Birding (watching and feeding wild birds) is one of America's favorite outdoor pastimes. Attracting backyard birds is easy and can be very rewarding.
You need three things to attract birds to your backyard; food, water, and shelter.
The feed you leave out will determine which birds are attracted to your yard. A quality mixed birdseed with high sunflower seed content will attract common species; finches, sparrows, etc. Adding mealworms, peanuts, or suet will attract more exotic species like bluebirds and woodpeckers. If you're looking to attract hummingbirds, you'll need to leave out nectar because they don't eat seeds.
Suet is a favorite for birds during the winter months. Suet is a rendered fat that is molded into cakes and mixed with seed. The fat provides birds with much-needed energy to maintain their body heat during the fall and winter months. Adding suet to your backyard is a great way to treat the neighborhood birds.
Ultimately, the best backyard bird sanctuary is filled with a diverse array of foods, including both bird seed and suet. When different foods are available, more bird species will visit the yard and become regular guests.
Birds need shelter to protect themselves from predators, severe weather, and a variety of other threats. Place a variety of birdhouses around your yard to offer protection. Position the houses in areas that provide protection from predators. Placing a birdhouse out in the open will discourage birds from using it.
In addition to birdhouses, adding more plant life to the backyard will attract more birds and make them feel more comfortable. Adding evergreen and deciduous plants to your landscaping can provide birds with a familiar and safe habitat to enjoy.
A good source of water is essential for attracting birds to your yard. Birds need water. They not only drink water but also bathe in it. Birds bathe to remove parasites, bacteria, dirt, and oil. This helps keep their feathers in top condition.
Place a bird bath in your yard to attract more birds to your area. A hanging bird bath or pedestal dish is suitable for most birds. Birds prefer shallow water (1-2 inches deep). Clean the water dish regularly to avoid diseases or breeding insects, and refill it with clean, fresh water often.
In the winter months, birds appreciate it if you pour hot water into the bath. If you want to get fancy, bird bath heaters can turn your pedestal into a year-round bird spa.