Six steps to attracting more birds to your yard.
With fall finally arriving, more people will begin to feed birds again. Here are 6 things to consider to help you attract more birds and a greater variety of birds.
1. Know your seeds
Match the seed to the type of bird you wish to attract.
Black oil sunflower is the all around best seed, but can be expensive.
Milo and millet are small, round seeds often seen in mixes sold at grocery and big box stores. They are less expensive than sunflower but best served on the ground or a low platform feeder. Sparrows, quail and other ground feeding birds will dine on these seeds but they are not popular with most species that will visit hanging feeders.
Visit Birdzilla.com to see images of different seeds and the kind of birds they attract.
2. Match feed and feeder
Be sure your feeder and feed are compatible. This is most often an issue with tube feeders. Some tube feeders are designed for larger seeds, such as sunflower, while others for small seeds like Nyjer®. Place sunflower seeds in a Nyjer feeder and you will not attract very many birds.
3. Offer a buffet selection
Mix your offerings to attract a greater variety of seeds. Orioles like orange slices and grape jelly.
Bluebirds love mealworms.
Suet is an inexpensive food choice that can be offered in a $2.00 feeder. Commercial suet cakes can be purchased for as little as dollar or two and attract a wide variety of birds, including woodpeckers, wrens, nuthatches, juncos and some sparrows.
Even something as simple as spreading peanut butter on a tree trunk can attract a variety of species.
4. Feed the birds safely
Keep feeders clean. Quality tube feeders have removable tops and bottoms for easy cleaning.
Watch hummingbird nectar for signs of fermentation. Nectar may need to be replaced every 3-4 days during hot summer months.
For platform or ground feeding, do not feed more than is consumed in 2-3 days.
Rake and remove seed hulls from under feeders or use a screen to capture hulls from hanging feeders.
Change water in birdbaths every 3-4 days, or use a pump and filter to keep the water clean and flowing. Moving water prevents mosquito larvae from developing.
5. Just add water
In many areas water can be at a premium in both summer and winter. Birdbaths will attract species that do not normally visit feeders. In-ground baths tend to attract the most species as they appear more natural to the birds.
Using drippers and misters will help alert birds to the presence of water. Small birds like to leaf bathe, point a mister onto leaves and allow the water to drip into a birdbath. Visit bird-bath.com for a selection of birdbaths, misters, drippers and waterfall rocks.
6. Develop habitat - build it and they will come
Number one on our list - develop the habitat in your yard. Places to find shelter and nest are critical items on a bird's most wanted list. Plant a mix of flowers, shrubs, vines and trees. A diverse habitat attracts a diversity of birds.
Select plants that offer natural food sources.
The Gardening for Birds section on the Birdzilla.com site provides a wide range of plants based on location, as well as tips for avoiding the use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers.