- Pets and Animals
How to Attract Songbirds
By the Yardful!
You can add a few high notes to your life by doing less than you probably do in some ways, and a little more in others. Attract beautiful songbirds and create an enviornment that will be even healthier for you and your family.
Creating and caring for a wildlife friendly yard is contagious! New wonders and new generations of songbirds and other critters will thrive and entertain, educate, and even help you regain your "footing." Now that's just a healthy balance!
All photos by me (Bev Lemley) ~ all rights reserved
Provide Dense Cover
Though a Cardinal is quite beautiful, its song is actually not the prettiest! But who can resist the beauty of a Cardinal in the snow or amongst the evergreens at Christmas time?
Providing shrubbery such as azaleas, boxwoods, forsythias, nandina, or other dense thickets is essential to songbirds such as cardinals for their nesting. Be sure not to prune in the summer, for if you uncover a nest, they will probably abandon it.
Provide a Feeder
A feeder full of fun food will find flocks of friendly friends! Sunflower hearts and peanuts are a great mix, saving their energy to open the sunflower seeds, and also, could be cheaper. Add some Goldfinch Feast by Purina, which has thistle and canary seed. This mix will take care of most songbirds' needs and provide endless entertainment!
This yellow rumped warbler (left) is greeted by a nuthatch, which is the only nonwoodpecker bird that can go down head first.
Love Birds? - Birds and Blooms Magazine does, too!
Birds and Blooms ~ Beautiful pictures, great reader and professional tips. I've suscribed for years and it's one magazine I keep the back issues of to go through and enjoy again. Different pictures, different tips, recipes for suet, etc., Love it!
Provide Fresh Water... - ...Every Day
This birdbath is simply a chip bowl. In winter, it's pliable, so you can easily pop out the ice and replace with fresh water. Water is a necessary substance, especially in winter. Sure, you get cold for a few minutes, but the reward is a lot of VERY happy birds, such as this titmouse!
Provide a Heated Water Source
Purchasing a bird bath heater element that will keep the water from freezing will serve you well. I put the heater with water in a shallow rubber boot mat that is the perfect size. I put a plastic container filled with water to hold the heater down, and also helps to serve as a source of water for the birds to drink. This heated oasis should be cleaned often with a soft bristle brush to keep from tearing the heater element, and the mat scrubbed down with a harder brush to keep algae from forming. So far this one has served me for three winters.
Got Ice?! - Not with this de-icer!
These are my personal favorites!
This one lasted me probably five years, well beyond what it should have!
This is my new favorite! It is thermostatically controlled and will save electricity by not coming on until it reaches freezing. It is good to 20 below! It looks like a rock ~ and it is a lifesaver! During our Polar Vortex, with our temps getting down to 9 degrees, I had steam coming off the birdbath, and the birds were not without water at any time during the crisis, and I did not have to venture out with water jugs! Plus, my concrete bird bath did not suffer!
Provide Peanuts - Foods such as peanuts and sunflower hearts...
...help to give the birds extra energy in winter and helps sustain them throughout the year. Add thistle if you have goldfinches that visit.
Some birds, such as this titmouse, carry their food away to a tree, seeking cover to eat.
Provide Treats - Mealworms! Just try them...
...if you want to see a show! Mealworms, to my recent surprise, are not as expensive as I thought. So why not! This was about my third day of putting a few out. As you can see, it didn't take long for the bluebirds and others to discover this delicious treat! The secret is to budget just how many you put out. Once they're gone, they're gone! I put out about 20 when I can put them out. The cost was about $8 per 500. Bigger sizes were about $14 per 1,000. I have a saver card, too, at Wildbirds Unlimited, which helps. Plus, the personnel are very knowledgeable and were very helpful to getting me started.
Stumped?! - Then you have a perfect bird feeder!
A tree stump is perfect and a natural feeding place for birds and other critters. This stump has some protective brush around it. The stumps in my yard are a very popular place for the birds to gather.
This is a white-throated sparrow (a good sparrow!)
Provide Suet - ...which will provide extra energy...
... and surely be a popular treat!
WHAT IS THIS BIRD?!
UPDATE: I believe this could be a LESSER GOLDFINCH ~ can anybody help me with this thought? THANKS!
I am not sure what this bird is! Possibly a warbler. If you know, please let me know! He only comes in the winter, but he is a favorite. Thanks!
Provide A Nesting Box - Aww...how cute!
Providing a nesting box particularly built for bluebirds or other type birds is a fun way to get the family in on the action.
Also, leaving scraps such as bits of yarn, groomed dog hair, even bits of dryer lint outside for nesting birds will be fun to watch, too.
If you have pine trees, Bluebirds will use the pine straw to build their nest.
Try Attracting Bluebirds
Even suburban yards can attract bluebirds! Other birds will sing for their supper, too!
Bluebirds look for blue sky and green grass from their front door. The good news is, other birds will make good use of it if the bluebirds are a bit hesitant.
Provide a Safe Haven... - ...from winter's cold and from preditors
Shrubs such as this butterfly bush, even though they may lose their leaves in the wintertime, will provide sufficient cover from hawks and other preditors to help protect little birds, such as the chick-a-dee. These little birds are fun to look for, with their quick antics!
If you have evergreens, like acuba (polka dot), you will be providing excellent shelter on the coldest nights. The Acuba's leaves are very broad and dense, provide great cover.
Refrain from Spraying for Bugs - Allow the birds to help keep down the insects...
...There are many insect eating birds that will look for beetle larvae and other insects in just about any nook and cranny. While many people feel the need to spray to keep down insects, nature provides the best link in the food chain, all on her own. I like it best when nature keeps things in balance. Many feel the need to kill off the very things that sustain vital links in our food chains.
As you can see, this natural hiding place for bugs looks to be a popular meal spot for many insect-eating birds. It was fun watching this downy woodpecker checking out what's on the menu.
A BONUS is that the birds search and hunt for ticks, as ticks hang out on the ends of leaves and such, the birds know this, and will eat them up. Another BONUS is the birds wiill, of course, eat mosquitoes, too. Not all birds are insect eating birds, but many are, so attracting them to your yard with water is an easy way to help keep your pest insects in check. Check!
For more on letting nature provide safe links that are vital to our future, check out my lens on this topic ~ Linking to the Future.
Allow Nature to Grow... - ...as it will
This junco is looking for tidbits amongst the wildflowers. As a bonus, these wildflowers provide nectar to the honey bees and butterflies. Since they are along the fence row, they add a bit of nature's natural beauty, which I prefer to spraying any kind of weed or insect killers, which would surely be where the birds and bees roam. No need to break the vital link to our future!
Provide Nature's Bounty - Berries are the Best!
Holly, dogwood, nandina, pyracanthia, even red tips, wild cherry, and any other berry-bearing plant, bush, or tree will become a vital source of food in the winter, especially, when bugs start getting a bit scarce.
These are nandina berries, not a favorite for the birds, though when there is little else available, they will eat them. I think this is nature's way of holding something back for the lean times. As you can see, these berries made it through until a snowstorm.
See the Beauty... - ...as it passes through
Even birds that are not always so popular, such as these grackles, can provide beauty. If they stop by, looking for a bit to keep them going, why not see the beauty?
Amazing Birds ~ - Keep us entertained...
...and bring beauty inside, as well!
What is your favorite color bird?
What is your favorite color of bird?
To Feed or Not to Feed?
There has been some debate about folks putting out food for the birds. I am sure you can give reasons and opinions for the side you lean towards ~ Let's hear it!
Do you think it's wise to feed the birds?
> Did you enjoy Nature's Art?
Do you have a bird story or a handy idea that you've found! Let us know!
Thank you for all the wonderful bird stories from around the world! It's a small, beautiful world, after all!
And thank you for the kind and encouraging comments ~ I am very honored and humbled! Thank you! ! B : )