Providing A Plentiful Bounty for Your Backyard Birds
Become the host with the most during the fall and spring seasons to attract more birds in your backyard! Just as birds adjust their behaviors as the seasons change, you too must adjust how you interact with birds if you want to enjoy the diversity of avian life.
Attracting More Birds to Your Backyard Feeders
Spring and fall migration seasons are the perfect time to attract more birds to your backyard. Not only will you be rewarded with sightings of transient birds moving from their winter habitat to their summer nesting sites or back, but you may even entice them to stay in your backyard where you can get a glimpse of birding family life. Because these traveling birds are not familiar with your backyard as a good place to rest and recuperate from a long flight, adding extra enticements is beneficial to bringing more birds to your feeders.
Provide Tempting Rest Areas for Birds During Migration Times
One bird may travel hundreds or thousands of miles on its annual migration. Along the way, it will need secure places to rest and replenish its energy if it is to survive the long journey through so much unfamiliar territory. Birders who work to attract birds during migration can provide tempting rest areas for travel weary birds.
Food for Birds
- If you do not already have feeders out with fresh seed add them out now. This ensures that your yard can be their food source.
- Offer birds a variety of different foods to ensure they all have something to eat. Seed, nectar, nuts, suet and fruit will help attract as many birds as possible.
- Clean feeders regularly. Fresh seed is more attractive to birds and clean feeders are less likely to spread diseases that unfortunate birds may transmit to their nesting or wintering grounds.
Shelter for Birds
- Position bird houses and nesting boxes in your yard to keep birds safe from predators, bad weather and human intervention.
- During the spring migration, offer birds different nesting materials such as lint, hair, fur or fuzz. Leave grass clippings and small twigs available as well to encourage birds to nest nearby.
- Protect backyard birds from predators such as cats, dogs, raccoons and other creatures. Migrating birds are especially wary of predators, and it is vital to create a safe, secure place for them to visit en route to their wintering or nesting grounds.
- Put out nest boxes and birdhouses early in the spring so migrating birds can check them out. In many bird species, males migrate earlier than females and will establish territories where there are many available nesting sites.
- During the fall migration, leave birdhouses up to serve as roost boxes to keep traveling birds warm at night. Many birders leave birdhouses up throughout the year so birds always have that shelter available.
Natural Habitat for Birds
- Plant early and late blooming flowers to give birds a natural food source and a very visible indicator of a good resting spot. This is especially important to attract migrating hummingbirds, but flowers will also attract other bird species.
- Plant fruit-bearing trees and shrubs to offer a natural food source, and do not remove fruit from the limbs. Fruit that stays on the plants through the winter will also provide food for winter birds.
- If you are pruning trees, save the cut branches to build a brush pile for instant bird shelter. Even before buds and leaves are large enough to shelter birds, a brush pile will encourage them to rest.
Water Sources for Birds
- A clean birdbath filled with fresh water will be the most attractive to birds, and knowing how to clean a birdbath properly and safely will allow birders to maintain backyard water sources easily.
- Add moving water feature to your yard, whether it is a bubbler, mister, dripper or more elaborate waterfall or stream.
- Migrating birds can see and hear moving water and will investigate the source.
These are basic steps to attracting more birds to your backyard, not just during migration, but year round. By taking steps to encourage migrating birds to visit your backyard, it is possible to see many beautiful and unusual species during annual migration periods as they pass through on their way to different habitats.
Calling all Bird Lovers!
Whether you have an apartment, balcony or a 10-acre farm, a schoolyard or a business park, or anything in between, everyone can create a welcoming haven for local wildlife. Turning your space into a Certified Wildlife Habitat® is fun, easy and makes a big difference for neighborhood wildlife.
Throughout the year, we host free educational events on how to certify your backyard as a natural habitat with Habitat Steward and Master Naturalist, Debbie Foster. Check out our upcoming events online or contact our store at (704) 841-9453 about when our next event will take place.