One of my Sellers loves attracting birds to her yard, and I thought I’d share some of my experience as well as some research to help aspiring birders.
The basic list of “equipment” needed is water, food, and shelter or safety.
According to the Bird Watching HQ blog, “providing consistent fresh water will attract more birds than just hanging a bird feeder.” Here’s a link to a website with a variety of DIY ideas. You can also find them a wide variety at local garden stores, Home Depot and Lowe’s. One concern in San Antonio is mosquitos. A fountain or moving water might be a good idea, and keeping equipment clean is essential for bird health.
Different types of birds like different types of feed, so you’ll need to investigate. For example, thistle attracts finches and chickadees. This site gives a handy list of types of seed and the birds they attract. And check out this website to find out about the wide variety of suet and the birds you can attract.
Birds will push the cheaper seed out in order to get to the more desirable seeds. Fortunately, doves like to feed on the ground, but you can buy feed treated to eliminate sprouting of the leftovers. This site discussed DIY treatments to prevent the discarded seed from sprouting.
Oh, the joy of watching the birds at feeders! We’ve all probably seen the tube feeders with perches at different levels and nectar feeders for hummingbirds. Below is a list of types of feeders from my research.
- Hopper Feeders. This type probably has the largest reservoir and usually has some type of “roof.”
- Tube Feeders. Probably the most common type.
- Thistle Feeders. Specifically, for the small thistle seed popular with finches and chickadees.
- Platform Feeders. For ground feeding birds. Some type of screen allowing rain or dew to drain away is very important to prevent degradation.
- Nectar Feeders. The nectar feeder needs to be thoroughly cleaned between refills to protect Hummingbirds from illness.
- Suet Feeders. Designed for specialized feed and attractive to woodpeckers.
- And many more including Corn Ear and Peanut Wreathes.
Check out this blog for more details and pictures.
Shelter or Safety
My bird-loving Seller has a yard with several trees and plants, and birds need a place to perch while they check out the scene. The blog Bird Watching HQ also mentions using native plants, and this makes sense. If you look at a birder guide, each species has an identified range, and you’re more likely to attract birds with plants familiar to them. Migrating birds will also be attracted to local flora.
Birdwatching is a stimulating activity for cats but keep them indoors. Also, keep in mind other types of animals that might chase away the birds such as squirrels or other competitors.
Another safety feature is keeping things clean. Nectar feeders for hummingbirds should be thoroughly cleaned between refills, and birdbaths need to be regularly cleaned.
Other Fun Bird Things
The YouTube site LesleytheBirdNerd has some delightful and instructive videos. The first video of hers I came across discussed Blue Jay behavior. Did you know they are related to crows and ravens? Who knew? Also, check out this video from Smarter Every Day where he investigates the science of hummingbird flight.