6 Things You Need For a Backyard Full of Birds
More than 45 million people in the United States watch birds around their homes and away from them. If you're one of those 45 million, it might be important to you to have a bird-friendly backyard,
More than 45 million people in the United States watch birds around their homes and away from them.
If you’re one of those 45 million, it might be important to you to have a bird-friendly backyard, but you might not know what attracts birds. Luckily, implementing a few key elements can make doing so a breeze.
Read on to learn six of the biggest things you need to know about making your backyard a bird-friendly oasis.
1. What Colors Attract Birds?
Like humans, birds are one of the few animals that can see in color, and it’s crucial for key parts of their survival. For everything from hiding from predators to attracting a mate, color plays a key role in their existence.
Red is said to attract hummingbirds. So, planting red flowers that provide nectar or purchasing a red feeder can help you draw an abundance of them to your yard. Likewise, blue is said to attract bluejays and bluebirds, so applying the same principles (blue flowers, blue feeder) can help.
If you’re on the hunt for other types of birds, place colors that are similar to the bird you’re on the hunt for in your backyard. Whether it’s green, orange, black, brown, or yellow, birds tend to be attracted to things the same color they are.
2. What Smell Attracts Birds?
For the most part, birds actually can’t smell much, so placing smelly things in your yard to gain their attention might not very effective. There are, however, some exceptions.
There’s some evidence to show a few species — vultures, kiwis, seabirds, and parrots — do actually have some sense of smell, but the things that attracted these birds were earthworms, fish oils, and hidden meat.
If you’re in an area that any of these birds inhabit, however, and you’re interested in seeing them in your backyard, conducting experiments of your own could be fun.
3. What Plants Attract Birds?
While planting plants and flowers that are similarly colored to the birds you’re looking to attract, it’s also important to ensure you’re planting things that birds in your area can and are going to eat.
Look at different flowers and plants native to your area that are safe for wildlife to consume, and ensure you’re getting quality bird feed to give your visitors the best possible experience in your backyard.
Not only is this going to help ensure their health, but it also ensures you keep them coming back for more!
4. What Food Attracts Birds?
While finding quality bird feed sounds easy enough to do, what kind of things should you look for when you’re making your purchase?
Here are a few seeds and grains to consider:
- Golden millet
- White proso millet
When it comes to sunflower seeds, purchasing black oil seeds is great for all kinds of birds as their thin shell is easy to crack. On the other hand, striped sunflower seeds have a thicker shell, making them a bit harder for small birds to crack into.
Avoiding seed and feed with corn in it is a smart idea, as a lot of it can come contaminated with aflatoxins, which are toxic — even at low levels.
5. Where Should You Place the Bird Feeder?
Now that you know what to feed birds, it’s time to learn about where you should place the bird feeder. Here are the two biggest things to consider:
- Can you see the bird feeder?
- Is the bird feeder in a safe location?
The first one is easy to decide upon, but you have to make sure the spot you choose is safe for the birds using it. Contrary to popular belief, placing a feeder on or near a window can actually be safe.
If they take off and run into your window, their low speed means they’re not going to hit it hard enough to injure themselves or cause your home any damage. The ideal spot would be within three feet of your window or at least 30 feet away.
Aside from that, feeders close to natural shelters like trees and shrubs can offer refuge from danger or a simple place to rest their wings between feedings.
Placing the feeder far away enough from a shelter is crucial, though, because of squirrels and cats that might be a bit too curious. It’s best to experiment with this as each animal will be different, but about 10 feet away from shelters is a good place to start.
For ground-dwellers, providing brush piles near any feeders is a great idea.
You can learn more about bird feeders here.
6. Are Bird Baths Effective?
Finally, we’ve come to birdbaths. They can be great, but they can also become deadly if they’re improperly cared for and maintained.
Dirty birdbaths can harvest mold, harmful bacteria, and even bugs that pose a potential threat to birds and other creatures — including yourself. Just one sip from the wrong bird is enough to contaminate the water and spread disease.
Regularly cleaning the birdbath, along with nearby perches, is important, but make sure you’re using the proper chemicals and rinsing the bath thoroughly once you’re done. A mild bleach mixture is always a safe bet.
Drowning can also pose a risk to birds. Some birds can’t swim well or have a hard time getting themselves out of the water once they find themselves inside. Choosing a bath that’s 1-2 inches deep or placing rocks at the bottom of deeper baths is a great way to potentially save a wild bird’s life.
Remember What Attracts Birds
When you remember what attracts birds, you set your yard up for success from the beginning. If you’re looking to turn your backyard into an outdoor aviary, then conducting plenty of research before getting started is key to attracting the wildlife you’d like to experience more of.
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