For many homeowners, no yard can ever be complete without songbirds. The National Wildlife Federation, which can certify your yard as a “Wildlife Habitat,” requires five elements for certification: food, water, cover, places to raise young, and sustainable gardening practices.
The National Audubon Society makes these recommendations for increasing the number and diversity of birds that you attract to your backyard:
- Increase the kinds of foods that you offer and the times of year that you offer them. Although many backyard birds are insect eaters, you can supplement their diets with nuts, seeds, fruit, or nectar, depending on the species of birds you’d like to attract.
- Provide a clean, fresh source of water for drinking and bathing. Adding a drip or misting feature will increase the number of visitors, as will using water heaters in winter to keep the water ice free.
- Make sure birds have places to hide from predators. Native trees and shrubs of different densities and heights give them good places to retreat. Evergreens offer critical cover in the winter.
- Learn about the nesting requirements of the birds that may stay in your yard during the breeding season. Provide the native trees and shrubs they prefer or supplement with nest boxes.
For more information:
- National Audubon Society
- National Wildlife Federation
- USDA NRCS Backyard Conservation Tip Sheet: Wildlife Habitat