8 Proven Ways to Attract Birds to Your Bird Feeder
As you surely know by now, your outdoor space is more than just your own personal oasis. It's a gathering space for your neighborhood's favorite birds, too. But getting these feathered friends to actually flock to your garden (and then stay a while) is easier said than done. Still, with the right tips and tricks, you can turn your backyard into the most popular place to perch, snack, and chirp in town! So read on to uncover eight ways to attract birds to your yard today!
1. Try different types of traditional bird food
Bird seed is the most common bird food around, and it'll do a pretty good job of satisfying most birds you're attracting to your garden. But it's kind of like a plain cereal or piece of toast. Yep, it'll satisfy your hunger, but you probably won't move mountains to scarf it down. Well, same goes for birds.
To really attract birds to your yard, try leveling up your daily menu. A mix of foods--like black oil sunflower seeds, sugar water, suet, and fresh fruit like oranges--will help entice a variety of bird species, from blue jays to hummingbirds, to your garden.
2. Let them eat worms
Yep, worms. Provide birds with mealworms, and get ready to reap the rewards. Certain birds, especially bluebirds, love these high-protein insects, and by adding them to your bird feeders, you'll encourage birds to chow down right in your own backyard.
You can purchase mealworms at pet supply stores, or online. And yes, even though you can buy them in a bag or a canister, they're very much alive. (Delicious, right?)
3. Think beyond the feeder
Here at Happy Gardens, we're pretty big on bird feeders. After all, we sell just about a zillion of them. But the truth is that some birds are naturally ground feeders, and they're always going to look for their lunch straight from the dirt. To attract these ground-feeding birds, you can always sprinkle seed right onto the floor.
A word of caution: if you have young children or pets roaming your backyard, you might want to pass on keeping feed at ground level. Some seeds can be poisonous to animals, or could pose as a choking hazard for children.
4. Keep visiting bird species safe
Yes, birds will head to your garden for a nice breakfast, lunch, or dinner. But by inviting them to your outdoor space for a leisurely meal, you also take on the responsibility of keeping them safe. And the best way to ensure a safe feeding session for birds? Natural shelter from surrounding trees, native plants, or bushes!
Another important safety consideration is where you place a bird feeder. As a general rule of thumb, you need to create quite a bit of distance between bird feeder, a bird house, and a bird bath. How much, exactly? 6 or 7 feet minimum, but the more, the better.
5. Keep those bird feeders clean
Yes, offering a variety of delicious foods to birds is a major component of attracting them to your garden. But a clean, well-maintained bird feeder is just as important, too. Bird feeders should be cleaned regularly to keep squirrels and other pests, like ants, away.
Plus, cleaning feeders, especially hummingbird feeders, helps ensure a safe, nutritious, and far more attractive meal for local birds.
6. Try a little peanut butter
Turns out many birds, just like humans, love peanuts. And this is especially true for many species like woodpeckers, chickadees, and nuthatches. So, to attract more birds to your garden, you can add peanut pieces (or some all-natural peanut butter) to your bird feeder.
To do this, add the peanut pieces directly to the feeder, or make a DIY peanut butter bird feeder. You can do this by spreading peanut butter on a toilet paper roll, then roll the peanut butter in bird seed. This is also a great replacement for traditional suet, especially in the warmer months.
7. Choose the right bird feeders for attracting birds
There are tons of different styles of bird feeders out there, from platform feeders to nectar feeders. Depending on what variety of birds you'd like to attract (and enjoy watching), you'll want to select a new feeder accordingly. If you're in the market for a new bird feeder, feel free to browse our store's handcrafted selection of unique, top-quality bird feeders.
Here's a brief list of the different types of bird feeders available, and what kind of birds they tend to attract. For more details on the pros and cons of each of these feeders, check out our article, How to Choose the Best Bird Feeder Types for Your Yard or Garden.
Perfect for: House finches, jays, northern cardinals, pigeons, starlings, song sparrows, titmice
Platform ground feeders
Perfect for: Cardinals, doves, goldfinches, jays, juncos, house sparrows, towhees
House or hopper feeders
Perfect for: Buntings, chickadees, grackles, house finches, jays, northern cardinals, red-winged blackbirds, titmice
Perfect for: Finches, chickadees, some sparrows, titmice
Perfect for: Chickadees, goldfinches, house finches, pine siskins, redpolls
Nyjer or thistle feeders
Perfect for: Goldfinches, house finches, pine siskins, redpolls
Perfect for: Bluebirds, cardinals, jays, nuthatches, chickadees, starlings, titmice, warblers, woodpeckers, wrens
Perfect for: Catbids, grosbeaks, orioles, tanagers
Perfect for blue jays, nuthatches, woodpeckers
Perfect for bluebirds, thrushes, wrens
8. Have a plan for winter months
During the winter months, many birds may seek out a warmer climate. But for those who stay behind, you can still offer resources. There is no harm in offering food, water, and shelter to birds year-round, as long as you keep those amenities safe and sanitary.
Providing food sources and fresh water year round is a great start. If you live somewhere freezing, you can purchase an electric or solar-powered heater to keep your bird bath's water drinkable and ideal for bathing. This can even help as fall migrants make their way out of town.
About Happy Gardens
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