Spring means our singing, nesting, feathered friends are back from their southern holidays. So, now’s the time for all you bird-watchers to stock up on supplies if you want to attract as many species as possible to your yard.
While many birds do hang around during the colder months, spring is, by far, when the bulk of them appear. If you want to see more of them from your window, we’ve got the feeders, houses, and plants you need to make your yard a veritable bird haven.
Different feeders attract different birds. They’re designed to hold different types of seeds, and different species like different seeds, while some don’t like seeds at all.
Some birds are also attracted to certain colors, which is why you’ll see red hummingbird feeders and orang oriole feeders. Yellow is used to attract goldfinches and warblers. Blue Jays and bluebirds like blue feeders.
Below are some of the most popular types of food and seeds that attract birds:
- Thistle seed: This will attract many types of finches.
- Millet: Perfect for ground feeders, like sparrows, doves, juncos, and cardinals.
- Cracked corn: Attracts cardinals, grosbeaks, crows, ravens, jays, and doves. It might also attract ducks, turkey, and quail.
- Peanuts (shelled or unshelled): This is a good choice if you want to attract jays, crows, chickadees, titmice, and woodpeckers.
After you have the right seed, you just need the right feeder to put it in:
Clear window feeder: Brave birds that enjoy various seeds will have no problem flitting into one of these cool-looking clear window feeders. It attaches to your window with suction cups and offers easy, close-up viewing of birds while they dine.
Thistle feeder: Tube finch feeders are designed to hold thistle seed. They’re longer to allow multiple birds to hang out and eat at once. The dish on the base catches any falling seeds, so other birds can eat as well.
Suet cake feeder: These are great for feeding birds year-round and they attract many different species. You can find suet cakes containing all different kinds of seeds and flavors, including peanut and orange. The caged kind are affordable and specially made to hold suet bricks.
Hummingbird feeder: These tiny birds drink nectar from plants, and they’re attracted to bright colors, like red and orange. That’s why people use red feeders to attract them. Just keep in mind, many think the red dye in the standard premixed nectar sold at stores could be harmful to the birds. However, it’s easy (and cheaper) to mix up your own.
Oriole feeder: Attracted to the color orange, these birds also enjoy drinking the nectar from oranges. That’s why this feeder gives them exactly what they want. It also has a cup for jelly—another favorite oriole snack.
Birds use baths for more than bathing. They also drink the water, which is why it’s important to keep yours filled with fresh, clean H₂O. If you live in a climate where water freezes during the winter, you can help your cold-weather feathered friends stay hydrated with a heated birdbath.
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Give your little singing friends a place to call home, nest, and rear their young. Birdhouses (or roost boxes) give birds a warm place to hang out in the winter, and here are some of our favorites:
Woven-style: Small birds, like finches and chickadees, will find this cute woven house a comfortable place to rest. You can hang as many of these as you want because they’re lightweight (just like birds) and don’t require a huge tree or super-strong branch.
Basic wood: It might look simple, but these houses attract many different species. They also come in quite a large variety. You can choose from many different types of wood, and get a painted one or stick with natural tones.
Window box: Whether you have children or not, a window box birdhouse is an excellent way to enjoy nature and see the beauty of baby birds. Watch them go from eggs to fledglings right from the comfort of your couch.
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There’s more to attracting birds to your yard than putting out birdseed and birdhouses. It’s also important to make sure your yard offers plenty of sheltering places, like trees and bushes.
The flowers you plant offer even more dining options for your backyard visitors. Invest in flowers that have seeds, like sun- and cornflowers, and marigolds. Look for plants that also grow bird-friendly berries, like elderberries and Virginia creepers.
Of course, you have to choose plants that grow in your zone. As far as places to hide, evergreen trees and bushes are perfect. Persimmon bushes also attract smaller birds.
Attracting birds to your yard is an easy way to enjoy nature right from your own window. It can also be educational for both kids and adults. If you provide them with food, water, and a safe place to stay warm, you won’t believe how many different species will soon be hanging out in your yard!