My son Erik is always looking for ways to attract more birds to our shared yard (he and my daughter-in-law Kaitlyn live in our basement apartment), which is great because I get to reap the benefits! There’s nothing I love more than sitting out in the backyard and listening to them sing in the morning (the birds, not my kids).
A few years ago, I shared instructions for how to make your own customizable bird seed blend, which has worked wonders in attracting Utah-native western scrub jays, western tanagers, and evening grosbeaks. Now that we’ve implemented even more strategies for attracting birds to our yard, and I have a whole new list of tips to share with you.
Use these simple tips to attract all sorts of new feathered friends to your yard!
7 Simple Ways To Attract Birds To Your Yard
1. Add A Water Source
Birds like to bathe regularly, so adding a bird bath or other source of clean water is a great way to draw more of them to your yard. Consider adding a bird bath to your yard with water that’s 1 to 3 inches deep, or if you’re looking to add more of a water feature, you could even build a small pond.
Be sure to have some sort of water pump to keep the water circulating, as birds listen for moving water and it helps deter mosquitos and wasps from the area. These solar-powered pumps are the perfect way to add bubbling water without having to buy an entire bird bath set.
If you live in a cold climate, you may also want to consider investing in a de-icer to keep your bird bath or pond from freezing over in cold weather.
2. Encourage Nesting
The next time you clean out a hairbrush or brush your pet, don’t toss that hair or fur into the trash—put it outside for your bird friends instead! You can put pet fur, hair, or even bits of string and yarn in a suet cage feeder or wicker nesting globe that birds can use to construct their nests.
Since many birds face growing threats from lack of adequate shelter and nesting sites, another way you can help is by planting native shrubs, trees, and flowers that encourage nesting (see #4 below).
3. Use Bright Colors
I recently learned birds are naturally attracted to bright colors—in fact, they’re one of the few animals that can see in color. A lot of feeders and birdhouses come in bright colors for this reason.
Red is especially known to attract hummingbirds, while orange and yellow have been known to attract orioles and goldfinches. Not sure which color to use to attract your favorite bird? Many are attracted to their own color, so incorporating items of the same shade into your yard may help catch their eye.
4. Lure Them With Plants
Local birds will thrive in a yard full of native plants, so head to your local garden center, nursery, or greenhouse and ask for recommendations for native species. Not only will these plants do better in your area’s unique climate, but some will make great sources of food and shelter for birds.
5. Provide A Variety Of Feeders
Different birds have different tastes, and you can attract the types of birds you want to see in your yard by setting up the type of feeders they like best, like:
- Tube feeders for finches, sparrows, and chickadees
- Hopper feeders for finches, jays, sparrows, and cardinals
- Suet feeders for woodpeckers, nuthatches, and starlings
- Ground feeders for cardinals, grosbeaks, and blue jays
- Nectar feeders for hummingbirds and orioles
Experiment with hanging your feeders high and low to see which height the birds prefer, and make sure to keep an eye out for squirrels taking advantage of your feeders. (If they do, a baffle can help!)
6. Use Bird Apps
Those enjoyable birdsongs aren’t just nice to listen to! You can use a bird’s song or call to identify what kind of bird it is with the help of the Merlin Bird ID app.
Whenever I hear a bird but don’t recognize it, I simply pull out my phone and let the app listen. In a matter of seconds, I have a list of potential matches and have a much easier time getting to the bottom of it. I’m learning a lot from this app and I use it all the time!
7. Get Your Backyard Certified
Once your yard is teeming with birds, consider certifying your backyard as a Backyard Wildlife Habitat with the National Wildlife Federation. I didn’t even know this was a thing you could do until Erik applied for us!
To get certified, your yard will need the following resources that help wildlife thrive:
- 3 different food sources (from feeders or plants)
- 1 clean water source
- 2 different shelter sources (including natural and manmade)
- 2 different nesting places (including natural and manmade)
- 2 sustainable practices
You can get specific details about what each requirements entails and how to fulfill it by consulting this helpful checklist. And for more information or to apply to get your outdoor space certified, visit the National Wildlife Federation website.
What sorts of birds pay visits to your yard?