efforts, but it may take a few days, or even weeks before the yard returns to its active, normal occupancy.
Keeping Up with Feeding
If you do start feeding the wild birds in your area, remember that even though birds usually migrate in the winter, some may stay around because they have a ready food source—yours. If you stop feeding in the winter, those birds will starve, because the food and water they expected to be there isn’t any more.
Feature Photo of Eastern Blue Bird Copyright: steve_byland / 123RF Stock Photo