How to attract birds to your backyard

Birds are one of the most fascinating creatures in the world, and attracting them to your backyard can provide endless hours of entertainment and enjoyment. North America is home to a wide variety of bird species, and with a little effort and planning, you can create a welcoming environment that will attract a diverse range of birds to your backyard. In this essay, we will explore some tips and techniques for attracting birds to your backyard.

1. Provide Food

The first and most important step in attracting birds to your backyard is to provide them with a reliable source of food. Different bird species have different dietary needs, so it’s important to offer a variety of foods to attract a range of birds. Some popular foods for backyard birds include:

  • Seeds: Sunflower seeds, safflower seeds, and nyjer seeds are all popular choices for backyard bird feeders. Make sure to choose high-quality seeds to attract the most birds.
  • Suet: Suet is a high-energy food made from animal fat and is particularly popular with woodpeckers, nuthatches, and other birds that cling to tree trunks.
  • Fruit: Many birds enjoy eating fruit, particularly in the summer months. Try putting out slices of apples, oranges, or grapes to attract birds like orioles and tanagers.
  • Nectar: Hummingbirds and orioles are particularly fond of nectar, which can be made easily at home by mixing four parts water with one part granulated sugar.

When setting up bird feeders, it’s important to choose a location that is safe and visible for both you and the birds. Hang feeders from tree branches or place them on poles in open areas where birds can easily see and access them. Make sure to keep feeders clean and free of mold or bacteria to avoid making birds sick.

2. Provide Water

In addition to food, birds also need access to clean water for drinking and bathing. Providing a bird bath or other source of water can attract a wide range of birds to your backyard. When choosing a bird bath, look for one with a shallow basin and a rough texture to provide birds with a secure footing. It’s also important to change the water frequently to prevent the growth of bacteria and mosquitoes.

3. Provide Shelter

Birds need a safe place to rest and roost, particularly during the colder months. Providing shelter in the form of birdhouses, nesting boxes, or natural vegetation can attract a variety of birds to your backyard. When choosing a birdhouse or nesting box, make sure to select one that is the appropriate size and shape for the bird species you are trying to attract. Different birds prefer different types of nesting materials, so do some research to determine what materials are best for the birds in your area.

4. Plant Native Vegetation

Planting native vegetation in your backyard can provide birds with a natural source of food and shelter. Different bird species prefer different types of vegetation, so research the native plants in your area and choose ones that are likely to attract the birds you want to see. For example, berry bushes like elderberry and blackberry are popular with many bird species, while coniferous trees like pine and spruce provide excellent nesting habitat for birds like chickadees and nuthatches.

5. Avoid Chemicals

Many common garden chemicals like pesticides and herbicides can be harmful to birds, so it’s important to avoid using these products in your backyard. Instead, try using natural methods like companion planting or hand weeding to control pests and weeds. If you do need to use chemicals, make sure to follow the instructions carefully and avoid spraying them near bird feeders or nesting boxes.

6. Be Patient

Attracting birds to your backyard takes time and patience. It may take several weeks or even months for birds to discover your backyard and begin to visit your bird feeders and nesting boxes. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t see immediate results. Keep providing food, water, and shelter, and eventually, you will begin to see more and more birds in your backyard.

7. Provide Different Levels

Different bird species have different preferences for the height of their food and water sources. For example, some birds like to feed at ground level, while others prefer to feed at higher elevations. Providing multiple bird feeders at different heights and locations can attract a wider variety of bird species to your backyard.

8. Keep Cats Indoors

Outdoor cats are a common predator of backyard birds, so it’s important to keep your cats indoors to protect the birds in your backyard. If you do let your cats outside, make sure to supervise them and keep them on a leash or in a cat enclosure.

9. Offer Variety

Just like people, birds enjoy variety in their diets. Offering a variety of foods and feeders can attract a wider range of bird species to your backyard. Try rotating different types of seeds and fruits in your feeders to keep the birds interested and coming back for more.

10. Provide Year-Round Care

Birds need food, water, and shelter year-round, so it’s important to provide care for them throughout all seasons. In the winter, provide high-energy foods like suet and sunflower seeds to help birds stay warm and nourished. In the summer, provide plenty of water for drinking and bathing, and make sure to keep birdhouses and nesting boxes clean and free of debris.


Attracting birds to your backyard in North America can provide endless enjoyment and fascination. By providing food, water, shelter, and native vegetation, you can create a welcoming environment that will attract a wide variety of bird species. It’s important to be patient and persistent, and to avoid using harmful chemicals or allowing outdoor cats to roam freely. With a little effort and care, you can transform your backyard into a haven for birds and a source of joy for yourself and your family.

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