How to Encourage Birds to Visit Your Yard

Updated on April 23, 2019
Diane Lockridge profile image

Lockridge is an avid reader who enjoys learning about beautiful garden plants. Among other things, she has worked with a florist.

If you install bird feeders, birds will eventually visit your yard.
If you install bird feeders, birds will eventually visit your yard.

Not only are birds interesting to observe, they are beneficial to the garden for a variety of reasons. Birds are natural pollinators, meaning that they transfer pollen from one plant to another. Since not all plants can pollinate themselves, and since there is such a severe bee shortage, birds help fill in that necessary gap.

According to the experts, birds will have three basic needs: food, cover/shelter and nesting areas. If you provide these three things year-round, birds will be naturally attracted to your garden, regardless of whether you live in the big city or a suburb.

Always use high-quality bird seed.
Always use high-quality bird seed.

Food and Water

You may be inclined to think that any type of seed will attract birds, and you may be partially correct, however, different types of birds tend to prefer to eat different things. In addition to typical seeds, consider setting out fruits such as berries or low-quality apples.

During harsh winter months, birds may need a source of fat in order to thrive. Install a suet or “fat block” (see instructions below) to help birds such as starlings throughout the cold winter months. Avoid placing homemade suet cakes in warmer climates, as the suet may become rancid; commercial suet had been treated to not spoil.

Always purchase seed from a reputable place and avoid seed that smells “off” or seems to have spoiled. Experiment with different blends of seed until you find a mix that birds in your area seem to prefer. When in doubt, think local. Supplement birdseed with whatever is the most common fruit or berry in your region.

Songbirds frequently eat a variety of seeds, whereas bluebirds tend to prefer berries and meal worms. Don’t mix seeds and meal worms together though, use a separate feeder when luring bluebirds to your yard.

In addition to installing bird feeders in your yard, consider adding a birdbath where birds can both bathe and drink. Refresh water and clean birdbaths regularly to keep the area sanitary and inviting for your feathered friends. The National Wildlife Federations suggests allowing birds to hear that water is available by installing drippers, fountains or bubblers.

Install multiple water sources in your garden if you notice a large number of birds in your garden. Provide both still and running water to attract a variety of species.

Install bird baths so birds have place to hydrate and clean themselves.
Install bird baths so birds have place to hydrate and clean themselves.

Cover and Shelter

Like other animals, birds like to feel protected, so make sure to position birdfeeders in strategic places. For example, position feeders where birds can spot danger from predators easily. (You’ll notice that birds often land on a nearby area and inspect the feeders before approaching it.) Keep feeders higher up from the ground if you have a lot of cats in the area.

Plant native species in the garden to encourage feathered visitors. Provide additional cover by allowing fallen trees to say in place, or by placing them in a secluded area of the yard.

Nesting

It is ideal for birds to build their own nesting spots, so make sure to provide them with plenty of dense cover (such as bushes or hedges) where they can build nests. If you install nesting boxes, inspect them periodically for cleanliness and for any routine maintenance. Remove old seeds, and clean boxes during the off season with hot water and reattach them securely.

Offer a variety of nest boxes so your birds have options to choose from. You’ll find that some birds have distinct preferences. Vary the location of nesting boxes from year to year.

Provide natural nesting materials to encourage birds to create their own nests. Distribute fluff (such as balls of cotton or lint in the area), hair, string or grass clippings, all of which birds commonly use when nesting.

Suet cakes help keep birds thriving during the harsh winter months.
Suet cakes help keep birds thriving during the harsh winter months.

How to Make Suet Cakes

  1. Combine 2 parts lard, 2 parts cornmeal or bird seed, and 1-part natural peanut butter in saucepan. Heat until melted.
  2. Pour mixture into small containers (such as empty tuna cans or muffin tins).
  3. Chill or freeze containers.
  4. Insert cakes into a mesh bag or wire cage. Hang suet cakes from bird feeders or tree branches.

Alteration

Instead of making small cakes, consider inserting the liquid mix into 1-inch holes drilled into small logs. Hang logs to trees or feeders.

Pests

Birds aren’t the only wildlife attracted to bird feeders, squirrels also have a keen interest in all those seeded goodies. Limit squirrel accessibility by placing bird feeders at least 10 feet away from all trees and structures, or by installing squirrel-proof feeders.

If you find that squirrels are unusually determined in your area, consider using a spicy bird seed or adding hot seed sauce to your seed mix.

Additional Tips

Clean inspect birdhouses for maintenance needs during the later winter months before birds rest in the spring.

Position birdfeeders sufficiently far away from your home so birds don’t errantly fly into windows.

Questions & Answers

    Comments

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment
      • Diane Lockridge profile imageAUTHOR

        Diane Lockridge 

        6 weeks ago from Atlanta, GA

        Thanks for the sweet comments!

      • Coffeequeeen profile image

        Louise Powles 

        8 weeks ago from Norfolk, England

        That's a lovely article. I love feeding the birds. I find it so relaxing to watch and listen to them sing.

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, dengarden.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://dengarden.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
      ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)