Check out these tips for attracting more birds to your yard:
Plant native-to-the-area plants. (Including more trees!) While we have bird feeders in our yard, that’s a small part of our large strategy in having a wildlife-friendly property. We plant and will continue to incorporate native Florida plants into our landscaping — they are wonderful at attracting wildlife, including pollinators. And, ecologically speaking, the more you can encourage the birds to eat their usual diet from plants and such (verse feeders), the better! I’m going to do a deeper dive into why you should have a selection of native plants on your property for birds and other wildlife in the near future. For now, just know that healthy native plants will make the birds very happy.
Don’t remove the mature trees on your property. Wildlife depend on large trees for food and shelter. The birds LOVE the trees.
Leave the leaves! Leaves and leaf litter are so beneficial to soil and insects. Healthy soil and a healthy abundance of insects = more food for birds.
In the same vein, keep plants and soil healthy — so many birds will enjoy hunting in your landscape and dirt! Insects galore!
Always provide access to clean water in a bird bath or similar water feature. Even if you don’t have bird feeders or if the bird feeders are empty, the clean water will attract birds to your yard.
Set up a bird feeder or two. Keep the feeders clean and regularly stocked with food.
Install a birdhouse. Invest in one that doesn’t have any outside ridges/perches on it. The perches make it too easy for predators to steal eggs and chicks. We modified our Bluebird house because too many other birds were using the perch and sticking their heads in there.
Don’t allow pets, such as cats and dogs, to free roam — they will chase birds away. Cats in particular harass and kill an abundance of wildlife, including birds. According to the study, “The impact of free-ranging domestic cats on wildlife of the United States” by Scott R. Loss, Tom Will, and Peter P. Marra published in Nature in 2013, free-ranging domesticated cats kill 1.3-4.0 billion birds and 6.3-22.3 billion mammals ANNUALLY. While “un-owned” cats cause the greatest damage, owned cats also contribute to these results. I love cats, but they negatively impact wildlife when given unsupervised, free access to the outdoors.
Keep in mind that with every bird bath, house, and feeder on your property comes responsibility. All of these items need to be cleaned and maintained so diseases aren’t spread and pests don’t get out of control. Birdhouses can be cleaned out before nesting season or after the brood has fledged. I highly recommend reading in detail about how and when to clean a bird house based on what type of bird you are housing. I also suggest reading further about timelines for cleaning your feeders and bird baths. At our house, we end up cleaning them with some frequency because we have all kinds of wildlife that sneak around and use them, including deer and raccoons.
We’ve lived on our property for a year and a half and got started transforming the turf to gardens for wildlife immediately. So far, we have seen these birds on or from our back yard: Red-shouldered Hawks, Painted Buntings, Cedar Waxwings, Northern Cardinals, Carolina Chickadees, Tufted Titmice, Eastern Bluebirds, Blue Jays, Carolina Wrens, House Wrens, Ground Thrashers, Downy Woodpeckers, Pileated Woodpeckers, Red-bellied Woodpeckers, Palm Warblers, Pine Warblers, Prairie Warblers, Black and White Warblers, Great Egrets, Great Blue Herons, Wood Storks, Juvenile Little Blue Herons, Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, Eastern Phoebes, Blue-headed Vireos, Bobolinks, American Crows, Ground Doves, Chipping Sparrows, House Finches, Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, Sandhill Cranes, Swallow-tailed Kites , Black Vultures, Great Crested Flycatchers, Mockingbirds, etc.
To learn more about our backyard transformation and gardening for wildlife, check out my post: How Our Florida Garden Has Grown in the Last Year. What birds have you seen in or from your yard? Share by commenting below!
Have questions about attracting birds to your property? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m always happy to talk about wildlife!