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How to Attract Birds

by Jan Mh on May 29, 2015

How to Attract Birds

Three Methods:Providing FoodCreating Nesting SpotsMaking Your Yard More Inviting

Songbirds' natural habitats are dwindling, and you can help by making your backyard a safe haven for all of your favorite birds. When you provide birdseed, set out a birdbath and create nesting spots, your yard becomes much more inviting, and you'll be amazed at how many different species you can attract.

Method 1 of 3: Providing Food

  1. Attract Birds Step 1 Version 2.jpg
    Research birds in your area. Find out what types of birds live in your area or migrate there and are likely to come to your property. You may want to obtain a field guide to the area so you know which birds you want to try to attract. Bear in mind that you'll be attracting different species depending on the season.
    • It's difficult to attract just one type of bird, so aim instead to create an atmosphere that's healthy for many different species. For example, you might love cardinals and decide to put out seed they're known to love, but it's likely to bring in an array of birds.
    • There may also be some species you don't want to attract, such as the common sparrow, pigeon or crow. While it's difficult to ensure they won't come around, you can choose certain types of seed that don't attract them as much as songbirds.
  2. Attract Birds Step 2 Version 2.jpg
    Choose a bird feeder. The type of feeder you choose will influence what bird species you attract. No matter what, your bird feeder should have a few essential qualities: it should be difficult for squirrels to access, it should keep the food dry, and it should be easy to clean. Bird feeders need to be washed out regularly so the food inside doesn't begin to harbor fungus and disease. Here are the most common types of feeders:
    • Tray feeders are simple, flat trays that allow birds very easy access to seed. The downside is that the seed is also accessible to squirrels, and unprotected from the weather.
    • House feeders keep seed in a contained area and dispense it as the birds feed from a small tray at the bottom of the feeder.
    • Window feeders attach to your window with suction cups, offering a full view of bird activity.
    • Suet feeders are designed to offer suet cakes, which attract different birds than seed feeders do.
    • Hummingbird feeders dispense sugar water through a tube.
  3. Attract Birds Step 3 Version 2.jpg
    Provide seed and other food. Do you know what species you're hoping to attract? If you'd like to invite an entire range of native species, it's a good idea to have more than one type of feeder and offer a variety of foods. Here are the best foods to feed birds:
    • Sunflower seeds are popular among all seed-eating birds, so they're a good choice if you want a wide variety of species. However, the shells must be raked up frequently, and sunflower seeds are also attractive to squirrels.
    • White proso millet is a tasty treat for cardinals, quail, sparrows, doves, and crows. It's also attractive to house sparrows and other animals.
    • Safflower seeds are good for attracting cardinals, chickadees, doves, sparrows, and grosbeaks.
    • Corn is a favorite among nearly all birds, but it's important to use only as much as can be eaten in a day or two, since it attracts all sorts of animals. It's also important to be careful about the source of the corn, since cheap corn is often contaminated with pesticides that are poisonous to birds. Don't feed birds corn from a plastic bag or corn that has been dyed red.
    • Peanuts are also very popular, but easily contaminated if they're left out for too long.
    • Suet, the fat around cow and sheep organs, attracts woodpeckers, nuthatches, wrens jays and starlings.
    • Peanut butter is a good food to provide in the winter, since it's highly nutritious. Make sure it doesn't contain additives.