Your Wild Birds Guide

Attracting Backyard Birds

Attracting backyard birds with bird feeders is one way to watch birds in your backyard.

But are there other ways?

And the answer is YES... with a bird house or a bird bath.

How Will Attracting Backyard Birds with a Bird House Work?

Patience is mandatory for attracting wild birds, anyone who has put out a bird feeder knows the waiting game well.

And if the patience of the ordinary mortal is tried with bird feeders, then Job's long standing quality will be needed here. ;)

But there are many redeeming experiences ahead for those who persist.

The house you put up this year may sit vacant for a year or two. But wild birds return to the same area to build their bird nests each year.

Just because they turned your housing offer down this year, doesn't mean they will continue to reject your real estate in future nesting seasons.

Any significant change in your yard will cause them to be cautious. So make changes gradually.

It may take them a couple of seasons to become accustomed to a new bird house in your yard.

The best time to put up a bird house is anytime, since the birds need time to acquaint themselves with the new object.

If you want to give the more daring a chance for the upcoming season, put it out before the birds return from their migration.

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Not all birds use a bird house to build a nest in. Some build nests on tree branches, on the ground or anywhere around a man-made structure that seems suitable.

What can You do if Wild Birds Don't Use a Bird House?

If after two years your bird house is not being used and you know there are cavity nesters in your neighbourhood, you might consider a couple of things:

1. Are your bird house designs functional and appropriate for the type of cavity nesting birds in your area? For example, if the hole is too large Chickadees and Nuthatches will not use it. See the chart for proper entrance hole sizes for different cavity nesters here.

2. Are your bird homes located in the best place? Try changing the location. It may be too close to your bird feeders, other bird houses, or you!

As well, a bird house must be cleaned out every year. Most cavity nesters will not use a house that has leftovers from the previous year.

Some people have tried a bird house/feeder combo, big mistake! Think of it this way. You would not want all the people who live on your street sitting down at your table for every meal.

It would be a huge invasion of your personal space.

You might not feel safe depending on who showed up. You would also be concerned that there would not be enough for your own family.

Many people only think of putting out bird feeders for attracting backyard birds to their yards.

They often miss out on some very special moments by limiting themselves this way.

Of course there are many birds that do not use man made bird homes.

They prefer to build their nest on a tree branch, bush, on the ground or other more open spots.

Some birds lay their eggs in other birds nest and let other parents have the job of feeding and protecting their young.

So attracting backyard birds for them will be through feeders and bird baths.

You could put up roosting boxes for attracting backyard birds that are not cavity nesters, but would use a roosting box or bird house for shelter during cold weather.

How to Attract Birds with a Bird Bath?

  1. Setting up a bird bath will attract birds faster than a bird house. One of the reasons for this is that all birds need water, but they all don't use a bird house.
  1. All birds need to drink and bathe. Although some birds like to bathe more than others.
  1. Adding a mister or dripper which adds the sound of water to your bath will act like an advertisement for your watering bowl.
  1. Hummingbirds love to swoop through a mister or dripper.
  1. Providing a heated bird bath when natural sources are inaccessible will be much appreciated.
  1. Wild birds need water all year so your bird bath will be appreciated and attracting backyard birds all twelve months.

More Types of Bird Housing

  1. Gourd Houses - Native North Americans were the first to craft gourds into bird houses to attract wild birds.
  1. Roosting Boxes provide valuable shelter for birds at any time during the year for night time habitation or inclement weather.
  1. Snags - Dead or dying trees create a snag which provide many elements of the necessities of survival for wildlife including habitation. 
  1. How To Attract Birds to a Bird House? - It does take a lot of patience sometimes to reap the benefits of bird watching with bird houses in your backyard. Find tips for success here.

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