Bribing the Birds: How to Attract Birds to Your Garden
Summary: There’s nothing better than looking out your window and seeing your favorite wild birds, back for another snack! Knowing how to attract birds to your garden is simple and fun—learn how to have birds at the backdoor by tomorrow.
The moment we started putting birdseed out, our place was full of new excitement! Sure I can always look out my window and see a flock of birds, but it’s a completely different experience when you are watching these birds on your own porch or balcony—right up close to your window. They’re not in flight either, but stopped still so that you can really take in all of their diversities and personality! In fact, we name the birds that carry unique enough traits to be individually identified, like the red-breasted Grosbeak we now refer to as Rosie. Learning how to attract birds to your garden is as simple as planting certain greenery in your yard, but in order to get the most of your bird-viewing pleasure, here’s how to be the talk around town—among the birds that is!
Build a Bird-Haven
The perfect garden for birds includes a place to not only eat, but to also rest their wings. While it’s easy as pie to buy a bird box and set it out, in order to make the birds feel even more at home, it’s suggested that you leave out the proper materials for the birds to build a nest of their own with. They won’t only need nesting supplies, they will need a flat, stable location to build the nest atop—be sure this is available as well. If you are lucky, they will nest right there, allowing you a first-hand look at how birds really live—including a first glimpse when their little eggs hatch!
Natural Food Sources
There are certain flowers that produce berries, pollen, and other sources of nutrients that birds come seeking. By planting flowers instead of simply setting out easy-to-access food, you are being more respectful of the bird’s natural habitat and lifestyle; keeping them fit enough to know how to fight for their own food if your feeder someday disappears, say you move away. You can bury hazelnuts, seeds, and peanuts in your soil so that the birds have to excavate their food—while also churning your soil for less than the gardener will charge! The Grumpy Gardner, Steve Bender, offers some great suggestions for making your yard both aesthetically pleasing and also attracting birds to your garden, such as planting barberry, serviceberry, holly, honeysuckle, grape holly, crabapple, dogwood, wax myrtle, or persimmon—among many others!
Offer Free Food, They Will Come
The easiest way to get birds on your property is to take the route we did and purchase bird seed, which is available online at your local pet store, or even at your local Target or Wal-Mart. Of course, you can put out worms or spiders and find a world of birds at your back door, but the less gross way to feed our winged friends is to simply put out bird seed. You can also use sunflower seeds to attract them, although this tends to call out to other small animals as well (like squirrels) so be prepared for that!
Birds—just like us humans—have that natural sense to run when things look dangerous; they too want to preserve their own lives. If you have dogs or cats that like to lurk after the birds, dreaming of the day they will grow wings themselves and be able to catch them, don’t set up a spot for birds in the garden that these pets frequent. Your pet’s hunting might always be a failed attempt, but the birds will always be skittish if they have to be on the lookout for predators. In order to get birds to comfortably come to your place and spend some time, keep their predators out of the picture. Steve Harris, from Discover Wildlife, also suggests, “Avoid using garden netting, especially during the breeding season, and place feeders away from your house to minimize the risk of birds colliding with windows.”
Knowing how to attract birds to your garden is the first step to adding a whole new world of color, fun, and excitement to your landscape—birds are gracious creatures full of charm and personality. Get ready to explore their world up close and personal while providing them with a little thank you, bon-appetite!