A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. But it’s hard to get that bird in your hand to begin with.
Bird watchers have observed 10,000 different species of birds. Scientists believe that there could be 10,000 more that haven’t been discovered. You can help track unknown species by attracting garden birds to your backyard.
But many people struggle over how to attract birds. They put up a bird feeder and a bath and then forget about them. You need to maintain these tools, and you need to supplement them in your garden.
You can learn the basics right here in this quick guide.
Finding the Right Bird Feeder
If you don’t have a bird feeder already, you can consider a few different options. Hanging feeders are models that hang from tree branches. Bird feeder tables sit on your lawn or patio.
Hanging feeders keep food dry and contained. But squirrels and other animals can jump onto them easily. You may not be able to see birds if your feeder is high in a tree.
When purchasing a hanging feeder, select one that is sturdy and hangs low. Products like Dr. JB’s Clean Hummingbird Feeder have hard plastic and firm rope that resist strain. Test out your feeders before installing them.
Bird feeder tables may attract more birds than hanging models. If they are high off the ground, animals and insects cannot reach the food.
But birds gather at tables in high numbers. You need to provide enough room for the birds, and you need to clean the tables often.
Using Your Bird Feeder
Bird feeders are supplemental tools. The best habitats for them are ones with natural food that they can find on their own. You can install a feeder, but you should provide other foods as well.
You can buy bird feed at the store, but that isn’t always the best option. Seed and oat mixes provide protein and healthy grains. Grated cheese is easy to digest and gives birds calcium.
You can also provide fat balls. Birds use up a lot of calories while flying, so small balls of suet or bacon rind are perfect sources of energy. You can use balls to attract many species as well.
Birds like to eat insects, so you can place bugs in your feeder. Mealworms are best. You can buy them alive or dead, but make sure the birds can access them.
Place more than one feeder in your garden and fill each one with different food. This will give space for birds to spread out.
Many people think that pets kill garden birds. That is true. But one cause of death is the transmission of diseases.
Clean your feeders every week. Clean all surfaces, including the roof of your feeder. Birds can land there and spread diseases to each other.
Planting and Watering
Birds need more than feed. They need places to land and sit on. They need cover from the elements and from their predators.
Plant as much greenery in your garden as possible. You can plant flowers, bushes, and trees. Install your feeder close to nesting sites so birds don’t have to travel far to their food.
Attract insects to your garden by letting your grass grow. Many birds like to forage for bugs. Tall native grasses also provide cover for birds who want to avoid other aggressive animals.
Make sure to plant berries and leaves as well. Some birds prefer those foods over nuts and fat balls.
Birdbaths are great tools, especially in the summertime. Some birds need to drink, while others need to clean themselves off. Place your bath near a tree so the birds have cover if a predator comes near.
Add sticks to your bath. If lizards and bugs land in the water, they can use the sticks to crawl out.
But you need to be vigilant. Baths pose a number of risks, including drowning if the bath is too deep. Clean the bath regularly and avoid contaminants like pesticides from getting into the water.
Bird boxes allow birds to nest and hide from predators. They are easy to make and install, though you have a few options to choose from.
Many people know of the classic bird box: a wooden box with a slanted roof and a small hole in the front. The hole allows birds to enter, and the high walls let them tend to their nests.
You can adjust the size of your hole based on what type of bird you want to attract. The bigger the bird, the bigger the hole. Make sure the hole does not compromise the integrity of the walls.
You can also install an open front bird box. These boxes have half a front, reducing the space to hide. But species like robins like to build nests in open spaces, so you can install one to attract them.
Place your box high enough that animals cannot reach them. Install them under branches that will deflect strong rain. For added security, attach the box to the trunk with bungee cords so the box doesn’t fall over.
You can help the birds build a nest by placing dried leaves and grasses around your yard. Allow them to build the nests themselves. If they see a built nest in your box, they will assume another bird lives there.
How to Attract Garden Birds
Garden birds add songs to your yard. But they don’t come on their own initiative. You need to adopt some measures to attract them into your garden.
Find a bird feeder that provides room for different birds. Install a couple with different foods to attract multiple species. Plant greenery for food and cover.
Install a birdbath, but provide clean water for it. Build a bird box that different species can live in. Grow some resources so they can build nests.
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