Skip to main content

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.

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


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

Recent Videos

Sometimes you have to fish a bait that allows you to cover a lot of water efficiently. When you're on the search for bass that have moved into deeper water off the bank and away from obvious holding spots, a swimbait can locate them.

On the Search with Swimbaits

One of the best imitations of a wounded baitfish is the soft-plastic jerkbait, or fluke. A fluke darting just beneath the surface can be too much for a bass to resist. Rig it and fish it according to water conditions and cover to make this great bait even more effective.

Fun with Flukes

There are three models in SPRO's Outsider crankbait series: 55 (runs 3-4 feet), 60 (7-9) and 80 (19-21). Professional bass angler Jonathan Kelley goes over the specifics at ICAST 2022 in Orlando.

SPRO's New Outsider Crankbait Series: First Look

Professional bass angler Jonathan Kelley highlights the features of SPRO's new lures at ICAST 2022 in Orlando.

New Essential Series Spinnerbaits and Buzzbaits from SPRO

Syd Ribes with Sea Falcon highlights four new lures for saltwater fishing. At ICAST 2022 in Orlando.

New Lineup of Lures from Sea Falcon

Syd Ribes highlights two new saltwater lures from SPRO: Flutter Tail Shrimp and Cannon Ball Jig. At ICAST 2022 in Orlando.

New Saltwater Lures from SPRO

AFTCO's Matt Florentino highlights the features of the new Barricade cold-weather suit, a Best of Category winner at ICAST 2022 in Orlando. With Game & Fish's Adam Heggenstaller.

New from AFTCO: Barricade Cold Weather Tactical Gear

Three-time ICAST Best of Category winner Bubba covers it all with new knives set. With Bubba's Matt Kinamore and Game & Fish's  Adam Heggenstaller at ICAST 2022 in Orlando.

4-in-1 Bubba Multi Flex Cutlery Kit

The innovative landing net will weigh and measure your catch while it's still in the net. Best of Category winner at ICAST 2022. With Game & Fish's Adam Heggenstaller.

Award-Winning Frabill Witness Net 'Keeps You Honest'

Game & Fish Magazine Covers Print and Tablet Versions

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!


Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services


Buy Digital Single Issues

Magazine App Logo

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Game & Fish App

Other Magazines

See All Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

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

Get the top Game & Fish stories delivered right to your inbox every week.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Game & Fish subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Enjoying What You're Reading?

Get a Full Year
of Guns & Ammo
& Digital Access.

Offer only for new subscribers.

Subscribe Now