Begin bird watching by attracting wild birds to your yard
With their colorful plumage and soft, cooing songs, birds are fascinating to watch. And there’s another good reason to do bird watching — it’s said to reduce stress and anxiety levels.
You don’t have to leave home to watch wild birds. With the proper feeders, nesting boxes and food, you can bring the birds to you.
Ready to begin bird watching at home? Here are some ways to attract wild birds to your outdoor space.
Install a variety of bird feeders
Just as birds come in all shapes and sizes, so do bird feeders — and there is the perfect feeder for every bird.
Finches and sparrows prefer tube feeders, such as Woodland Metal Mini Magnum Nyjer Screen Bird Feeder, available from Premier Pet Supply. Cardinals and blue jays like hopper feeders, while woodpeckers are attracted to suet feeders such as the Pine Tree Farms Large Seed & Suet Cake Hanging Bird Feeder. And hummingbirds are attracted to nectar feeders. Fill the feeder with a nectar concentrate such as one from Homestead Nectar.
Also, consider the height of the feeder — some birds prefer feeding up high while others prefer to stay closer to the ground. For those lower to the ground, you might consider a feeder that is squirrel-proof.
Choose the right bird food
When it comes to feeding wild birds, it’s important to choose the right food.
Bird food comes in many different varieties — including sunflower, a favorite for many wild birds. Sunflower shells are easy for birds to break open, and they’re perfect for winter birds who rely on their higher fat content. Nature’s Window Black Sunflower is a good one to try. Shelled sunflower varieties also are available — they provide the same nutritional value without any clean-up.
If you want to attract a particular species, consider the type of food. Cardinals prefer safflower, while finches enjoy nyjer. Sparrows like white millet and ravens, ducks and blue jays like shelled corn. Some birds — including woodpeckers — enjoy peanuts, but so do other wildlife. You’ll want to keep peanuts out of reach of squirrels, raccoons and other animals.
Premier Pet Supply has a variety of seed blends to attract different types of wild birds, as well as food logs, nectars and suets.
Grow bird-friendly trees and plants
Different species of birds prefer certain types of trees and plants. To attract certain species of wild birds, fill your yard with the right ones.
According to audobon.org, these trees and plants are great options for attracting wild birds in metro Detroit:
- Allegheny serviceberry for orioles, cardinals and grosbeaks.
- Alternate leaf dogwood for cardinals, wrens and grosbeaks.
- American basswood for thrushes and mockingbirds.
- American beech for woodpeckers.
- American elm for sparrows.
- American hornbeam for blue jays and chickadees.
Set up birdhouses
Birdhouses — also called nesting boxes — can attract many different species of birds to your yard. There’s the perfect one for every bird, and you can purchase one or build your own.
Look for a box made from untreated wood such as pine or cedar and has ventilation holes. Avoid boxes with outside perches — they can help predators come in. Look for a box with a sloped roof, which helps keep out the rain.
Attach the box to a pole, tree or building. But avoid having your box face west — some birds won’t go in there because it can get too hot.
Invest in birdbaths and water features
Birdbaths are a relatively inexpensive investment for your backyard, and they not only provide architectural character — but also attract birds. That’s especially true in the winter when many birds have difficulty finding water sources.
When choosing a birdbath, look for one that has a shallow bowl — it shouldn’t be more than a few inches deep. You also should change the water every two to four days. To keep it clean, wipe it down with nine parts water to one part vinegar.
Birds are also attracted to the sounds of bubbling water, so consider installing an outdoor fountain or other water feature if you have the budget and the space. Those that have a heater are a big draw for winter birds.
To find more information about food and supplies for wild birds, visit premierpetsupply.com.