How to Attract Birds To Your Yard

Bring the birds to your abode!

If you feed birds in a protected area, and offer fresh water and a safe place to nest, birds will linger in your yard all year round.

  • Don’t feed bread crumbs. They are low in fat and are actually harmful for birds in winter, when they should consume high-energy foods, such as suet, fruits, nuts, and oily seeds. You might even see some of these beautiful birds. 
  • Start feeding in the fall. Most overwintering birds establish their food supply in the fall. So keep the feeder filled, even while on vacation.
    Birds beautify your property and keep it teeming with life.
    Birds beautify your property and keep it teeming with life.
  • Experiment with birdseed, such
    as hulled sunflower seeds, thistle, safflower seed, black oil sunflower seed, and white millet, to see what birds you attract. Keep a platform feeder (a wood tray on a post) well supplied.
  • Make water available. A birdbath is a sure way to attract birds. Make yours more appealing by setting a few stones in the water so they protrude half an inch or so. If winters are very cold in your area, you can buy a birdbath heater to keep the water from freezing and to provide a constant water source.
  • Put up birdhouses. Buy a birdhouse specifically designed for the birds you want to attract (a store-bought birdhouse should include this information). Then place at the correct height: 6 to 15 feet for chickadees, for example, or 20 feet or more for woodpeckers. Clean out the birdhouse in late winter each year to attract more birds.
  • Add landscape plants that attract birds. Birds like a variety of plants, but berry-producing species are especially appealing. So are seed-producing plants, such as sunflower and purple coneflower, as long as you permit the fading flowers to go to seed.

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Originally Published in Reader's Digest