Wild birds require four things to be attracted to a back garden: food, water, shelter and nesting sites. If you make each of these four things available, you will be amazed at how many different species of birds become regular guests.
A good food source is the most important thing you need to attract birds. Food sources can be naturally occurring or supplemental sources such as feeders. Offering several different foods will attract a greater variety of birds.
Popular foods to attract birds include:
Not all foods will attract the same birds. For the best results, learn which birds are present in your local area and choose foods to attract them to your garden. Once your garden is a popular feeding site, more unusual species will become curious and you can offer them treats as well.
Water is critical to birds' survival and adding water to your garden will quickly attract birds. The types of water features that are attractive to birds are:
Moving or flowing water will attract the most birds because it is more visible and they can hear it from a great distance. Water should be kept fresh and clean, but no chemicals should be used to purify water because they can be harmful to birds.
Birds also need water in the winter. A heated bird bath will provide drinkable water that birds do not have to use body heat to melt first. Heaters can be added to regular bird baths or special heated baths can be used.
Birds will not stay in a location where they do not feel safe, and adding backyard features that can offer them shelter will help attract them to your yard and keep them there once they have found it. Common bird shelters include:
You can provide shelter at different levels for birds that prefer both high
and low shelters. More dense plant growth is popular with small and medium
bird species, while larger birds prefer perches where they can scan nearby
areas for predators and other dangers. Shelter near feeders is especially
popular since birds can quickly retreat if they feel threatened while feeding.
Many plants can also serve as food sources for birds, so choosing plants wisely can not only provide shelter but will also entice birds with a natural food source.
For permanent guests, it is necessary to provide nesting sites for garden birds. Many birds prefer to nest in natural locations, but manmade sites can also be attractive and may be easier for birders to enjoy. Nesting sites can include:
Different birds build different types of nests, from twig piles to dangling
cups. For the best results, learn what types of nests your regular garden
birds prefer and offer nesting sites that are suitable for their needs.
By providing food, water, shelter and nesting sites, you can attract birds to your garden and invite them to take up residence.