All over the world, people enjoy the simple pleasure of watching and feeding birds right in their own backyards. With just a few simple steps, a great variety of colorful birds can be attracted to your yard. Like people, birds have three basic needs: quality food, clean water and sturdy shelter. Once birds discover your offerings, you'll find them returning again and again.
Feed Them Quality
There are many varieties of food to choose from with seed types and mixtures specifically formulated to appeal to particular bird species. Download a simple chart of what the most popular birds like to eat. When positioning a feeder, look for a spot that gets some sunlight, is sheltered from wind and is close to protective cover, such as low shrubbery. Place the feeder in a location for clear viewing and easy refilling, and keep it at least 10 feet from squirrel perches such as trees, railings or fences.
You also have choices when it comes to feeder types. Stationary hoppers and pole-mounted platforms appeal to large birds such as grosbeaks and cardinals. Chickadees, finches and other smaller birds prefer hanging tube feeders. The more feeders you have, the more bird-friendly your yard will become.
Simple feeder maintenance will keep the birds coming. Clean your feeder regularly with hot soapy water; rinse and dry completely before refilling. Be sure to store bird food in a cool, dry place in a covered plastic or metal container.
Keep Water Fresh and Plentiful
Small ponds or streams are excellent draws for wild birds, but don't despair if your property has no natural water. A birdbath, especially one positioned close to cover, is irresistible to small birds and it adds a decorative element to your landscape. All birds need fresh water for drinking, bathing and just playful frolicking.
Don't forget to keep the water open and available in winter months, too. Birds face a critical situation when natural water sources are frozen over and there is no snow cover.
Shelter & Habitat
Protection from weather and predators can be accomplished naturally with ornamental shrubs and trees, and by placing one or more birdhouses around the yard. Birdhouses should be mounted or hung at least six feet off the ground in a somewhat secluded area, preferably with some natural sheltering.
Feed Year-Round for Best Results
Four-season feeding attracts a greater variety of birds on a regular basis. Spring is the time when birds are nesting and can use the food you supply, as seeds and berries are not yet abundant. Summer feeding can be the most enjoyable time to be in your yard hearing and seeing the birds in their full plumage.