Attracting wild birds to your yard is not difficult if you provide certain necessities. Birds need a variety of feeders and bird seed and a source of fresh water. Suet or peanut butter will provide energy and warmth. Add a few bushes for cover, food supply, and safety from predators. Nail up a bird house or two, leave some unmown places, and enjoy your backyard sanctuary.
What about landscaping for birds?
Small bushes and undergrowth near feeders provide safe cover and attract insects for small birds. Hummingbirds are drawn to flowers with tubular blossoms like trumpet vine. An open meadow can attract such species as bluebirds and bobolinks. The fire-engine red berries on the pyracantha bush can attract Cedar Waxwings in early spring.
What about homes for birds?
Old and dead trees often attract birds as safe nesting places. You can also put up bird houses, but choose carefully. A chickadee will not nest in a house with an entrance hole designed for a robin. Protect the house against the weather and predators, and try to clean and repair all houses every year.
What's the best way to feed wild birds?
Small agile birds, such as chickadees and nuthatches, as well as the larger Black-headed Grosbeak, prefer hanging feeders. Add thistle feeders for finches, tray tables for cardinals, and hummingbird feeders for hummers. In winter provide suet cages.
What is the best food?
Offer a variety of food. Many small birds prefer millet and sunflower seed. Finches are drawn to thistle, and hummingbirds will need a special food and feeder. Throw out a bit of cracked corn for the sparrows. Provide suet for warmth in cold weather. Fruit is popular with some birds, especially orioles.
What about water?
Water can often attract as many birds as food. In winter, birds may have difficulty finding open water. You can purchase elaborate birdbaths and fountains, or a simple dripping hose will suffice.