6 Smart And Easy Ways To Attract Birds To Your Garden

The most incredible thing about having a garden is that you can have several flowers, plants and trees, plus that you can turn it into a bird sanctuary. Have you ever sat in a park to watch the birds? Do you know how relaxing it can be? 

a black hummingbird flying near flowers

Imagine now that you can have several species in your backyard. If you live in a city, hearing birds singing will positively affect your health.  You can spend hours watching them. And after bird watching, we promise you’ll feel more relaxed, and you’ll have forgotten for a while about your daily problems. 

Attracting birds to your garden isn’t so hard as you might think. You just have to provide them with the basic needs: food, water and shelter to roost and nest. So, are you ready to learn how to attract birds to your garden?

How to attract birds to your garden?

The primary things that attract birds are food, water and shelter. If you can provide them with at least one of these three, birds will become the permanent residents of your garden. But just feeding birds and watering isn’t enough. There are other factors you have to consider. Let’s see what you have to do to make your garden a paradise for birds.

1. Place some bird feeders

One of the best things to do is to set up bird feeders in different places in your garden. Or, if your yard isn’t big enough, you can install a big feeding station with several feeders to attract as many species of birds as possible. Just make sure that you place feeders away from your house. Otherwise, there’s a great risk of birds hitting on windows.

Get a variety of feeders and seed mixes—the different birds will choose different feeder styles. So, give them various choices—bird tables, hanging feeders, dining stations, mealworm feeders, suet feeders, ground feeders.  For example, nuthatches will opt for hanging feeders, whilst Blue Jays choose ground feeders

Place the feeders somewhere quiet and safe, like a tall hedge or a tree. Birds don’t like sudden sounds, and they need to be covered by enemies like cats. If you have trees in your yard, hang some bird feeders from the branches at different heights or place a feeder on the ground. Don’t forget to keep them topped up!

Remember that birds need some time until they get used to a new feeder. So, don’t feel that you’ve done something wrong if not many birds visit your feeders at first. 

2. Get the right bird seeds

Get bird seeds that will provide birds with the necessary energy. Choose different sorts of seeds to attract as many birds as possible. Avoid feeding them only with bread because it isn’t nutritious and is an empty filler. If you do provide them with breadcrumbs, make sure they’re soaked. 

Avoid feeding them also with desiccated coconut as it’s dangerous for birds. It swells inside their stomach. Plus, sugary treats and cooked oats can be rather dangerous too. They can dry and harden around their beaks. 

3. Provide a water source

Beyond providing food, birds also need water. It’s vital for their survival, like us. They need it for drinking but also bathing. Thus, make a birdbath and place it somewhere in your yard, or you can put a large, shallow container filled with clean fresh water. Ensure, though, you place it away from the direct sunlight, and of course, somewhere they can notice any predators. Renew it very often and remove ice during cold months. 

Birdbath with branches and pot in the ground

4. Make your garden birdsnatural habitat

Give birds a chance to feel at home. Build bird boxes or put up some nest boxes to attract a variety of birds. Install some hedges with dense cover to help them create their nesting sites. However, you can help them differently, as well. Don’t use any gardening netting, especially during their breeding season

What’s more, you can plant some berry-bearing trees to make your yard more bird-friendly. Fruit and berry-bearing trees will attract birds, help them find natural food, and provide them with shelter and a place to make their nests. 

Opt for berry trees and shrubs like rowan, holly, hawthorn and honeysuckle, cotoneaster, berberis, and pyracantha – all natural food sources. Or you can have plants to provide them with natural shelters like ivy and honeysuckle. A great choice would also be to plant some wildflowers. They will attract insects, birds’ favourite food. 

5. Clean the feeders

You shouldn’t neglect regular feeder maintenance. Birds won’t visit a dirty feeder. Thus keep a cleaning feeder schedule. Check and wash feeders regularly. Use a mixture of dish soap, dilute bleach and warm water to clean them inside and outside. Let them dry before refilling them. 

Cleaning the feeders will keep your birds safe and healthy.  You will reduce the chances of spreading disease and parasites where birds gather. Plus, you’ll be able to remove any mouldy seeds which are bad for your feathered friends

6. Place perching sticks

Don’t you need a place to rest after a long walk? The same applies to birds. They need a safe place to rest too. That’s why you should install a perching stick, especially if there aren’t any trees or bushes in your garden. Perching sticks will intrigue birds to take a break and preen their feathers. They also act as bird observatories. They can watch from there and decide how safe the feeder is. You can have perches from different materials or make using old branches, which will remind you more of the natural environment. 

a pair of birds resting on a stand

What birds is it possible to attract to your garden?

Having suitable feed, installing feeders and nest boxes will attract different species of wild birds throughout the year. Let’s see some common birds that can make your backyard their home. 

1. Dunnocks

Dunnocks are small birds, somewhat shy. They aren’t visible in the garden as they prefer dense cover for feeding and nesting. You can watch them, though, during spring, in the mating season. 

2. Jays

Jays are noisy birds. They enjoy searching for acorns, hazelnuts and peanuts in woodlands, parks and gardens. You’ll mainly find them in places with mature trees, mostly oaks.

3. Robin

Robins are songbirds. They first start singing, and they are the last to stop at night. They like eating fruits, seeds and insects.

4. Green woodpeckers

They aren’t so common in gardens. However, they’ll visit yours if you have fallen apples and berries, and any time there are seeds and nuts, mainly on frozen ground. 

a green woodpecker in its nest hole on a tree trunk

5. Fieldfares

Fieldfares are usually autumn visitors. They feast on berry-laden bushes in hedgerows, woodlands and parks.

6. Siskins

One of the most frequent visitors will be siskins. They’re small birds, more minor than greenfinches. They enjoy eating sunflower seeds, millet and peanuts. 

7. Wood pigeons

Wood pigeons are probably the most familiar garden birds. They usually seek food under bird tables and on lawns. Their breeding season starts in April and lasts up to autumn.

8. Sparrowhawks

Sparrowhawks are the smallest birds of prey, often visiting gardens looking for their prey (smaller birds like tits, finches and sparrows). You can see them all year round in your yard. 

9. House martin

House martin is a migratory bird. It usually builds its nest from the mud below the eaves of buildings. 

10. Hummingbirds

Hummingbirds are the smallest migrating birds and very competitive. When there’s more than one hummingbird around, then you’ll probably watch them fighting for food.

hummingbird hovering in the air

Which bird foods attract which species?

There are several food sources to provide your feathered friends with. Again you would have to get different types of food to attract different species. Some seeds you can get are:

    • Suet balls:  These are ideal during winter. They are full of calories a bird needs to last during the cold months. They’re the favourites for woodpeckers, robins, blue tits and long-tailed tits.
    • Sunflower hearts: Sunflower seeds are rich in protein. They’re a great choice if you want to attract house sparrows, robins and garden finches(goldfinches, chaffinches, greenfinches).
    • Niger seeds or Nyjer: They’re tiny, black seeds, and you have to place them in a specialist feeder. They’re favourite with robins and goldfinches.
    • Mealworms: You can find dried or live ones. As disgusting as it might sound to you, they’re delicious for blue tits, song thrushes, blackbirds, starlings and robins. 
    • Peanuts: Peanuts are a perfect food choice as they’re full of protein and fat. With feeders full of peanuts, you’ll attract tits, finches, chaffinches, great spotted woodpeckers and nuthatches

Where to put bird feeders and get birds to notice them?

Installing feeders needs thinking about where to place them. They need to be somewhere the birds will surely notice them, but at the same time covered and safe from potential predators. 

You should place feeders close to bushes, trees or hedges. Birds can stop on them, wait and watch if the feeder is safe before visiting. What’s more, don’t place the feeders close to buildings. There’s a risk for birds to hit on closed windows.

Wherever you decide to install the feeders, make sure they’re visible from indoors so that you can have the chance to enjoy them and when you aren’t in your garden.

shallow sitting on a branch

If you want to turn your backyard into heaven for birds, install some feeders and water supplies to attract them. Create a hospitable environment similar to their natural habitat. Plant trees and install some perching sticks for birds to hide and take a break from their activities.

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