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Attracting Birds to Your Backyard

Bird Feeder

Bird Feeder

Attracting Birds

Hanging Bird Feeder

Place a hanging bird feeder near plants that offer shelter– many birds like to dart to a feeder for a quick nibble before returning to the safety of a nearby tree or bush. Locate a feeder where it is not exposed to wind, since a swinging bird feeder will frighten birds and also scatter seed. Grains and seeds are ideal feed for bird feeders because they satisfy both the appetite and the nutrient requirements of many birds.

Nest Box

Many birds will nest in human-made nest boxes. The entrance of a nest box should be only large enough to permit a desired bird to enter. For example, if you want to attract chickadees, the entrance should be only about 1 inch (3 centimeters) wide. A slanted roof and a hole in the floor of the box will help rainwater drain away and keep the inside of the box dry.

Plants That Attract Birds

Invite birds to your backyard by providing plants that offer food, shelter, and nesting sites. A variety of flowering plants provide tasty seed snacks for birds. Flowering plants that have sturdy, upright stems offer a perch for a bird as it eats. Trees and bushes that produce colorful berries will draw birds’ attention.


A birdbath is an ideal place to watch birds bathe and preen, in which they use their bills to spread oil to each feather. Clean, oiled feathers provide good insulation from the cold and rain. Make sure the birdbath is at least 24 inches (61 centimeters) wide—any smaller and birds will use the bath only for a quick drink and will not stay around to bathe and preen. Many small birds are afraid of deep water, so make sure the water in the bath is no deeper than 3 inches (8 centimeters).

 Platform Bird Feeder

To attract ground-feeding birds to your backyard, use a simple platform feeder. These low tables are ideal to view birds and their eating behaviors as they jostle for food. Platform feeders can hold many types of bird food, including seeds, fruits, and peanuts. Locate your feeder near plant cover so that birds can quickly fly to shelter if they feel threatened.

Bird Feeder

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