How to Attract More Birds Around Your Home

Millions of Americans enjoy watching birds and if you're one of them, here's how to attract more beautiful feathered friends – maybe even something rare – to your back patio or deck.

Feeders
You’ll save money and attract more birds by providing bulk foods like black oil sunflower seeds without unwanted fillers. (Keith Sutton photo)

Men and women, young and old, city dwellers and country folks; everyone gets in on bird-watching fun.

Some enjoy sitting at a window watching songbirds at a feeder. Others build nest boxes so they can see the activities of bluebirds, wrens, martins and other species raising their young. Flower gardens draw hummingbirds for children to enjoy with their parents, and features like bird baths and fountains attract feathered friends looking to quench their thirst or bathe.

How to Attract More Birds Around Your Home
Some birds, like the handsome little fox sparrow, prefer to eat seed that has been scattered on the ground rather than placed in above-ground feeders. (Keith Sutton photo)

You can watch birds year-round, wherever you might be. To get the most enjoyment from this endeavor, however, you should spend time creating a haven with all the necessities—food, nesting places, water and cover—birds need to thrive throughout the seasons. Fortunately, doing so is probably easier and less expensive than you think. And there’s no need to rush your project. You can start out small and add more features as time and your pocketbook permit. Anyone can do it.

Video courtesy of Exmark’s Backyard Life




1 of 5

Feeders

Feeders
It’s best to add variety to your feeder arrangement by including different types of feeders such as this nectar feeder for hummingbirds. (Keith Sutton photo)

The best foods for wild birds are the kinds that grow on natural vegetation in your backyard bird habitat, such as fruit, seeds, nuts and insects. But most people who work to attract birds to their backyards do so with bird feeders. A properly placed feeder filled with the right seeds or other foods will coax birds to come out and eat near windows, decks or patios where they can truly be seen and enjoyed.

When filling your feeders with seeds, be sure you don’t use bargain-basement bird seed that contains inexpensive fillers such as cracked corn, milo, oats or wheat, which appeal to very few birds. Take milo, for example. Also known as grain sorghum, it’s typically used for livestock feed and ethanol production, but it’s also a common filler in many wild-bird seed mixtures. Problem is, most birds you’re likely to see in your backyard are unlikely to eat it, and if you feed mixes containing milo, you’ve wasted money.

It’s better to buy more desirable types of bird seed in bulk so you’re feeding only what you know birds will eat. These include black oil sunflower seeds, nyger or thistle seed, peanuts, safflower and white proso millet.

How to Attract More Birds Around Your Home
Woodpeckers, like this downy woodpecker, are easily attracted to your backyard by providing a meal of suet. (Keith Sutton photo)

Keep a supply of your personal blend on hand for conveniently refilling bird feeders. By offering the best bird foods, you’ll find a greater variety of birds visiting your feeders even on the coldest days.

Just as birds have different diet preferences, different species prefer different feeder styles. By including several types of feeders in your home viewing area, and placing them at varied heights and locations, you help maximize the variety of bird species you’ll see.

Covered tray feeders, hopper feeders and tube feeders attract the widest variety of seed-eating feeder birds. But you also should consider adding one or more mesh socks or specialty thistle (nyger) feeders for finches and siskins; suet feeders for woodpeckers, nuthatches, chickadees, wrens, warblers and jays; mealworm dishes for bluebirds, grosbeaks, mockingbirds and other insect eaters; nectar feeders for hummingbirds (in summer); jelly/fruit feeders for orioles; and low, open platform feeders for attracting ground feeders such as song, fox and white-throated sparrows, towhees, cardinals, doves and juncos.

How to Attract More Birds Around Your Home
House finches are among the many birds one might see at a backyard feeder. (Keith Sutton photo)

Ideally, you should have feeders placed in all the different feeding niches—some at ground level, some at eye level, some hanging from tree branches and some on tree trunks. Feeders in each niche will attract different kinds of birds.

Of course, you’ll want to have a clear, unobstructed view of your feeders from inside your house, so keep that in mind, too. Set up your feeders where you can enjoy watching them from a cozy, comfortable spot near a window or patio door.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Costa and Captains for Clean Water

Costa and Captains for Clean Water

With the company's heavy involvement in initiatives like Kick the Plastic and Captains for Clean Water campaigns, Costa's Amanda Sabin tells OSG's Lynn Burkhead all about the sunglass maker's unwavering commitment to help the freshwater and saltwater environment.

BPT Points Champ Edwin Evers Talks New Berkley Baits

BPT Points Champ Edwin Evers Talks New Berkley Baits

After making the switch to Berkley products heading into the inaugural BPT season, Edwin Evers tells OSG's Lynn Burkhead why Berkley baits played such a key role in his recent angling success.

New Optimum and Optimum TS Downriggers from Canon

New Optimum and Optimum TS Downriggers from Canon

From rugged reliability to smooth integration of cutting edge technology across several different platforms, OSG's Lynn Burkhead learns that there's much to like about the new Optimum and Optimum TS downriggers from Canon.

Berkley

Berkley's Surge Shad

Major League Fishing pro Scott Suggs has relied on the Berkley Surge Shad lure concept for years, using similar designs to capture MLF titles and a $1 million dollar FLW Forrest Cup win. With new features in the Surge Shad, Suggs tells OSG's Lynn Burkhead that even he can find success out on the water!

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

The best jig fisherman are those that are always aware of what their jig is doing. Bass

4 Tips When Jig Fishing For Bass

Chris Schneider - August 25, 2015

The best jig fisherman are those that are always aware of what their jig is doing.

If you haven't looked at the smaller urban lakes in your area, you are missing out on some great bass pond fishing. Bass

Bass Pond Fishing: Catch Lunkers at Small Lakes Near You

Dan Anderson

If you haven't looked at the smaller urban lakes in your area, you are missing out on some...

From Monksville Reservoir to Union Lake, plus five other picks, here's where you'll find the Garden State's hottest bass fishing. Destinations

7 Best Bets for New Jersey Bass

J.B. Kasper - October 04, 2010

From Monksville Reservoir to Union Lake, plus five other picks, here's where you'll find the...

Want to test the outer limits of your shooting skill? There's more to successful long-range Ammo

10 Best Long-Range Cartridges Ever Made

David Hart - January 14, 2015

Want to test the outer limits of your shooting skill? There's more to successful long-range

See More Trending Articles

More The Deck

Millions of Americans enjoy watching birds and if you're one of them, here's how to attract more beautiful feathered friends – maybe even something rare – to your back patio or deck. The Deck

How to Attract More Birds Around Your Home

Keith Sutton

Millions of Americans enjoy watching birds and if you're one of them, here's how to attract...

These insect repellents — from sprays to electronics — will help you avoid hungry bugs. The Deck

Keep Bugs From Ruining the Party

Scott Bernarde

These insect repellents — from sprays to electronics — will help you avoid hungry bugs.

Hosting an outdoor party on your deck? Here are some tips to help you decide what size cooler you'll need for the occasion, along with suggestions on ice maintenance and the best coolers for the job. The Deck

5 Best Coolers for Your Backyard Deck

Jessyca Sortillon

Hosting an outdoor party on your deck? Here are some tips to help you decide what size cooler...

Everything you need to know about selecting and installing an outdoor TV and why you should never use a regular television outside. The Deck

How to Choose and Install an Outdoor TV

Steve Kindig

Everything you need to know about selecting and installing an outdoor TV and why you should...

See More The Deck

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.