10 Tips on Attracting Birds to Your Backyard: The Benefits of Attracting Birds for Insect Control
Attracting birds to your yard has many benefits, both for you and your garden. A variety of different types of birds not only provides entertainment with their colorful splendor and antics, but wild birds help with insect control. During the spring and summer months, when pesky flies and disease-carrying mosquitoes are at their peak, wild birds are working hard to feed their young. If you employ nature’s helpers by attracting birds for insect control you will save considerable work and expense, while beautifying your backyard as well.
There are many ways to invite birds to your yard, starting with installing a bird bath, bird feeder, and a variety of bird houses. Many species are in peril due to loss of habitat, so providing bird houses, a bird bath, and bird feeder is just plain good stewardship for mother earth. Decorating with wild birds in mind can make your outdoor living much more pleasurable while in keeping with the overall balance of nature. If you are concerned with birds eating your garden edibles, there are many safe, preventative measures you can take, but most organic gardeners just plant a little extra for the birds and other wild critters. Keep in mind, the benefits of using birds to help with insect control by attracting birds to your backyard, outweighs losing some berries and greens to our winged-friends.
Look at these 10 Tips for Attracting Birds to Your Yard:
- Provide a variety of seed and suet feeders to attract different types of birds. Place your bird feeder in a sheltered area away from wild predators and outdoor pets. To prevent window strikes, place the feeder within 3 feet or less, or more than 30 feet away from windows.
- Provide a bird bath or pond for drinking and bathing. Consider a heated bath to keep water from freezing in higher elevations.
- Installing a variety of bird houses around your property will provide homes for roosting in winter and raise young in spring.
- If not a hazard, leave dead or dying trees nearby to give cavity-nesting species a place to roost and nest. Trim or cut shrubs and trees in the fall after nesting season is over.
- Make a pile of branches and clippings as a habitat for ground-loving species like juncos, towhees, quail and dove.
- Use organic gardening methods, rather than pesticides, to control weeds and pests. Even systemic pesticides accumulate in seeds and fruits that wild birds eat. Remember, the more insectivorous species you invite, will help with insect control.
- Planting coniferous evergreens not only enhances your yard, but provides natural cover when other trees have lost their leaves.
- Use native plants for landscaping as they produce fruit at just the right time for wild birds with which they have co-evolved. The plants you select should depend on the types of birds you wish to attract.
- Placement of bird houses and feeders is a key to keeping birds safe from predators. Be aware that attracting birds to a bird feeder, can become a death trap to wild birds if outdoor cats are roaming anywhere in the vicinity. Those that don’t become a meal will certainly be frightened away.
- Clean your bird bath and bird feeder regularly to prevent spread of disease and bird deaths. Use a 10% bleach solution to disinfect baths, feeders, and houses.
By following these 10 simple tips for attracting birds, you will soon be enjoying a wider variety of wild birds in your backyard. Get a good identification book, get out your binoculars, and enjoy nature at its best!
Linda Tuttle-Adams, author, is a biologist, naturalist, organic gardener, and member of several organizations that advocate preservation of land that supports wildlife protection and conservation.