My friends are always amazed at the quantity and kinds of wild birds at my feeders when they come to visit me. Some of them started asking me how I attract so many sorts of birds. After a bit of thinking my response was, it’s simple! All you need to do is offer wild birds what they want or like to survive. What is that? Basically birds need the exact things as we do-shelter, food and water.
Shelter is very important to wild birds and wild life just as it’s important to us. Shelters provide protection against the elements and predators. It provides wild birds and wild life a place to roost, rest and sleep. Based on the type of shelter that brought the birds that the shelter may also provide a food source. Conifers such as Blue Tooth or Scotch Pines make excellent lands because of their dense branching habit. The dense branch in addition to the needles affords wild birds protection and leads to a greater nesting survival rate. These evergreens attract wild birds too for their food resources. Pine cones yield a lot of seeds that attracts crossbills, pine siskins and pine grosbeaks. Large mature trees such as oaks or maples attract wild birds for shelter also. Blue jays build their nests in the crotch of the tree. Woodpeckers will search for a cavity in the tree trunk for protection and to raise a family. Cardinals and a number of other song birds are drawn to overgrowth and shrubbery for their shelter needs. Due to the loss of natural habitat artificial shelters and nesting boxes will attract wild birds. A bird home constructed to the specifics of the type of bird you wish to attract and put in the ideal place will lure the birds.
Food is a necessity for all creatures. The availability of food and the type of food will establish the birds attracted to the yard. Wild bird seed mixtures containing striped and black sunflower seeds, safflower seeds, milo, millet and corn will bring in the best range of birds. The sunflower seeds are consumed by cardinals, titmouse and nuthatches. Sparrows will consume the smaller millet seeds while pigeons and doves will feed on the Milo. The safflower seeds are beautiful morsels for the white breasted nuthatches and cardinals. Quail, pheasant and juncos are drawn to the cracked corn kernels. Another seed that attracts wild birds is the nyjer seed. This small black seed comes from India and is very like thistle seed. Birds in the finch family and doves love this seed.
Berries, nuts and fruit hanging on a tree or from a feeder brings fruit eating birds. Tanagers and orioles will cease to eat apples and pears. Catbirds, warblers and waxwings will help themselves to berries, cherries and apples. Good luck trying to find some for yourself.
Insects are a food source for many birds. A rotten tree full of worms and rodents brings flickers and downy woodpeckers. Bees, ants and wasps are fetched up by flycatchers and phoebes. Grubs are yummy to robins and grackles that can help keep the lawn pests in check. Insect eating wild birds consume an enormous amount of bugs and are very beneficial to the environment
Suet is beef or fat lard that’s been rendered. It usually comes in cubes or squares and served in what’s referred to as suet cages. The fat provides a lot of dietary calories and nutrients to the birds. Many companies mix bird seed or incorporate fruit pieces in with the fat providing the birds more nutritious product.
Nectar from plants and flowers such as honeysuckles, lobellia and fuchsia supply hummingbirds with high energy calories. The high sugar content of nectar helps preserve the metabolic needs of these birds. Orioles and woodpeckers will see nectar feeders to get a dose of the sweet fluid. Nectar can be replicated by using 1 part sugar and 4 parts of water mixed together and put into a feeder.
Water is the third component for attracting wild birds. They are so curious to find out what is making the sound and where it is coming from that they will investigate. A water feature be it a pond or bird bath especially if it makes running water or dripping noise will certainly attract avian friends. The attraction for water changes with the seasons. All year long birds will need to have fresh water for drinking. Come the summer months birds tend to use the water for bathing. . This is important because it helps rid the bird of parasites and lice. It also helps in maintaining excellent feather health. After bathing the birds will preen themselves spreading oils onto their feathers and re-aligning their feathers to the proper positions. The bath helps get rid of excess oils also. Birds will use the bird bath to cool down and refresh themselves in the hot months. Migration in the fall brings birds into the bird bath for refreshment more so than for bathing. A bird bath in the winter with a de-icer or heating element in it will attract wild birds to get fresh water drinking. You will see a bird bathing, taking advantage of the water but the tub is really more for drinking purposes. For birds to enjoy the bird bath keep the water’s depth lower than 2 inches. Birds don’t like deep water. Thus, if the water is deeper than 2 inches add a rock or dish for the bird to stand on. Remember to always wash the bird baths to stop the spread of diseases and to keep our feathered friends healthy. By providing shelter, food and water your yard should attract wild birds and wildlife. Enjoy the birds that come to see.