Every year millions of people discover the pleasures of bringing wild birds into your yard. Birds are wild creatures that bring an element of nature up close and personal. They add color, liveliness and music to our yards during all seasons. They are beneficial too, eating huge quantities of insects and scattering seeds in different places. Birds are pretty easy to attract, and once they have a “home” will return to that area year after year. The three main parts to attracting birds are food, water and shelter.
Food is the biggest piece of the bird attraction puzzle. The easiest way to provide food is to purchase a bird feeder and wild bird seed mixture. This will attract many different species. If you prefer to try and attract certain kinds of birds, you need to research what type of seed and plants will attract the bird you are interested in. For example cardinals enjoy black striped sunflower seeds, finches prefer thistle seed and bluebirds love to feast on dried meal worms. You can even purchase specific types of mixes of seeds to attract songbirds. Vary the offerings and types of feeders as well as spacing the feeders at different heights and areas around your yard. Make sure to have some platform and low ground feeders for birds that eat from the ground like doves and pigeons.
If you want to experiment with homemade foods, here are some household foods and the birds that are attracted to them.
Bread Products: Wrens, mocking birds, thrashers, sparrows, warblers, tanagers, titmice, towhees, creepers, robins, blackbirds, kinglets, cardinals, grosbeaks, buntings, chickadees, bluebirds and thrushes.
Suet (rendered from beef fat): Woodpeckers, wrens, warblers, tanagers, nuthatch, creepers, chickadees, orioles, titmice, mockingbirds, cardinals, goldfinches, bluebirds, grosbeaks and buntings. (Do not use bacon grease. It is full of salt and nitrates that are harmful to birds.)Peanuts and peanut butter: Towhees, goldfinches, cardinals, chickadees, wrens, sparrows, titmice, grosbeaks, buntings and juncos.