Monday, September 16, 2013

I would like to attract more birds to my garden. What do you recommend?

Birds Choice SNFT 200 Fly-Through Feeder made from recycled poly

Q. I would like to attract more birds to my garden. Will bird feeders and a bird bath help? What to you recommend?

A. There are four basic elements of wildlife habitat: Food, water, shelter and cover. Bird feeders and bird baths only provide food and water. I recommend you offer as much diversity as possible to provide all the elements.

Species are attracted to different kinds of food. Consider offering nyjer seed, black oil sunflower, mixed seed blends, cracked corn, peanuts, suet, mealworms and nectar.

Water is necessary for bathing and drinking. A clean bird bath will provide both for most species, but hummingbirds like to fly through water spray. Attach a misting device near your bird bath, or attach it to a sturdy post or shrub near your hummingbird feeders.

Bird houses provide shelter, but mostly for nesting birds. Birds doen't usually set up permanent residence in them. Evergreen shrubs and trees are welcome additions to any wildlife habitat because they provide protection from the elements and roosting places during the night.

The need for cover is slightly different from the need for shelter for cover provides protection from predators. Evergreen shrubs and trees provide both, but smaller shrubs, grasses, perennials and vines give birds places to hide. I see birds outside my office window darting from shrubs and trees to the feeders and back again all day long. When visiting the feeders, the birds are more exposed. If I didn't provide safe places to hide, I'm sure I'd have fewer birds at my feeders.

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