Summer is the easiest season of all to attract birds, but it is essential to meet birds' needs for food, water, shelter and nesting sites even in such an abundant season. By knowing what birds need throughout the summer, backyard birders can attract even more species to their yards all summer long.
How to Attract Birds in Summer
Whether summer is just beginning or has already heated up, any backyard birder can be successful attracting birds in summer if they meet birds' critical needs for survival.
During summer, wild birds have many natural food sources to take advantage of, and providing landscaping that can feed birds with fruits, berries and insects is a great way to make those natural food sources work for attracting birds, and will be even better if toxic pesticides are minimized. Summer birds will still readily visit reliable, nutritious food sources at backyard feeders as well, particularly when parent birds are stretched to fill their hungry hatchlings' bills. Black oil sunflower seed, nuts, mixed birdseed, no-melt suet varieties, nectar, jelly and mealworms are some of the best food choices to offer summer birds during the hottest months.
A fresh, clean water source is essential for healthy summer birds, and as summer temperatures rise, smaller natural water sources – puddles and creeks – can easily dry up. Adding a bird bath, fountain or pond to backyard landscaping can be a summer bird magnet, and moving water with drippers or wigglers will help keep the water cleaner and small splashes will announce the water to birds' keen hearing. Multiple water sources can make a backyard even more attractive to birds, and clean baths will help keep summer birds refreshed and healthy. Bird baths come in many styles, sizes and designs, giving them plenty of variety to enhance any backyard.
Birds need protection from harsh weather and predators in every season, and summer is no exception. Both coniferous and deciduous trees and shrubs are useful for sheltering birds, and planning bird-friendly landscaping with thicket areas to provide deep shade will also help shelter birds and keep them cool. In a yard that does not have mature landscaping, a brush pile can be a great addition, and thorny plants provide additional protection for birds. Garden sheds can also be left open for birds to shelter inside if necessary.
Summer is nesting season, and birds compete heavily for prime nesting sites. Offering good nesting areas in your backyard will attract bird families, and one of the best ways to do so is with appropriate bird houses. The houses should not only be safe, but should also have the proper dimensions, including entrance hole sizes, to help protect nesting birds from unwelcome visitors. Not all birds are cavity-nesters, however, and providing bird-friendly landscaping safe from predators will also create good nesting sites for other backyard birds. Adding nesting material to the backyard, such as with a suet cage nester, will also encourage birds to nest nearby by making it easier for them to construct their nests.
Keeping Summer Birds Safe
Summer may be a great season for birds, but there are many threats summer birds face. There are ways that backyard birders can help protect their summer birds, however, including…
- Using window clings or other deterrents to prevent bird window collisions.
- Cleaning bird baths and feeders regularly to prevent the spread of avian diseases.
- Keeping cats indoors and taking steps to discourage feral cats that will prey on birds.
- Minimizing pesticide and insecticide use that could be toxic to backyard birds.
- Know how to help baby birds and what to feed baby birds if necessary.
- Regularly inspecting feeders and bird houses so they are in good repair and safe for birds to use.
Quick Tips to Attract Summer Birds
If you have a bird-friendly backyard but can't seem to encourage summer visitors, there are other techniques that can invite even more birds to your property.
- Choose flowers and plants in colors that will attract birds, and opt for varieties that bloom multiple times so they will continue to be attractive to birds all summer long.
- Provide a wide variety of food for birds in different feeder styles that can accommodate all birds' different feeding preferences.
- Use moving water in a sunny location to attract birds both with sounds and reflections.
Summer is a fantastic season to attract birds to your backyard, and if you take steps to meet birds' needs for food, water, shelter and nesting sites, you will be pleasantly surprised at how many different birds take you up on your avian hospitality.
Photo – Rose-Breasted Grosbeak © Putneypics