Backyard birding is easy to get started, but it can turn into an exciting and enjoyable hobby. It’s fun for the whole family, everyone can participate.
You can create a game for children while watching birds while educating them on the best qualities of bird watching. Create coloring books for your little ones to color different birds to help them identify the different species of birds they visit.
The activities you can do are endless. Many craft and hobby supply houses cater to the backyard bird watcher.
As we begin, let’s explain the term “backyard birding.” People may assume that to become a backyard birder you need a backyard. Could not be farther from the truth. Backyard birding starts with the basics; add a bird feeder, keep a journal, and contribute to the ecosystem by providing a sanctuary for the birds.
It doesn’t matter if you live in a honeycomb apartment or sprawling ranch, you can be a backyard birder.
If you enjoy the natural habitat of your community, you can turn your visits into a backyard birding experience by keeping a journal and/or taking pictures of the birds you see. While this post is intended for those who can maintain a backyard for birding, we offer many helpful hints and tips to guide you through the experience of becoming a backyard birder wherever you live.
Benefits of Backyard Birding
Backyard birding is important for a variety of reasons. Conserving and understanding the ecosystem in our own backyard and the world as a whole imparts a greater awareness of our natural environment.
A primary consideration of backyard birding is the conservation of the ecosystem in your backyard. Backyard birding provides many hours of enjoyment and beautifies your backyard and home.
Until you dive into backyard birding, you may not realize its added benefits.
- Introducing plants and wildlife not only enhances the appearance of your backyard but also invites wild birds to your doorstep. You will learn, study, and enjoy their presence. Real estate development deprives birds and humans of their natural environment, so backyard birding helps maintain and restore balance to the ecosystem.
- Birds help control insect populations as well as keep rodents from destroying your backyard and lawn at bay. Without the birds, mosquitoes and other pests would run rampant, leaving your backyard and other natural areas in ruins. Imagine venturing outside and the first thing that greets you are swarms of pesky insects. Establishing your birding area in the backyard will help eliminate these scourges. A backyard birder enjoys fewer pests and lots of visiting birds.
- As you go about your hobby of backyard birding, you will start adding flowers and trees. By doing this, you increase the natural footprint and give back to nature. Plants and trees not only provide food and shelter for birds, but they also increase oxygen levels in the air. They also reduce the pollen content in the air and restore the natural balance of your backyard.
These aren’t the only reasons to start your backyard birding adventure. Many bird societies rely on the backyard birder to record notes on local species. This helps bird societies determine if a bird species is threatened or at risk. This information also provides information on the fitness of the birds, their migration patterns, and feeding habits. The backyard bird sanctuary is just that – a sanctuary. Did you know any rarely seen species are found in backyards?
Backyard birding is not limited to people who own patios and can grow a variety of plants. Anyone can be a backyard birder. People who live in apartments can add bird feeders or potted plants and small trees to their outdoor terrace to help attract birds.
Small houses with limited yard space can do the same. A few simple feeders and a birdbath are sure to attract traveling birds and provide them with an oasis in the midst of sprawling urban development.
How To Attract Wild Birds To Your Backyard
Are you curious to know what types of birds you can see in your backyard?
If you’re like most, you will notice Mourning dove, Downy woodpecker, American robin, American crow, European starlings, House sparrow, House finches, American goldfinches, Bluejay, and the occasional Cardinal in your backyard.
Once you start the hobby of backyard birding, you will be amazed at how many more species you will notice and attract.
Keeping a journal will help identify the different species of birds that visit your backyard, feeders, and water sources. A hummingbird can visit them and chickadees love the seed and plants that they give them.
The main species that you attract to your backyard depending on the plants you have, the types of seeds available, and the water. Provide these basic requirements for birds and you will be amazed at the many different types you will see.
There are species of birds that you may not have noticed; Many birds passed through your backyard before because some basic items were missing. If you follow this guide, you will soon discover a whole new world waiting for you to discover.
There are 4 basic requirements for attracting more wild birds to your backyard. They are,
- Areas of nesting
By providing these necessities in your backyard, you will support many more species that will become regular visitors.
Food is the main attraction that attracts a variety of wild birds to your backyard. There are many different ways to present a nice offering to your feathered visitors. Bird feeders, native flora, and garden plants serve as attractions.
Bird feeders are a great, inexpensive way to start. There are many different types on the market, but because different birds have different needs, some feeders may not attract the ones you want.
Here are some basic types of feeders:
- The platform feeder, ideal for Novice Backyard Birders
- The Tube Feeder
- The Hopper Feeder
Clean, freshwater is also very important. Plants provide security, nests, and perches for singing. You can provide water in a variety of ways through the use of birdbaths, watering trays, ponds, and misters.
You will find different types of birdseed commercially available to use in your home. Fruits in the form of raisins and diced apples and oranges are popular choices. Seed plants can be planted and harvested for storage. Commercially prepared products offer a wide variety to choose from.
You can prepare a hummingbird and oriole nectar in your kitchen with a simple mixture of sugar and water. Make sure the feeder you use has many bright colors to attract the birds you want.
The types of species you attract will depend not only on the food provided but also on your geographic location. If you live in the northeast, don’t expect to attract eagles if you live on the seashore or plovers if you live in a city or where water is not available.
Don’t be discouraged during the first year. Birds often need a second season to acclimate to the habitat you provide. If you start in late winter by preparing your backyard before the birding season begins, you will have a much better chance of success than if you started later in the spring.
Bird feeders range from a simple platform feeder to something more elaborate. Some feeders are designed to look like an exact duplicate of the owner’s house. Use your imagination and budget when choosing a bird feeder.
When purchasing a bird feeder, be sure to remember these simple points:
- It should be easy to clean.
- The interior must be easily accessible
- Easy to fill
- Visually attractive
Birds are not particular in the appearance of a bird feeder, what matters is the food and the cleanliness in and around the feeder.
The feeder you select will depend on your budget, the size of the patio, and where it will be placed. Try not to buy a feeder that will overwhelm your backyard or is difficult to fill and clean. Start with one that helps you enjoy visiting birds and one that is not a difficult task to maintain.
Remember, you must enjoy what you offer or you could lose interest quickly.
Ther are 3 most popular types of bird feeders,
- The platform feeder
- Hopper feeder
- Tube-style feeder
The Platform Feeder
The platform feeder is the simplest feeder to keep and maintain in your backyard. Filling it with seeds or fruit for a variety of different birds is effortless. The platform feeder is an open tray feeder available in a variety of sizes. It is also very easy to build.
Consider proper drainage when buying or building a deck feeder; There should be a screen at the bottom that can be removed for easy cleaning and maintenance.
There should also be a raised edge for a perch and to prevent the seed from spilling. It should be large enough to accommodate a few birds at a time. The feeder shown above is a hanging style. However, other options include a freestanding feeder supported by a pole or feeders that can be attached to your porch railing or tree.
You can use just about anything for a platform feeder, from old birdbaths to used wooden chair seats.
Your imagination is your only limit.
Hopper bird feeders are similar to platform feeders except they have a central hopper that holds the birdseed and dispenses it when the tray is emptied.
The hopper bird feeder is ideal for storing large amounts of food and any uneaten feed is kept safe from bad weather due to its closed design.
When purchasing a hopper-style bird feeder, look for these features that will make owning one easier and more enjoyable:
- Choose a large hopper with a clear material that allows birds to see your food and allows easy inspection so you know when to refill it
- You want one that is easy to fill, has multiple perches and feeding stations for your visitors
- One that contains various sizes of seeds.
Hopper style bird feeders come in different sizes and shapes to complement your backyard décor. Make sure you find one that you enjoy looking at, as well as one that the birds find easy to use.
You can use one or more styles, depending on the size and accessibility of your backyard.
Another type of bird feeder that is easy to use and enjoyable for beginners is the tube-style bird feeder.
The tube style bird feeder is ideal for small birds such as finches and small songbirds. Similar to the hopper style, these feeders are great for attracting the smallest of our feathered friends, although you will occasionally find larger birds feeding on them.
Cleanliness is a very important point to remember about your bird feeders. Keeping the area free of spilled food not only keeps the area clean but also prevents the spread of disease. Washing bird feeders regularly will help keep them clean and prevent a build-up of bacteria or mold, which can transmit the disease to both birds and humans.
If you notice a feeder where no food has been eaten, then the feeder may be dirty or contain spoiled food.
It is better to properly dispose of uneaten food and wash the feeder well. You can then fill it with the right food for your backyard birds.
Feeding Your Backyard Birds
Birds depend on a variety of different foods to survive. You have taken the first step in providing bird feeders. Now you need to know what to put in them and other foods that you can plant in your backyard for your enjoyment.
While everyone knows that birdseed attracts birds, there are specific types of seeds that different birds prefer. For the beginner, the commercially mixed type is the best option until you establish a flock that visits frequently. This type of seed is usually mixed with seeds of millet, milo, cracked corn, sunflower, and nyjer, along with other varieties that attract birds to your feeder and yard.
If you want to attract larger birds, cracked corn works best, as this is their typical food found in the wild.
A songbird favorite is shelled sunflower seeds. These seeds contain essential nutrients and high oil content to help your visitors maintain a healthy appearance.
As mentioned above, the commercial canary seed contains mil; Although this is a cheaper type of feed, most backyard birds do not like it. Pigeons, pheasants, and quails all enjoy this seed, so if these are the birds you want to bring into your backyard, milo will attract them.
You can also see these birds under the feeders collecting seeds that the birds throw into the feeders.
Millet, another seed found both in nature and in commercial seeds, is a favorite of small birds. Because this is a grass seed, it is a perfect addition to a dedicated bird in your backyard.
Seeds are not the only food source that birds enjoy. Birds are efficient insect predators, finding them anywhere from the ground to the air. They will help rid your backyard of aphids, caterpillars, and many other pests.
A natural way to attract birds is to transform your backyard into a paradise for birds. This does not mean that you should attract as many insects as possible; birds visiting your yard will encounter a large number of insects without your help. Certain species are attracted to specific insects, while others find no use for them.
There are other bird foods in addition to those found in store-bought bags. You can grow lots of natural products in your backyard that will attract birds. Native trees and shrubs produce berries, fruits, flowers, and seeds that attract wild birds.
Crape apple and crepe myrtle trees are favorites, especially during the colder months when food starts to run low. It is best to plant shrubs and trees that are indigenous to your climate and region. Wild birds are used to these native food sources and have been for hundreds of years.
When buying birdseed, consider the type of feeder you have. Some seeds will not work in certain feeders due to the size of the eating holes. Sunflower seeds will block holes in many finch and chickadee feeders and are best suited for platform and hopper feeders.
On the other hand, finch food is likely to be poured down the bottom of a platform feeder. As an added safety measure, uneaten bird seeds and seeds that have fallen to the ground should be cleaned regularly to prevent the growth and spread of avian diseases and bacteria, as well as to deter the presence of rodents or other unwanted pests.
Water For Backyard Birds
You have provided food for your backyard birds, but another essential item for your feathered friends is fresh and clean water.
Water is essential – it provides not only a fresh supply to drink but also an oasis for birds to groom, bathe and cool off, especially on hot summer days.
Hummingbirds have been known to fly back and forth in misters until they drip off before going to preen. You will find a variety of ways to provide water for the birds that frequent your backyard.
Use one or choose many different methods; some will certainly amuse you and entertain your bird friends.
When supplying a bird watering source, be sure to locate it where it can provide a constant source of fresh water. Freshwater is clean, not stagnant or stagnant, and reduces disease-carrying insects such as mosquitoes.
A fresh water supply is important to the backyard birder because it provides shelter and a water supply, especially during hot, dry summers.
Freshwater also allows birds to bathe and groom themselves, removing unwanted parasites from their feathers.
A large birdbath will quickly fill with birds during the summer months when natural water supplies are depleted or undrinkable, so keep it constantly filled with clean water. A refreshing mist will become a playground for birds visiting your backyard as they dart in and under the refreshing spray.
When looking to add a water source, you can choose the tried and true birdbaths. Or you can add a pond to your backyard or even a water pump.
When supplying water to your backyard birds, keep in mind that the movement of the water not only attracts more different species of birds than a bird feeder, it also prevents the water from stagnating.
If you are a beginner, it is recommended that you start with the birdbath available at many garden and landscaping stores until you become better acquainted with backyard birding.
Ponds and waterfalls are not only great for bird habitat, but they are also relaxing and attractive additions to your backyard. When designing your pond and waterfall, be sure to add items such as ground cover and similar native plants to the area surrounding the pond. Moss is a perfect ground cover, providing a lush green carpet and a place where land birds will find food sources.
A simple and easy way to provide moving water to your bird garden is the birdbath. The birdbath comes in many different shapes and sizes that will complement your lifestyle.
When looking for a birdbath, try to find one that includes a water pump. You will not only have a birdbath, but also a working fountain to enhance your backyard.
Another water feature that is easy to install and use alone or with birdbaths is the mister. The mister provides a refreshing and cleansing spray of fine droplets of water that many birds, especially hummingbirds, find enjoyable.
You must place the mister where the birds will find many available perches, allowing them to rest and play. Hummingbirds love vaporizers and will spend a lot of time hovering in them.
Providing water to your backyard birds is more than an attraction for birds, it is an environmental enhancement for your backyard.
Water is necessary to attract pest hunters from the wild. Birds of different species hunt not only insects but also rodents and snakes that inhabit your backyard. Some are not noticed by human eyes but are easily seen by the keen eyesight of birds.