How to Attract Birds To Your Yard
Picture this: You wake up to the gentle sound of birdsong in the morning. Opening the curtains, you gaze out into your yard to see a pair of chickadees flitting about, a blue jay perched in the tree, or a hummingbird floating near your window. It’s pure bliss.
There are countless reasons to entice feathered friends into your yard. Aside from the viewing pleasure that birds can bring to you (and your cat), these beautiful winged creatures also help control pests and pollinate flowers.
While birds will naturally visit your home from time to time, you can increase the frequency of sightings by making the area more appealing. Whether you live in the suburbs or out in the country, you can attract birds to your yard with these simple tips.
#1 Put Out Feeders
Bird feeders are a win-win. They give birds an additional food source when natural food is scarce, and they provide you with guaranteed bird sightings at locations of your choice.
To make the most of your bird feeders and keep the local avian population thriving, follow these tips from the National Wildlife Foundation:
- Use a well-loved food like black oil sunflower seeds to satisfy almost any bird
- Buy or make easy-to-clean feeders
- Clean your feeders regularly with hot water and allow them to dry before refilling
- Place feeders 10–12 feet up so cats and other predators can’t reach them
- Keep your unused seed in an airtight metal container to keep mold and pests at bay
- Remember that feeders should supplement natural food, not replace it
Although bird feeders will attract countless species, food won’t keep birds in your yard long-term; once they’ve had their fill, they’ll move on. To entice birds to stay awhile, you’ll want to consider setting up a nesting box.
#2 Set Up Nesting Boxes
A nesting box is a small wooden receptacle that acts as a nesting place for some species of birds. While most birds should have a natural nesting spot, increased development and invasive species mean that some areas lack options for nesting birds.
Nesting boxes provide an excellent alternative while also creating plenty of bird watching opportunities.
Whether you buy or build your nesting box, ensure that it has:
- Walls that are at least 3/4" thick and made of untreated cedar, pine, or fir
- A sloped, extended roof to keep precipitation out
- Drainage holes in the floor
- An entrance hole big enough for birds to enter but small enough to keep predators out
- No outside perches (these only help predators)
Although these recommendations apply to all nesting boxes, each bird species will have different needs and preferences. If you hope to attract a particular species, you’ll want to do some research. To build the perfect nesting box, you need to know a bird’s size, nest height, and preferred habitat.
#3 Provide Water Year-Round with a Bird Bath
Along with food and shelter, birds need access to water. Bird baths are the simplest, most attractive way to give your feathery friends a place to relax.
However, it’s not enough to put a tub of water in your yard and hope for bird visits. When setting up a bird bath, be sure to consider:
- Placement – As with feeders and nesting boxes, bird baths should be far enough away from predator hangouts (like dense shrubbery) so birds can drink, bathe, and play in peace. With that said, there should be some coverage nearby; birds need somewhere to escape to if a predator appears.
- Accessibility – To cater to small and large birds, your bird bath should be no more than three inches deep. Additionally, the bath’s interior should be textured, as smooth sides can become slippery.
- Cleanliness – Like humans, birds need fresh, clean water. A solar-powered pump allows you to cycle and clean the water in your bird bath. Because it’s solar-powered, you won’t have to worry about access to an outdoor plug or higher electrical bills. Keep in mind that you may still need to remove bird droppings or larger debris from time to time.
The best part about bird baths is they can be more than just fixtures for attracting birds—they’re also decorations. Backyard bird baths allow you to flex your creative muscles.
For some inspiration, check out one of the best bird baths we’ve ever seen. This “well with a leaky bucket” attracts birds and spruces up a Minnesota garden year-round.
#4 Grow Native Plants
Native birds thrive when native plant species—and the natural food and shelter they provide—are present. To attract more birds to your yard, cultivate an environment that mimics the preferred habitat of the avians in your area.
If you’re unsure which trees and flowers to plant in your yard, you’re in luck. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at the University of Texas at Austin has a list of native plants for each state, while the National Wildlife Foundation can tell you which plants to choose based on your ZIP code.
While it can take several years for native plants to grow, the results are well worth it. Not only will you give the bird population a welcoming environment, but you’ll also support natural preservation efforts in your area.
#5 Remove Invasive Plants
While you’re installing native plants, be sure to remove the invasive ones. Invasive plant species compete with native plants for nutrients and sunlight. When invasive plants take over, native plants can struggle or disappear—and that’s bad news for the birds who rely on them for food and shelter.
Unless you’re a professional botanist, you may find it challenging to determine which plants are native and which are invasive. Luckily, the U.S. Department of Agriculture provides resources for identifying invasive species.
#6 Leave Dead Trees Where They Are
Although it’s tempting to remove trees from your property when they die, consider leaving them as a gift to your local bird population. You’ll save money on landscaping fees and support your feathered friends.
Dead trees essentially fulfill the same purpose as nesting boxes. As they decay and hollow out, they offer shelter to birds—especially those raising chicks. Additionally, dead trees are home to the insects that birds eat.
#7 Stop Using Insecticides
Speaking of insects, it’s essential to let bugs thrive in your yard if you want to attract birds. For many birds (especially young ones), insects are a primary source of protein and fat. When you use pesticides or insecticides in your garden, you kill the bugs that birds come to eat.
Pesticides can also impact birds directly. When birds ingest harmful chemicals, they can fall ill or die. Ultimately, following organic practices in your yard helps attract birds—and keep them safe.
Bring Birds to Your Yard with Solariver
Following all these tips together will make your yard a paradise for birds. But even taking one recommendation from this guide will help you attract all sorts of winged visitors.
If you have to pick just one tip, we suggest buying or building a bird bath. Bird baths attract and nurture birds year-round while beautifying your yard or garden.
Of course, if you want to keep your bird bath clean and appealing for your feathered friends, you’ll need a pump. At Solariver, we make solar-powered pumps for fountains and bird baths of all shapes and sizes. Our pumps are low-noise, easy to install, and appropriate for all locations, allowing you to create a welcoming environment for birds in no time.