With a hotter-than-average summer slamming most of us, it’s time to bust out our late summer backyard checklist to make sure the wild birds we’ve worked so hard to attract to our yard are healthy and thriving!
Steps to attracting wild birds in late summer:
1. Make sure water sources are plentiful.
Whether it’s a bird bath, hanging water or a few of both, this is the time of year to make sure water sources are plentiful. Keep them full, fresh and ready for hot and thirsty birds. Remember, if it’s hot for you, it’s hot for the birds too!
2. Clean your bird bath
We know, we asked you to do this two months ago, but cleaning your bird bath thoroughly is extremely important to keeping backyard birds healthy. Stagnant water and/or moldy bird baths could cause disease to spread.
3. Provide dust bath space
Leave a few patches of loose soil available in your yard for birds that prefer dust baths. Thrashers, some sparrows and others will enjoy rolling in sand or dusty soil. In this way, they keep pests out of their feathers. Look for a spot with lots of sunshine and no hiding places for predators nearby. Then, break up the soil into a very fine patch with a rake or trowel.
4. Serve an eggshell feast
Eggshells provide extra calcium to birds, particularly females who may be nesting. Carefully wash the eggshells from your morning breakfast, bake them in the oven at 350 degrees fahrenheit for 20 minutes, then place in an old pie tin or platform feeder. What a great way to help wild birds and cut back on waste!
5. Place temporary perches
Insects such as flies and mosquitoes are everywhere during the summer. Fly-catching birds love this time of year, but they need a good perch to use as a launch pad for their hunting efforts. To provide one, simply dead tree branch and place it in a hole in the ground, sticking straight up. Make sure the dirt is packed in tightly around it, then watch as wild birds use it as a hunting platform all summer long.
6. Let a patch of grass go to seed
We know you want your lawn to look lovely, but weeds going to seed are an important attraction for seed-eating birds in the fall and winter. Leaving a small portion, maybe at far corner, will attract more birds during the colder months of the year.
7. Keep up with your feeders
Many amateur bird watchers have the misconception that feeding birds during the summer is unnecessary. However, if you stop filling bird feeders and don’t have bird-friendly plants in the yard, birds are likely to stop making their pit-stops in your yard and what fun is that?! As long as you avoid suet when the temperature hits triple digits and clean your feeders regularly, summer feeding shouldn’t be a problem.
Follow these seven steps in July and August and the hot and you’re backyard is sure to be full of beautiful birds all year long!