Today I’m sharing 5 Ways to Bring Birds to Your Backyard! By providing these 5 essential elements, you can successfully attract more birds to your backyard.
I’ve always loved wild birds, and some family members are as equally enthusiastic, especially my father who has a natural ability to spot and identify birds. The prime benefit of bringing birds to your backyard is simply the ability to enjoy them, but it is also important to protect bird species and habitats. Healthy bird populations provide value to the ecosystem through pollination and seed dispersal, for example, so I’m always on the lookout for ways I can make a positive impact on birds.
This year I joined inaturalist.ca, a global species data sharing community led by the Canadian Wildlife Federation, along with Parks Canada, NatureServe Canada and the Royal Ontario Museum. All I need to do is record and submit observations, and my findings are shared with scientists and environmental managers to monitor changes in biodiversity. And I can learn more about nature by exploring millions of wildlife observations shared by naturalists around the world. I’m excited to get started! If you’re interested in sharing your observations too, visit inaturalist.ca to learn more.
Do you love wild birds and want to bring them to your backyard to enjoy?
The best way to bring birds to your backyard is to provide these 5 essential elements: Food, Water, Shelter, Habitat and Protection.
Offer a variety of foods, including sunflower seeds (black oil, striped, hulled), safflower, nyjer, peanuts (whole and shelled), millet, mealworms, corn, suet cakes & balls, nectar (sugar water) and fruit.
You can find a great bird food and seed list for specific birds you want to bring to your backyard at Bird Watcher’s Digest.
Keep bird feeders well stocked, especially over the winter months. There are several types of bird feeders available for different foods, and squirrel-proof feeders are a good option where squirrels are a problem.
Keep bird feeders clean to prevent the spread of disease. Clean bird feeders regularly with a diluted bleach solution, and scrub away any visible debris. Dry completely before refilling with fresh seed.
Provide bird baths for drinking and bathing. Bird baths should be situated fairly low to the ground, shallow, in a shady area with cover nearby. Keep the bird baths clean, and heated in the winter. Moving water will attract more birds, so a bird bath with a water fountain is ideal. And be sure to place bird baths in a position where you can watch from a window or deck!
Trees, shrubs and bushes offer cover from predators and the elements, so don’t trim shrubs and bushes until after nesting season. You can also help nesting birds by providing nest boxes. Can you see the hummingbird on the tree branch in the picture below?
Gardening and wild birds go hand in hand. You provide backyard shelter for the birds by planting native trees, shrubs & flowers, and the birds help your garden by controlling insects and pollinating plants. Please don’t use pesticides as many birds rely on insects, especially while feeding nestlings.
Did you know that nearly 20 per cent of native bird species in North America are at risk of extinction due to hazards like cat predation? Low-nesting species are especially vulnerable, so keep cats inside, especially during nesting periods.
There are also plenty of fantastic books available for backyard bird watchers, some with colourful illustrations that will help you to identify your favourite species.
At home in the Fraser Valley, I’ve seen these birds at my feeders:
- Black-capped Chickadee
- House Sparrows
- European Starlings
- Northwestern Crow
- American Robin
- Song Sparrow
- Northern Flicker
- House Finch
- Anna’s Hummingbird
- Rufous Hummingbird
- Ruby-throated Hummingbird
- Steller’s Jay
- Spotted Towhee
- Downy Woodpecker
- Dark-eyed Junco
- Red-breasted Nuthatch
- Red-winged Blackbird
- Collared dove.
And I was so lucky to have Black-capped Chickadees nesting in my back yard last summer. Every day I sat on my back steps and watched the parents feed two hatchlings. Best of all, I was watching when they both left the nest. Priceless!!!
If you follow the tips found in 5 Ways to Bring Birds to Your Backyard, you will be well on your way to attracting more birds to your backyard! Happy birdwatching!