Attracting Wild Birds
Do you love watching birds in your backyard? Use the following information to attract them throughout the year!
In order to attract wildlife you need to provide four basic requirements, including food, water, plants and trees. You don’t have to have a lot of land to turn your yard into a wildlife paradise, you can do this in any size plot.
Planting trees, shrubs, bushes and flowers will help provide food for birds and other wildlife for the majority of the year. Stick with native plants and continue to remove invasive plants like Buckthorn, Purple Loosestrife, Tartarian Honeysuckle, Garlic Mustard, Reed Canary Grass, White Sweet Clover, Canada Thistle, Wild Parsnip, Nodding Thistle and Crown Vetch.
Native landscapes help sustain many other attractive species, including butterflies and the plants themselves. Native plants, which have co-evolved with native wild birds, are more likely to provide a mix of foods.
Bird feeders are a great way to attract birds and help them maintain their health, especially during the winter months. Bird feeders come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Specialized feeders can be purchased or created to attract birds such as finches, woodpeckers and hummingbirds. It is important to keep all feeders clean to ensure the health of avian diners. Replace broken or cracked feeders immediately.
A water source will be a wonderful incentive for birds to come to your yard. Sources should contain shallow areas for birds to bathe and drink easily. Water sources include bird baths, fountains and ponds, all of which need to be properly maintained for the birds' health.
Trees and Shrubs for Nesting and Cover
Trees and shrubs are not only potential food sources, but also serve to protect wildlife from predators and provide a place for them to raise their young. Tall trees and dense bushes protect nests and keep them hidden. Evergreens provide hiding places in the winter, as well as protection from the elements.
In order to best create an environment to attract wild birds, keep the following in mind:
- Draw a map of your property with all the existing features for better planning.
- Take an inventory. You may be surprised by the amount of plants you have. This will also help you determine which types of plants or trees would make a good addition.
- Keep the native plants in your yard and remove invasive species.
- Mimic the multiple layers of growth found in many natural settings and include trees, shrubs, vines and herbaceous (these die back in winter) plants.
- Select plants that will provide berries, seeds and nuts during all four seasons.
- Stop using herbicides, pesticides and rodenticides, which can disrupt the fragile ecosystem you have just created and put birds and wildlife at risk.
- Bird feeders should be placed near bushes or trees that will provide cover from predators, but enough distance away so that a hiding predator will not be able to surprise them while they are out in the open.