By Liz Canham
Without birds, butterflies and other wildlife, your yard would be much less interesting and in addition, birds will eat flies, mosquitoes and other insects and stop them bothering you. You might think that there's a problem attracting birds to your backyard but actually there are a few really easy things you can do to make your place attractive to birds so that they'll arrive, feed and stay to nest. Here's how to attract birds to your yard.
Make sure there's food available: Putting out bird food is a good way to attract birds to your yard. To attract a greater variety of birds put out different foods such as seed, nuts and fat. Use different feeders, some hanging and a table or platform as different species feed in different ways. Ground feeders will pick up whatever is dropped from either hanging or table feeders.
Birds like water: Birds will still come to your yard if you have a bird bath but they do prefer water that moves. If you have a pond or fountain already then that's great but starting from scratch can be very expensive so don't think you have to have a full blown water feature to attract birds. If you can attach a dripper or mister to your bird bath, it will give the illusion of moving water and wild birds will come to bathe.
Trees and plants: Different bird species are used to varying habitats so the more variety your yard has to offer, the better. A mixture of trees, shrubs, bushes, hedges and grass would be ideal and flowers which produce nectar are also attractive to birds. Shrubs or trees which produce fruit or berries will have the local bird population flocking but don't forget that fruit you are growing for yourself such as cherries will be absolutely ravaged! Birds like to nest in evergreen trees so they will help to attract birds to your yard.
Nesting arrangements: Although birds in the wild usually nest in trees or shrubs and some will even nest on the ground, in a domestic setting they will normally be more attracted to nesting boxes. You can buy these very cheaply or even make your own and attach them to trees or fences. In spring, you can provide nesting material; dead grass, twigs, bits of cotton, shredded paper and dead leaves will all be used and may encourage birds to use your nesting boxes.
Food, water, hiding places and nesting facilities will all attract birds to your yard, particularly the indigenous common varieties but if you want to attract specific species you'll need to look up their individual requirements, particularly in terms of food and nesting.
For ideas about food to attract birds to your yard check out this article, Feeding Stations for Birds, at Worldwide Bird Watching.
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