Birding from the Backyard!

3. field sparrow Andover-kab

The winter months are some of the best times of year to think about the birds. Not only do your neighborhood birds appreciate some extra help this time of year in the form of food, water and shelter, it’s the perfect time to learn about them and most of all, learn to appreciate them. Oh, and it gives you an excuse to get out in the garden, winter frost or no!

Chances are, if you love gardens, you love the wildlife that goes along with them. And for most of us, unless you live and garden in a cave, that means birds. There are a number of ways you can attract birds to the garden, help support them when they get there, and also programs to help you become involved in the long term health and conservation of the birding ecosystems in your area. In short, this post will help you all with Birding, from the Backyard!

Birds need three things to feel comfortable spending time in your garden…

Shelter – Birds need to feel safe from predators, whether they are staying just long enough to clear your feeders, or are settling in to raise some babies. You can provide them shelter by planting both evergreen and deciduous shrubs and trees for cover, and for providing bird houses or nesting boxes. For some easy DIY projects, here are every bird house tutorial you could ever need from Birds and Blooms to get you started. Love this Country Charm Birdhouse.

DIY bird house

 

Or this Western Boot Birdhouse.

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Water – Even in the winter, birds need access to water. Especially if you don’t live near a natural water source that doesn’t freeze hard, providing water is especially important. Small heaters in the bird bath is sometimes the best way to ensure a steady stream of fluffy friends. Doubly effective if you have the only non frozen water in the neighborhood! Need a bird bath? Read our post on DIY bird baths to get you started.

Food – Feeders… the main way most gardeners bring wildlife into the garden! And yep, we have some DIY bird feeder projects for you to check out next! Don’t you just have to try this porch swing bird feeder?

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Or this flower pot bird feeder?

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Finally, consider getting involved in the conservation of birds in your area. Consider joining a group like Ebird, where you an submit birding observations to a database that is used by a global community of conservationists.

The National Wildlife Federation has a program called Garden for Wildlife, where you can lean how to create a wildlife sanctuary in your own backyard, and even have it certified. Great project for kids. Find out more about Garden for Wildlife.

And of course, The Audubon Society has all the information you will ever need on birding and conservation, and can give you the contact information of your local chapter…an invaluable resource of helpful people who can answer many of your questions about birds in your local area.

So think about Birding form the Backyard… start now, and come spring you will have a loyal following of bird families making your garden home.

Image Credits: Birding is Fun, Birds and Blooms, Birds and Blooms




Comments

  1. I have several bird feeders and bird baths in my yard, including a spot in the spring summer that they take their dirt baths in. My problem is this — yesterday I saw a big rat (at least 6 inches long) in the feeder. Not the company I had hoped to attract. In the summer, I saw a ‘cute’ little field mouse and thought no more about it until I saw the rat. How can I continue to feed the birds and rid myself and my garden or the rats and mice that are following the food/seeds that the birds drop as they dine in my yard?

    • Kathy Woodard says:

      Wow. Not a pleasant thought! We don’t have a rat problem here, any readers have a tried and true solution?

  2. We had a small yard and a finch feeder that we really enjoyed however it also attracted skunks and mice. It’s free food. Rats, skunks, mice, alike! The exterminator just said stop feeding them and they go away. Unfortunately the only answer I’m aware of that works. Unless you want to plant trees or bushes that naturally feed the birds.

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