For less than $100 and for just a few hours of your time, you can create a bird-friendly environment. Certainly, you can invest more money if you want to develop a larger or more complex bird habitat, but you don’t have to. Let’s take a look at some ideas on how to transform your yard into an aviarist delight.
Birding essentials — Before getting started, please know that birds want three things from you: food, water and cover. The latter may already be in abundance, particularly if your yard has a number and variety of trees, bushes and other greenery. Birds need a place to nest and places to hide out to avoid predators and escape bad weather.
Water — The easiest way to bring water to the birds is to set out a bird bath, keeping it cleaned and filled. You can choose a hanging bird bath, one that can dangle from a tree limb or post, or a pedestal bath and place the latter in the middle of a garden. You can also build a shallow pond for birds to use. Instructions can be found in the resource section under “Building a Small Pond.”
Food — Offer a variety of foods for birds and you’ll attract a variety of birds. Worried about squirrels? You can either provide a separate feeding stations for your furry tailed rodents and hope that they are attracted to that or you can put out safflower seed which is something squirrels do not like. Yes, safflower seed costs more, but you won’t have the pilfering of sunflower and other seeds that squirrels love, which drives up your bird food costs. Some mixes also include liquid habanero chili peppers, giving squirrels additional reasons to stay away without harming birds.
Cover — With an abundance of foliage on your property, you don’t have to do anything to offer protection for birds. However, if you want to attract certain types of birds or to observe the comings and goings of various bird types, then bird houses can be a nice addition to your yard. The dimensions of your bird houses will determine what type of birds you attract from purple martins to wood ducks, tree swallows, house wrens, bluebird, nuthatches and chickadees. Check our resources for more information.
You can enhance your birding paradise by including a bench or swing nearby, offering you an outdoor respite for humans and birds alike. Experiment with the bird-friendly yard you’re attempting to create and know that you can always make changes later, expanding that environment as your budget permits.
Additional “Bird Feeding” Information: