How to Make Your Home a Bird Haven
If you’re a morning person, you may know that getting up early, fixing a cup of coffee and watching the sun rise while listening to the birds sing is a wonderful and relaxing way to start your day.
Birds play an important part of that scene, though. We tend to overlook (overhear) birds in our daily rushing around, so we tend to take for granted that they’re always there chirping and singing, eating pesky bugs, spreading seeds, growing trees, and being a very important part of the ecosystem. When you stop to appreciate birds, you’ll see they make a beautiful addition to any environment, so, why not make your home one of these environments and help native bird populations?
There is more strategy involved when it comes to making a bird haven than you might think. There are, of course, hundreds of different species of birds, and some are constantly migrating, so the variety of species that might find your home is vast. These different birds all eat different foods, occur in different sizes, and they prefer to find their food in different ways.
First, you’ll need to get a feeder, or multiple feeders. A long tube feeder with small perches may be great for tiny finches, but the larger jays may need something like a large hopper feeder. Then you have hummingbirds who need nectar feeders, or suet cages for woodpeckers, thrushes and many other species. If you’d like some tips on which feeders you need, which foods different bird species prefer, and how to clean your feeders, check out Project FeederWatch.
Now that you’re attracting birds to your home, you want to make sure you aren’t attracting them too much. That means making sure your new bird friends aren’t colliding with windows around your home. One of the best things you can do to prevent this is apply bird tape to your windows. Another great tip is to move your feeders close to your home – within three feet or so. That way, birds leaving the feeders won’t have enough momentum to really injure themselves.
With feeders come other animals, some of the most common of which are squirrels. Squirrels are experts at taking advantage of bird feeders. So be sure to fix your feeders with squirrel proof-baffles, something that will keep them from climbing up the pole or across a horizontal line or down from a tree – usually a curved disc that they can’t climb around. Squirrels can also jump surprisingly far, so if you can move your feeders away from trees, that also helps deter squirrels.
Another thing you can consider is what type of trees and other plants you have in your yard. The best trees and shrubs for native birds are native plants, which also help to attract important pollinators such as butterflies and bees.
Once you have your bird haven all set, you get to enjoy watching and listening to all your new bird friends. If you’d like to take another step to help out birds, become a citizen scientist by counting and identifying your bird visitors and logging which species you see with Project FeederWatch. This helps scientists track the movements of birds and their populations to determine how different species are doing. Thanks for playing a part in bird conservation!