There are thousands of opportunities each year to host tiny visitors in your backyard garden. Whether you’re looking to attract an elusive little Bluebird or a flamboyant and sometimes pesky Jay, these simple steps will help you bring new guests into your yard this Spring!
The importance of backyard birding
It is estimated that more than eighty percent of bird habitat in the U.S. is privately owned. This means providing space for birds to co-exist with property owners is essential to keeping wild bird populations healthy and thriving. Keeping a few bird feeders and birdhouses well-kept and full in your backyard is a great help to our feathered friends.
A variety of feeders for a variety of birds
Setting up your bird garden can be easy and fun. Take it slow and you’re likely to have more success. Aim for variety, but do it slowly and have patience. Remember, it can often take a birdhouse two seasons of placement before local birds begin to use it.
Try adding a new bird feeder each season, until you have a variety of tube, hopper, platform and Nyjer feeders. Hang them, pole-mount them and place them on the ground at varying levels, to attract different types of bird.
Adding new birdhouses
In addition, you might want to add one new Birdhouse each Spring, if your property allows for it.
Keep in mind, birdhouses for different types of birds can be overlapped, but if you’re trying to attract the same species, you’ll need to leave 100 yards or so between houses. Of course, Purple Martins are a popular exception to this rule. They actually prefer to nest in large groups and will utilize large apartment-style Martin Houses.
Maintaining your bird garden
As you build your bird garden, keep in mind the maintenance required to keep birdhouses, feeders and plants in good order. In general, bird feeders should be cleaned two or three times a month, although Hummingbird feeders and fruit feeders do require more cleaning. Birdhouses should be cleaned between each nesting period, to encourage other birds to use the box. Think about how much time you’re willing to commit to your yard honestly. Then, add to it accordingly.
Planting flowers to attract birds
In addition to man-made feeders and nesting boxes, planting bird-friendly flowers, plants and trees in your yard will naturally attract more without as much maintenance. Flowers like Sunflowers, Toyons or Strawberry Bushes all produce natural food for birds and look great in your yard.
Birdbaths for more than keeping clean
Bird baths are often overlooked, but essential to the health of birds co-existing with the realities of human incursion into their habitats. Finding clean water is often the most difficult thing for a bird, especially in winter or during droughts.
However you decide to set up your backyard bird garden, you’ll enjoy it more and experience less frustration with a good plan. Follow these steps to designing your garden and browse our blog for more tips on attracting specific types of birds.