How to Attract Birds to Your Backyard

Reader Contribution by Ernie Allison
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If you are a friend of feathered visitors, love the diversity of the specimens found in your area, the palette of colors they display and love listening to their melodic sounds, there’s some good news: You have many ways to lure specific fowl into your garden and make them feel at home. Besides setting up bird feeders with the appropriate food and offering water, you can influence their arrival in other ways.

How to Attract Birds to Your Backyard

First, you want to make sure the area you are targeting for the birds is low-traffic so they aren’t constantly disturbed. This means no opening/closing doors and not a lot of walking by. Start by determining what breed of bird you are looking to attract. Each one has its preferences and knowing what they are can help you conclude how to make it more interesting for them to visit you.

Willow flycatcher; Photo By Kelly Colgan Azar/Flickr

Tyrant flycatchers, such as the Western Kingbird or the Willow Flycatcher, love plants that attract smaller insects, which they feed off, such as crabapple and Jacob’s ladder. They also love berries. A mulberry tree would be a huge bonus for them. However, they do love seeds as well, so setting up that bird feeder would be sure to get you some quality observation time.

Rufous hummingbird; Photo By Rick Leche/Flickr

If you are more interested in the dainty hummingbirds i.e. Black-chinned Hummingbird, Calliope or Rufous Hummingbird, you should plant Agastache, also known as Firebird. Another hummingbird magnet is the honeysuckle. These are just a few examples of the plants that attract hummingbirds. Setting up a hummingbird feeder in a strategic position, possibly in close proximity to one of these plants, will help to keep them coming back even after the plants have ceased producing nectar.  The good thing about hummingbirds is that they remember where they found food they liked and will be back next year to entertain you.

Bluebird; Photo By Henry McLin/Flickr

Then there are the beloved Bluebirds. They are beautiful to look at and just give you a good feeling. Now that’s the kind of BLUEs we like. They will be grateful for the crabapple and Jacob’s ladder as well. The good thing about them is they actually will nest in man-made nesting boxes. If you make the effort to supply one, you can watch the babies hatch, grow and take flight. Bluebirds usually have two, but can have up to three, broods in a year.  They feed on insects and seeds and if you want to give them a real treat, soak some raisins in water. (Mmh, they love that.)

So you see, there’s nothing to it. Just by planting the right flora and offering the right space you can attract various types of birds. You can also make your own bird feeding mix by adding various nuts (walnuts, pecans, peanuts) and dried fruits (preferably berries) to the mix. This way you are attracting different types of birds, and as they say “the more, the merrier.”  The best thing about it is your “LIVE” entertainment will be giving you encores on a daily basis throughout the year and for years to come.

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