Create A Bird-Friendly Backyard

If you enjoy watching birds, do a little landscaping to attract a variety to your own backyard. Once a few birds find their way to your yard, the word will get out and you'll have a steady flow of feathered visitors. Here are some tips to create your own backyard bird sanctuary.

Start With the Three Basics

Get these three basics right and you'll have different birds showing up quickly to your yard:

Food - This determines the types of birds that visit. Small seeds and millet attract the chickadees and nuthatches. Peanuts and suet will entice woodpeckers and flickers. Research the common backyard birds in your area and have the food available that they prefer.

Water - All birds enjoy water and will come to a pool or fountain to drink or bathe. Add a small pond to your landscape design to attract a variety of birds. Large and small birds will share an ornamental pond, whereas the typical bird bath that you find in a garden center will usually only get the smaller birds.

Shelter - All birds will scope out your backyard to make sure they feel safe before feeding. A bird feeder hanging from a pole in the middle of a clearing doesn't provide much shelter from predators. Position the feeders under or near trees, or buy feeders that have an overhang covering the place where the birds eat.

Designing Your Backyard Bird Sanctuary

These tips will help you create an ideal place for birds to visit:

  • Buy premium bird seed to put out for your feathered friends. Your yard is competing with food the birds can find in the wild, so make sure it's nutritious and high quality.
  • If you build an ornamental pond, include a filter, aerator or fountain to keep the water fresh. Bird droppings in the water will make it stagnant quickly if the water isn't constantly agitated.
  • If squirrels become a problem, use baffles on the pole feeders to keep them from climbing up to the seed. Use domes to keep them from jumping onto the tops of the feeders. Put out ears of corn away from the feeders to entice the squirrels to their own feeding stations.
  • Put out fruit on a raised platform for orioles and tanagers. You'll also get butterflies and moths to this feeding station. Leave fruit on your kitchen counter for a few days to over ripen before putting it outside to attract more birds quickly.
  • Include floral landscaping around the feeders to entice other birds. Daisies and zinnias provide seeds for cardinals and finches. Fuchsias, hibiscus and petunias will attract hummingbirds. Sunflowers bring in chickadees and goldfinches, especially when the seed heads have dried.
  • Keep the feeders full and the water flowing all year round. You'll get different birds visiting your backyard depending on the season.

Contact a landscaping company like Heritage Lawn for more information on how to make a more bird-friendly yard.