Sunday, February 04, 2007

Attracting birds

Few things are as interesting, lively, and beautiful as birds. They brighten up the dark days of winter and fill our springtime woodlands and gardens with their music. How can we repay them for giving us such enjoyment? By providing some of the things they need to survive—food, water, shelter, nest sites, and natural habitats. Having a bird-friendly yard has never been more important—with every passing year suitable habitat for birds is ever shorter in supply. Attracting birds is also great way to introduce young people to nature—it's something the whole family can share.

How to begin? An easy way to attract birds is to put up a bird feeder. We'll help you choose the feeders and foods that appeal to the birds you want to attract, plus we'll tell you where to put your feeder and how to care for it.

Many birds build nests out of vegetation, but some excavate holes in tree trunks. Still others breed in tree holes that other birds have made. Nest boxes offer these hole-nesters a place to raise their young, especially where dead trees aren't available. Our nest box section describes the features of a good nest box, where to place it, and how to avoid predators.

Try providing a water source or some nest material. They may attract birds than normally don't visit feeders. Hole-nesting birds often use cavities as overnight shelters, too. A roosting box can help them out.

In spring and summer birds' natural diet includes insects and spiders. During fall migration and winter, songbirds rely on fruit and seeds to survive. If a more natural approach to attracting birds appeals to you, try landscaping your yard to provide some of these natural foods. Plant conifers and deciduous trees as shelter from the elements and for nest sites. Think wild! Let your backyard (or just a part of it) become overgrown with thickets and trailing vines. Our landscaping section is full of tips to make your backyard a haven for birds!

Attracting birds to your property is full of rewards, but it brings challenges and responsibilities too. When unexpected things happen, we offer advice to help solve problems.

Check out the links below for more details.

Feeding Wild Birds
The way to a bird's heart is through its stomach! Learn about bird feeders, types of food, and more.

Nest Boxes
Home, sweet home—attract birds by giving them a place to raise their young.

Other Attractants
Bring the birds in by providing water, roost boxes, nest material, and more.

Landscaping for Birds
Learn about the best things to plant and other ways to make your property a magnet for birds.

What to do when things don't go as expected: window collisions, sick, dead, or unusual birds, nuisance birds, and more.