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Techniques for Attracting Backyard Birds

Mar 25, 2008
There are many things you can do to attract backyard birds into your yard for you and your family's viewing pleasure. Attracting the largest variety of wild birds to your own backyard can be rewarding providing you follow some basic guidelines. Where you live doesn't really matter- in an apartment, townhouse or single family dwelling, in the city, suburbs or country.
Bird watching is one of the fastest growing sources of outdoor recreation in the country.

The most effective way to attract the widest variety of birds to your yard is to put out separate feeders for each type of food and placing them around your backyard. Supplemental bird feeders and bird baths will draw large numbers of birds where you can see and appreciate them. You will want to consider different types of feeding stations such as a platform feeder for ground feeding birds, hanging feeders for perching birds and suet feeders for insect eating birds. It's healthier for the birds to get the their food at a feeding station, rather than off the ground.

If birds pass through your yard, but don't seem to want to stay, it's most likely because your yard doesn't provide a varied, long-term food supply. All bird species have their own unique food requirements that will change as the seasons change. It's very important for you to learn the food habits of the birds you wish to attract. You can then plant the appropriate trees, shrubs, and flowers to provide the fruits, berries, seeds, acorns, and nectar.

Trying to transform your yard into a haven for birds can be very frustrating so plan on making gradual changes by Identifying one or two areas to concentrate on for the first year. Many of the birds that visit your backyard feeders and baths may stay and nest in nearby trees. Most of them will not nest in boxes. You should consider their food and shelter requirements in your landscape plans.

When you are developing a long-term water source for your garden, you will want to plan for the type of water feature that birds adapt to most quickly: a shallow, rough-bottomed pool of still water. Birds will shy away from water that is more than 2"-3" deep. The sound of loud, moving water is a dynamic attraction to most birds and will draw them from longer. A dripper or circulating pump can add just the right sound to attract wild birds. Water becomes a problem when it rests at the bottom of a bird house.

A roof with sufficient slope and overhang offers some protection. Water for birds needs to be as close to a faucet as possible, for purposes of refilling and cleaning. You will also want to empty and scrub the birdbath every 2-3 days in the summer, to prevent algae and bacteria from contaminating the water and to attract backyard birds.
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For more information about Birdwatching visit our comprehensive website at "The Beginner's Guide to Birdwatching" or "Birding for Everyone"">
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