Birdwatching is a fun activity. It is entertaining, low-cost and very informative. You can do it anywhere, even in your backyard. If you are new to birding or you want to start this hobby we have a few tips for you to enjoy backyard birding.
If you are ready to start and enjoy birdwatching, we suggest that you equip your home or surroundings with the following to entice birds in your area.
The best way to attract birds is to feed them. Food sources can be naturally occurring or you can purchase bird feeders as supplemental sources. Bird feeders attract a wide variety of birds. These popular foods attract birds:
When storing and buying food for your feathered friends, keep this in mind:
- Buy small quantities of different seed and observe which attracts more birds
- Keep your seed supply dry and away from rodents and moisture
- Clean the feeders regularly to prevent sick or diseased birds
Take note that the location of the feeders and its elevation will affect the number of varieties of birds that you will attract. When placing your feeder, consider the following:
- Do not place the feeder from busy sidewalks or any area where birds can easily be distracted
- Do not place the feeder near your window. Window strikes are responsible for millions of bird deaths each year
- Place the feeder near bushes or other covers where birds can have a quick escape from potential predators
Birds need a dependable supply of water throughout the year to replenish themselves. Great sources of water include the following:
- Small pools
If you are planning to add a water source for the birds in your area, take note that moving or flowing water attracts more birds. This is because these water forms are more visible and birds can hear their movement from a great distance. For the water, it should be kept fresh and clean. Avoid adding any chemicals to purify the water as it can be harmful to the birds. During winter, a heated birdbath will provide birds drinkable water without having to use their body heat. You can also use heater for regular birdbaths.
Just like humans, birds also need a safe haven. They need an area where they feel protected from their predators. If your area has native shrubs and trees, it will be great for nest sites and shelter during cold temperatures and bad weather. Here are the most common shelters for birds:
- Scrub brush piles
- Overgrown grassy areas
If you want to provide shelter for your feathered friends, design different levels of shelter because some birds prefer high shelters, others low. Placing the shelter near the feeders is a popular choice because some birds quickly retreat when threatened.
Give your home a bird friendly landscape
If you want your home to be attractive to birds, you have to design it with a bird friendly landscape. You can do something to achieve this. Here are some tips to do it.
Add native plants in your surroundings – Native landscaping includes local and regional trees, shrubs, flowers, and grasses. Birds recognize these plants as natural food sources and potential shelter. If you are considering on using exotic plants, you may put that on hold now because birds are not attracted to them. In addition, native plants are easier to grow because they adapt to the local climate.
Apply Layered Vegetation – provide layers of vegetation in your backyard by adding plants that grow in different heights. Space them appropriately to create a tiered effect. The larger and taller trees can be surrounded with moderately sized shrubs or low flowers. Birds will find this setup attractive and they will not be feeling crowded.
Reduce Open Areas, Add More Plants – Birds will feel safe if there is an adequate shelter in your background. So, create dense areas of vegetation to keep smaller birds from potential predators. A dense vegetation is also more friendly for roosting and nesting. If this landscape will be successful, the backyard birds will be an addition to your close neighbors. When planting, make sure that you have different types of plants to attract a variety of birds. For instance, flowering shrubs are good sources of nectar and they attract insects that birds can feed on. Meanwhile, evergreen trees and shrub will produce cones and seeds, and will be a good shelter during winter.
If you are trying to add a bird landscape in your backyard, remember that mess is best. The natural habitats of birds are not as organized and as clean as one wants to see. If you want them to stay in your backyard, you should mimic their natural habitat. However, your backyard should look like a mini garden or perhaps mini forest, not a dump site to contain all your junk stuff.
When growing plants, consider the birds that you are trying to attract. Choose natural and organic fertilizers that will not harm them. Minimize pesticides. Allow birds to feed on the bugs. If possible, evaluate your soil and choose the appropriate plants for it. Meanwhile, if you are hiring a landscaper, inform them head on that your goal is to attract birds, so they can design a suitable habitat for your feathered friends.
So, there it is. You only have to provide the birds with food, water and shelter to attract them. If you want them to be your neighbor, add a friendly birding landscape in your backyard to entice them to stay there for good. Try this and you will surely enjoy backyard birdwatching more.