By contributing writer Marci
At our house, each morning starts with nature watching. We sit at our breakfast table and look out the window into our backyard, which is usually bustling with activity. It’s a homeschool unit study all in itself.
This morning we have watched squirrels digging for hidden nuts, rabbit munching on dandelions, a deer eating it’s way through the underbrush at the edge of the woods, and many different species of birds getting their breakfast or flitting from branch to branch. Wildlife abounds here. We happen to have a great environment that invites animals in. We are blessed to have a yard that nestles up to woods and a small stream.
If your yard is far from the woods, you can still invite wildlife into your backyard. You just need to attract them. The easiest and safest animals to attract to your backyard are birds. With some simple additions, you’ll be viewing wildlife out your window, too.
Putting up a bird feeder to attract birds is so easy. You can start with a basic house-type feeder from your local hardware or home improvement store. Buy an all-purpose seed mix and you are good to go. Hang the feeder from a tree branch or from a hook or mounting pole in your yard. Make sure the feeder is where you can spot it from your favorite window or outside seating area.
If you are trying to attract a certain type of bird, you can get a specialized feeder such as a finch feeder, a hummingbird feeder, or a suet cage. The type of feed necessary is often printed on the package. AllAboutBirds.org has a helpful article on choosing bird feeders.
You can even turn your bird feeders into a science experiment for your kids! Set up various types of bird feeders with different types of bird food and keep track of which birds go to which feeder.
Birds need water for drinking and for bathing. Setting a bird bath in your yard will attract many different species. You can get many different types of bird baths at local stores. There are the traditional concrete ones, as well as bird baths made of glass or ceramic. Birds are also attracted to small fountains and ornamental ponds. Just make sure the baths have a secure spot for the birds to land on and that the bottom is not too slippery.
Place your bird bath in a shady spot so the water doesn’t get too hot and so the birds can retreat into the trees or bushes when danger is near. Make sure the bath is placed where you can easily see it.
When filling the bird bath, try to keep the depth no more than 2 inches deep in the deepest part of the bird bath. Keep the water fresh by refilling it every couple days.
If you don’t have any trees, shrubs, or flowers in or around your yard, you probably won’t see many birds there either. Birds need these plants for nesting, protection, and food. Planting even a few can attract birds to your yard.
Different species of birds utilize different types of landscaping. If you want a variety of birds, you need a variety of landscaping types. For instance, fruit producing trees, such as cherry and mulberry, attract robins, waxwings, cardinals, and grosbeaks. Nectar producing plants attract hummingbirds. Oak and hickory trees provide good nesting habitat.
Attracting birds to your backyard is easy. Follow these tips, grab your bird guide, and enjoy the view!