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Get Started Attracting Birds

Easy Steps to Attract Backyard Birds


American Goldfinch

If you take steps to attract birds, you might see beautiful species like the American goldfinch.

Craig Nagy

Attracting birds to your backyard can be easy or complex, but these five steps can help you get started attracting birds in simple and foolproof ways. In no time you're sure to see new species, and you can start to enjoy the beauty, pest control and other benefits of attracting birds.

5 Steps to Attract Backyard Birds

1. Learn Your Local and Regional Birds

The first step to attracting backyard birds is to learn what birds it is even possible to find locally and with the habitat you have to offer. Browse through a field guide and study bird range maps to discover your most likely backyard birds, and you can begin to fine tune your backyard to cater to their needs. You can also contact neighbors who have backyard birds to learn about their most frequent guests, or contact a local birding group for a checklist of the most common backyard birds.

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2. Start Feeding Birds

Offering different foods is the single best way to attract birds, and it's easy to get started feeding birds. A simple bird feeder or two, a good quality birdseed mix and a specialty feeder for suet, nectar, fruit or nuts will be a basic setup that can attract many different types of birds. Keep the feeders filled with fresh food and clean them regularly to make them most appealing to birds, and opt for different feeder styles to accommodate different birds' feeding preferences. Soon enough you'll have a flock hungry for more.

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3. Add Water to Your Yard

Not all birds may be interested in the foods you offer, but many more species will take advantage of water. Bird baths are easy to install and come in many styles, designs and sizes to accommodate different types of birds. For colder climates, consider a heated bird bath for fall and winter, or in warmer areas, opt for a solar bird bath that can attract birds with a small bubbler or fountain. Keep the bath filled with fresh water and clean it regularly to keep the birds coming back to drink and bathe.

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4. Plan Bird-Friendly Landscaping

Birdscaping your yard is easy and often less expensive than more ornamental, highly cultivated landscaping. Choose trees, shrubs, vines and flowers that can offer birds food, shelter and nesting sites, and plant in clumps and layers to provide good cover for different species. When choosing plants, opt for some evergreen species as well to keep attracting birds in every season. Even if you can't do large projects initially, planting just one bed to be bird-friendly can have a huge impact on how many birds you are able to attract to your yard.

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5. Make Your Yard Safe for Birds

Even the most bird-friendly yard won't attract many species if the birds aren't safe. There are many hazards birds face from diseases, predators and a wide variety of artificial threats, and backyard birders who take steps to minimize those hazards can enjoy more birds in their yard. At the same time, a safe yard is one where you won't find so many dead or sick birds, and you can be more secure in your enjoyment of the birds you attract, knowing you've provided them a safe sanctuary.

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Advanced Tips for Attracting Backyard Birds

Always remember, even after you take each step to attract birds, it can take a few days or weeks for wild birds to discover and begin to regularly visit your backyard. Be patient and you'll be rewarded with many feathered visitors, or if you want to continue enhancing your yard, try these more advanced tips to make your yard even more bird-friendly:

In time, you'll be able to enjoy large and varied flocks of backyard birds right at your doorstep!

Photo – American Goldfinch © Craig Nagy

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