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Attracting Birds to Your Garden

Attracting Birds to Your Garden

Bird House Basics

Observing wildlife is the second most done leisure activity in the United State, and birds are one of the most commonly observed types of wildlife. Bird watching has been, and still is, a captivating hobby nationally and internationally.

Nesting birds

Birds range in a variety of species, colors, sizes and characteristics- each displaying its own distinct routines and habits that make watching them an enjoyable experience. Not only are birds interesting to watch, but they’re sound is pleasant and even better, they provide many benefits to your garden and backyard.

Birds are heavy eaters of insects, including mosquitos and spiders, so they provide great insect control. For obvious reasons, this comes in handy during summer months when you want to enjoy your backyard without becoming the main course for the numerous insects flying around. Apart from insect control, certain bird species also aid in reducing weeds in the garden by eating weed seeds as well as help pollinate your flowers.

Creating a bird paradise in your own backyard is not a hard process. There are some basics tips and tools you should know before and during the process of attracting specific birds to your yard.

First, creating a desirable space for birds is the starting point. Roosevelt Robinson, an urban regional agent with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, said “where you live plays a key role in the bird you want to attract.” When creating an environment that attracts birds you have to, “be sure the species of bird is found where you plan to install the nesting box,” Robinson added. You should find out what types of birds are in your area.

Basic wooden bird house

Basic wooden bird house

The location of your bird house is important too. But just building a bird house and placing it in the right spot is not the only part of the process.

“Managing and monitoring the birdhouse on a regular basis” is equally important too Robinson said.
For housing, you need to know what type of bird you want to attract. There are many different kinds of houses desisnged for the requirements of different species.

“Placing the nest box in the appropriate location is important,” Robinson stressed.  wood is the most common and easiest to use material to build the houses.  Though there are many types of woods, Robinson adviced using naturally decay-resistant wood. “Cedar, redwood or a good grade of exterior plywood is best.”

Metals should be avoided. The sun will heat metal up and can kill nesting birds.  If you do not want to use wood, there are a few other types of materials, such as pottery (only if it is designed for houses), corrugated cardboard, plastic and natural gourds that can be used.

While providing an adequate home for your intended bird is crucial, bird feeders also play a large role in the amount of birds that flock to your garden.

Choosing Right Feeder

evening grosbeak

Evening grosbeak on tube feeder

Feeders come in a range of designs and sizes, letting you customize it in a way that suits your personal style.
As a publication on Extension’s website directs: The type of bird feeder you choose plays a large role in the types of birds that come to feed. Seed feeders, for instance, do well in attracting a variety of birds because of the basic structure. Smaller, hanging feeders will host smaller species such as songbirds. The small perches and swaying motion of these feeders dissuade larger birds from feeding. Tube feeders specifically will lend an extra hand for the size of birds you prefer to feed, depending on the perch size you decide on.

A second type of feeder that is popular is the weighted perch bird feeder.  These are great for bird-type selection. The weighted perch, in short, only allows smaller, light-weight birds to feed. Larger birds and pesky squirrels are too heavy for the perch, and their weight closes the opening to the food.

If you are feeding birds during fall and winter, don’t stop until well into the spring months when other food sources are plentiful or until the birds have begun to migrate to northern breeding areas.

Housing and feeding are simple ways to attract beautiful birds to your yard and garden.goldfinches on feeder

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