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How to Attract Birds to your Garden in 3 Simple Steps

Updated on October 15, 2010

There are many reasons that you might want to have a garden in your yard. Surely at least some of those reasons are related to the fact that you want to get closer to nature in whatever way is possible. Many people who have gardens want the pleasure of having animals near their homes to add to that feeling that you’re living in a more natural environment. One of the easiest types of animals to attract to your garden (and a type that is innocuous for the garden) is birds. Birds bring life, color and song to your garden and create a whole new type of beauty there for you to enjoy. But how do you create a garden that will attract the birds?

There are really only three things that you need to make sure to provide in your garden if you want to make it a place that will be attractive to birds: food, water and shelter. Let’s take a closer look at those three things:

Providing Food for Birds

The easiest way to entice birds to come spend time in your garden is to provide food for them to enjoy while they are there. Here are some of the ways that you can do that:

• Use plants that provide a natural food source for local birds . The ideal way to create a garden that attracts birds is to plant trees and shrubs that naturally produce the food that birds in your area will want to eat. Plants that offer seeds, berries are nuts are going to be attractive to birds. You should speak with someone at your local plant store to figure out which types of plants are right for the birds in your area. Try to choose several different types of plants to attract multiple types of birds throughout the year.

• Hang bird feeders up for the birds to feast upon . If you don’t want to choose plants that will provide food for your birds then you’re going to have to provide food for them yourself. The most common way that people do this is to hang up bird feeders filled with seeds or other bird food that can be bought at the store.

• Leave some leftovers for the birds . Whenever you’ve got old bread that is just getting stale, cut it up into pieces and throw it out on the garden for the birds to enjoy. You can also throw seeds and nuts into the garden area for the birds. This is a great way to avoid wasting food while bringing birds to your home!

Providing Water for Birds

Birds need more than just food from a garden. They also need water. That’s the reason so that so many gardens have bird baths in them. You want to choose a bird bath that is shallow so that birds of all sizes can feel comfortable landing there for a quick drink or a fast dip. You want to make sure that you refill the birdbath regularly so that the water there is clean and fresh for the birds.

If you can’t afford a bird bath or don’t want to put one in your garden then you can also offer water to the birds on the ground. A small hole dug into the side of your garden can be filled with water that birds may enjoy. You will want to refill this water from a hose or watering can so that it stays as fresh as possible even though it’s built into the dirt.

Providing Shelter for Birds

If you’ve provided food and water for the birds and they still aren’t spending a lot of time in your garden then the reason is probably that there isn’t enough shelter for them here. Birds want to be kept safe from the wind as well as from potential predators. If your garden doesn’t provide that sense of safety then the birds aren’t going to stay there for long. There are two main ways that you can provide shelter for the birds in your garden:

• Create a landscape that offers natural shelter . A garden that has a variety of different levels of plant life will provide natural cover while still being open enough in design for the birds to be able to get in and out easily. In other words, you want to have both tall and short trees, shrubs and other plant life. It shouldn’t be too crowded together but it should be dense enough to provide some shelter.

• Set up some birdhouses . If you can’t re-design your garden to provide shelter for birds then the next best thing to do is to set up some birdhouses in your garden. You will want to shop around to choose a good birdhouse that offers true shelter for the birds. The birdhouse may be combined with a bird feeder to kill two birds with one stone (so to speak!)

Final Thoughts on Attracting Birds to your Garden

If you have provided the above three things in your garden then you should start to see birds coming to stay there. One final thing that you may want to work to provide is a nesting area for your birds. If they have the material to create a nest (such as hair or twigs) then they’re going to be more likely to actually create a home on your property instead of simply stopping by for a meal!


Submit a Comment

  • dinolady22 profile image


    7 years ago

    I will put some of your tips to use, I want to take photographs of them and sometimes it's not easy to take a picture when they move around so much.

  • wannabwestern profile image

    Carolyn Augustine 

    9 years ago from Iowa

    We love birdwatching at our house too! We found the birds would stay and perch if they had a place that made them feel safe from the natural predators in the area (snakes, hawks, owls, and other birds of prey). One of the gifts of this experience for us was discovering clutches of quail's eggs in our garden pots and various locations around the yard. Many of these eggs hatched and in the springtime we watched the chicks grow from tiny babies in the pots and into grown birds. Thanks for igniting a pleasant memory.


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