Watching birds in my garden and photographing them are two things that I love to do. It’s so fun to watch them eat and explore the garden. If you want to attract birds to your small garden it’s really not a difficult thing to do; you just need to follow a few basic guidelines. If you follow these guidelines you will soon have a garden filled with birds. It’s so pleasing to know that you have created a welcoming environment for them to come to.
And by the way, many of these things will also help attract butterflies.
Birds have basic needs and if you fulfill them they will keep coming back.
1. Provide clean water
Birds need water to drink and to bathe in. There are many ways to provide water in order to attract birds to your garden: bird baths, fountains and ponds make great water sources. The simplest way to provide water of course is with a bird bath.
Birds need fresh clean water so change the water every other day, if not every day when using a bird bath. You should clean it at least once a week; a 50:50 mix of white vinegar and water will do. Just make sure to scrub it well to get the grime off.
If you have roaming cats in your area it may be best to provide a pedestal style bird bath; this will keep the birds safe, it’s easier for you to clean and easier to see the birds than on the ground. For your convenience it should be place near a hose (so you can refill and clean it easily) and near a window (so you can see the birds without having to go outside, which might scare them away).
2. Attract Birds with Food
It may be tempting to just fill up a bird feeder with seed and put it the garden. But before doing that, you should consider two things; what types of birds are found in your area and which do you want to attract. Once you know this you can easily determine what feeder and food to buy. The Madison Audubon Society provides a comprehensive list of which foods to provide for which types of birds. Birds love fruits and berries also so why not include some of these types of plants in your small garden.
It is very important to keep bird feeders clean and free of mold. When the feed gets wet it becomes a breeding ground for mold and bacteria, this is definitely not good for you or the birds. Bird feeders should also be cleaned with the same vinegar/water solution at least once a week. Before filling with food again, make sure to let it dry completely.
3. Provide shelter
Birds need to feel safe in their environment. By growing trees, vines and bushes you will be providing them a place where they can hide from predators; such as cats and hawks. This will also encourage them to breed; the vegetation will provide a safe place to build their nests. Another way to get them to breed is by providing a nesting box, in which they can safely raise their young.
By creating a safe environment for the birds, they will soon be coming regularly to your garden.
4. Chemical free environment
Birds eat bugs, if you use chemical pesticides to kill bugs and pests the birds may be affected also. In order to keep the visiting birds, your family and the environment healthy you should try to eliminate chemical use in your small garden.
When you start to attract birds in abundance, one concern is overcrowding. Having so many different birds sharing the same water and food sources may be unhealthy for the birds. According the Audubon Society “Bringing birds together like we do at feeders and bird baths is unnatural, and increases the chances for them to spread disease, or for waste to accumulate and breed diseases.”
In order to remedy this they recommend having several water sources and bird feeders spread out throughout your garden. This will lower the competition for food and water, thus lower the risk of spreading disease and stress for the birds. Cleaning the water sources, bird feeders and food debris on the ground regularly is also a must.
Learn how to attract hummingbirds to your small garden:
We have many different kinds of birds that visit our garden. But I love attracting wild parrots, they are a bit noisy but their beauty makes up for that.
What kinds of birds do you want to attract? Leave a comment below.
If you want to learn more about birds, check out these resources:
If you want to learn more about birds and making bird houses check these books out:
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