Many birds’ natural habitats are being destroyed due to the increasing destruction of forests, parks, and other natural outdoor spaces, which makes our gardens an integral part of helping to save birds. But did you know birds are important to our gardens as well? In addition to adding color and livelihood to your yard, birds also help keep pests away and provide natural nurturing to our plants. But how do you get birds to spend time in your garden? The only way birds will spend time in your garden is by offering up a safe and healthy environment, so use the tips below to create an inviting space for wildlife.
One of the most overlooked aspects of trying to attract birds to your garden or yard is seasonality. This includes both the seasonality of your plants, as well as the birds who will be visiting. Depending on where you live, there might be birds who consider themselves residents of your garden, others that are merely tourists in your yard during times of migration. To plan accordingly, conduct research on the most popular birds in your geographic area during each of the four seasons. By knowing which birds will most likely be in your area during different parts of the years, you’ll be able to identify better which plants and flowers would prosper in your garden.
Humans and birds are both alike in that everyone has their own taste for food. The best way to attract a variety of birds to your garden is by providing a variety of foods. Variety in the plants you plant, fruits you grow, and seeds you provide gives you a better chance to see a wide range of birds. For example, greenfinches like sunflower seeds, goldfinches prefer niger seeds, and siskins enjoy berries. Food variety also increases the likelihood of birds staying around longer and making your garden their home.
Food variety also includes different methods of getting food, such as picking berries off plants, seeds from the ground, or seeds from a bird feeder. Some birds will eat seeds and berries off the ground, others are pickier and prefer to eat seeds from a feeder and berries from a bush. For birds who pick their food up naturally, there isn’t much you need to do, but if you are using a feeder, invest in a bird feeder hook or decorative garden stake to keep your feeder off the ground and away from predators.Even more so, feeders can help birds find food when food is scarce. Winter is a prime time for bird feeders as natural food is in short supply. By providing a place for birds to find food, when naturally occurring food is scarce, it’s a lot easier to attract birds.
Protection and Safety
Predators are one of the biggest deterrents from birds frequenting a yard or garden. Can you blame them? Who wants to go hang out and eat somewhere when there is a high risk of being eaten? For your bird feeders, keep them up off the ground by hanging them from a tree or a shepherd hook. If you leave the bird feeder too close to the ground, rodents and other small animals will not only eat the food, but they may try to eat the birds if they are close to the ground while feeding.
Use shrubs, evergreens, and brush piles to create shelter for the birds. These natural sources of protection are great for both predators and harsh weather. Can’t plant shrubs or trees in your yard due to space limitations? Try hanging a birdhouse from a decorative yard stake or mount one to a tree. You can also buy or create nesting boxes for the birds.
There are a variety of other tips and tricks to encourage birds to frequent your yard or garden such as:
- Water: Not only do birds love to play in bird baths, but they also need a source for drinking. This is especially important in colder climates and during the winter.
- Natural foods: Don’t feed birds anything processed or cooked. These foods are not readily available in nature, and there is no concrete information on the effects it has on birds
- Fruit: If you find yourself throwing away fruit that is going bad, toss them in your yard or garden for the birds. If the birds don’t eat them within a few days, bury them in the soil to provide a good meal for soil bugs such as earthworms.
- Seeding: Leave plants and herbs to grow during the seeding stage. This provides birds with additional food to complement the seeds in your bird feeder.
- Windows: If you have windows looking out to your garden or find that birds have been flying into them, place either a netting on the outside or apply large bird decals on the glass. The net will give a visual to the birds that it is not an open path; the decal will not only give the visual but likely prevent birds from flying near it. However, if your garden or outdoor space is small, a large, intimidating bird decal may not be the best idea.
Birds are fascinating to watch, especially when you can see them from the comfort of your own home. Use these tips to help attract more birds to your garden or yard.