My friends are always amazed at the quantity and kinds of wild birds at my feeders when they come to visit me. Some of them began asking me how I attract so many sorts of birds. After a bit of thinking my reply was, it is simple! All you need to do is offer wild birds what they need or want to survive. Basically birds need the exact things as we do-shelter, food and water.
Shelter is very important to wild birds and wild life just as it is important to us. Shelters offer protection from the elements and predators. It provides wild birds and wild life somewhere to roost, rest and sleep. Depending on the type of shelter that attracted the birds the shelter may also provide a food source. Conifers such as Blue Tooth or Scotch Pines make excellent shelters due to their dense branching habit. The dense branch in addition to the needles leaves wild birds protection and contributes to a higher nesting survival rate. These evergreens attract wild birds also for their food sources. Pine cones yield a lot of seeds which brings crossbills, pine siskins and pine grosbeaks. Eastern white pine tree seeds are devoured by black capped chickadees. Large mature trees such as oaks or maples attract wild birds for shelter also. Woodpeckers will search for a cavity in the tree trunk for security and to raise a family. Cardinals and a number of other song birds are drawn to overgrowth and shrubbery for their shelter needs. A bird house constructed to the specifics of the type of bird you wish to attract and put in the ideal spot will lure the birds.
Food is a necessity for many animals. The availability of food and the sort of food will determine the birds brought to the lawn. Wild bird seed blends containing striped and black sunflower seeds, safflower seeds, milo, millet and corn will attract the greatest range of birds. The sunflower seeds are consumed by cardinals, titmouse and nuthatches. Sparrows will consume the smaller millet seeds while pigeons and doves will feed on the Milo. The safflower seeds are beautiful morsels for the white breasted nuthatches and cardinals. Quail, pheasant and juncos are attracted to the cracked corn kernels. Another seed that attracts wild birds is the nyjer seed. This small black seed comes from India and is extremely similar to thistle seed. Birds in the finch family and doves love this seed.
Berries, nuts and fruit hanging on a tree or off of a feeder brings fruit eating birds. Tanagers and orioles will cease to eat grapes and oranges. Catbirds, warblers and waxwings will help themselves to berries, apples and pears. Fruit trees and bushes are irresistible and magnets for attracting wild birds and wild life. Good luck trying to find some for yourself. Acorns and peanuts attract woodpeckers, jays and juncos.
A rotten tree full of ants and worms brings flickers and downy woodpeckers. Bees, ants and wasps are brought up by flycatchers and phoebes. Grubs are tasty to robins and grackles which can help keep the lawn pests in check. Insect eating wild birds consume an enormous amount of bugs and are very beneficial to the environment
Suet is beef or fat lard that’s been rendered. It normally comes in cubes or squares and served in what’s referred to as suet cages. The fat provides a whole lot of dietary calories and nutrients to the birds. Many companies combine bird seed or incorporate fruit bits in with the fat providing the birds more nutritious product.
Nectar from plants and flowers such as honeysuckles, lobellia and fuchsia supply hummingbirds with high energy calories. The high sugar content of nectar helps preserve the metabolic needs of these birds. Orioles and woodpeckers will see nectar feeders for a dose of the sweet fluid. Nectar can be replicated by using 1 part sugar and 4 parts of water mixed together and put into a feeder.
Water is the third element for attracting wild birds. They’re so curious to find out what is making the sound and where it’s coming from that they will investigate. A water feature be it a pond or bird bath especially if it makes running water or draining noise will surely attract avian friends. The attraction for water changes with the seasons. All year long birds will need to have fresh water for drinking. Come the summer months birds tend to use the water for bathing. . This is significant because it helps rid the bird of lice and parasites. Additionally, it helps in maintaining excellent feather health. After bathing the birds will preen themselves spreading oils onto their feathers and re-aligning their feathers to the appropriate positions. The tub helps get rid of excess oils too. Migration in the fall brings birds into the bird bath for refreshment more so than for bathing. A bird bath in the winter with a de-icer or heating element in it is going to attract wild birds to get fresh water drinking. You will see a bird bathing, taking advantage of the water but the bath is really more for drinking purposes. Birds don’t like deep water. Thus, if the water is deeper than two inches add a stone or dish to the bird to stand on. Never forget to clean the bird baths to stop the spread of diseases and also to keep our feathered friends healthy. By providing shelter, food and water your lawn should attract wild birds and wildlife. Enjoy the birds that come to visit.