Backyard Birding Tips
Table of Contents
Backyard Birding Tips
Many birding enthusiasts love to watch birds all year round and in their natural habitats. This is why many birders turn their backyards into backyard birding oases. This is not complicated to do and you will have the pleasure of looking out your backyard window and watching a wide variety of birds from the comfort of your own home. Here are several tips to help you make your backyard into a true paradise for the neighborhood flock. Included are both long term measures to help you achieve your goal. Consider these factors when creating your perfect habitat.
Food and Shelter
First, you must make sure your backyard is suitable for birds. If you have dogs or cats in your yard, it might not be the best environment for birds. You should avoid putting wild birds in danger of injury or worse by your pets. It is also not fair to your pets to have birds flying in and out of your yard and expect your pets not to follow their natural instincts. It is expected that dogs and cats will go after birds, so you should not punish your pets for this behavior. Simply put, you need to ensure the environment is safe for birds before you start attracting them.
Once the environment is safe, you can start with a bird feeder or bird house. Before you buy or build a bird house, you should read our blog for bird feeder advice. Remember that different types of feeders and houses will attract different types of birds. Some houses may not be suitable for certain species, so do your research beforehand. Remember to place your bird house or feeder in a safe location. A pole of the right height will ensure that birds remain out of predators’ reach. Once the feeder or house is set up, make sure you fill it with the right kind of bird food. The food you provide will always depend on the types of birds you wish to attract. So that your backyard birding efforts attract a wide variety of birds, you should provide many different kinds of food.
Providing Water To Birds
Now that you know how to provide food, You have many options for providing water to in your backyard birding habitat. Some feeders you can buy also have a place to provide water. Of course, you can also install a bird bath, bird fountain, or a pond. If you live in a colder climate, add a submersible bird bath heater to keep birds coming back year round. There are a wide variety of shallow water containers that will make birds happy. Choose an inexpensive option, or add value to your backyard and property by placing something higher-end. Remember to clean your bird bath regularly, and avoid the problems of standing water. Always clean your bird feeders to avoid the spread of disease among wildlife and between birds and humans. Read more about what to consider when buying bird baths.
Which Plants And Trees Are Best For Backyard Birding?
With the low-hanging fruit taken care of, it’s time to think more long term. Take a good look at your backyard and ask yourself how it can be improved. Is there enough vegetation? If you see a bare-bones backyard, there are many improvements you can make to ensure your avian friends keep coming back. The goal is to provide them with an appealing oasis while beautifying your property at the same time. Add a wide variety of small trees and bushes to your yard. Many trees and shrubs that are native to your area offer birds excellent nesting and feeding opportunities.
Trees And Shrubs Of The Northeast
If you live in the Northeast United States, you should consider the Highbush Blueberry. This is a shrub that is known to attract up to 30 different species of birds, including the Brown Thrasher and Gray Catbird. It’s a good looking shrub that will bear berries when it matures. This versatile shrub also provides excellent nesting opportunities. The Eastern Red Cedar is a great choice if you have a lot of space. It can grow up to 65 feet and often houses birds such as the Ruffed Grouse and Yellow-bellied Sapsucker. The Eastern Red Cedar bears nuts and also attracts many species of birds.
Flora of the Southeast United States
If you live in the Southeast, you will be interested to know about Arrowwood Viburnum, a berry-bearing shrub. It’s a beautiful plant that provides nesting opportunities to the Eastern Bluebird and American Robin. The Southern Magnolia is another beautiful tree that can reach up to 90 feet in height. It produces fruit that matures in the fall. The Southern Magnolia attracts many species, such as the Red-bellied Woodpecker and the Northern Mockingbird.
Trees And Plants Of The Central Plains
If you live in the Central Plains and prairies, consider the Big Bluestem, a beautiful grass-like, seed-bearing plant this is home to over 24 species of birds, such as the Sedge Wren and Meadowlark. This super-plant provides excellent shelter and attracts a wide variety of song birds. Another option is the Gray Dogwood, a large shrub that reaches up to 9 feet. It provides berries for species Northern Cardinal and Eastern Bluebird.
Flora Of the Western Mountains
If you live in the western mountains or in the desert, the Mesquite is a shrub you should know about. It is multi-stemmed, and can grow up to 15 feet. A single stemmed tree that can grow a tall as 40 feet. It bears seeds, provides cover, and serves a nesting place to birds like the Gambel’s Quail and White-winged Dove. The Rocky Mountain Juniper can grow to 30 feet. Is is sometimes considered a shrub and other times a tree. It bears nuts provide food to the Northern Mockingbird and Evening Grosbeak.
Plants And Trees Of The Pacific Coast
If you live on the Pacific coast, the California Wax Myrtle is an excellent addition to your backyard birding habitat. It can reach 35 feet tall. It is a food source that bears fruit all year long, even in winter. This shrub attracts birds such as the Yellow-rumped Warbler and California Towhee and many others. You should also consider the California Wild Oak, a shrub-like tree that grows up to 85 feet. Make sure you have plenty of room for this tree. It bears nuts and fruit that is food for such birds as the Western Scrub Jay and Chestnutbacked Chickadee. You will also find it very easy to maintain.
Other Vegetation Options For Backyard Birding
You may also be able to add some fruit trees, depending on the area you live in. Both you and the birds will benefit from such vegetation. Consider lemon, apple, and cherry trees. These trees have sweet blossoms which then turn into fruit. Birds feed from the tree and you can pick some fresh apples whenever you like. This is a beautiful, practical and cost-effective option all around.
Flowers are another excellent option to attract birds and beautify your backyard. This is an excellent idea, especially if you would like to attract hummingbirds. Hummingbirds feast on the sweet nectar inside flowers. Plant a wide variety, like sunflowers, marigolds, and poppies. You can also add vine-like plants to attract even more birds. You will wind up with a garden that is breathtakingly beautiful. Always be sure to add plants that are native to your area and that will be of greatest benefit to the birds.
Backyard Birding And The National Wildlife Federation
After all this work, you may consider contacting the National Wildlife Federation. This excellent organization encourages homeowners to create natural habitats for wildlife. In this way, they help maintain the natural environments that are being destroyed when humans encroach on nature. See if your backyard birding habitat matches the National Wildlife Federation’s guidelines.
Your yard will now attract birds for many years to come. Imagine waking up to the sound of birds singing every morning. Watch the birds through your kitchen window while you eat breakfast or sip a cup of coffee. Enjoy all the excitement of birding while lounging in your pajamas. Isn’t life great?!