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Watching Birds

Watching most birds in the backyard is easy but some will be elusive and some birds may never visit you yard.  For this purpose, a good pair of binoculars are needed.  A good field guide is also needed.

The first step to see elusive birds is to study their habits.  Know when they visit your yard, what plants they seem use for protection and cover and wether they are seed or insect eaters.  If they eat seeds, you can attract them to your feeders by providing seeds and nuts they like.  Insect eaters are more difficult.  To attract these, your backyard environment will play a big role in attracting and keeping these birds visiting your yard.  Some factors that make your yard unattractive to birds are:

  • Non diverse landscape.  A yard with trees, shrubs and flowering plants is far superior to a yard of grass with a tree or two.
  • Chemicals.  Fertilizers, herbicides and insecticides may perform their job well, but they do have side effects.  If you want the perfect lawn and spay for insects, you are eliminating the bird's food source.
  • Cats!  The bird's worst enemy is the household cat.  If you love cats and want birds to live in your yard, the cats must be kept indoors and not allowed to roam free.
  • Quiet.  By this we do not mean no noise.  Birds need to be left alone.  Do not bother them, especially when they are nest building.  They will quickly decide to look elsewhere.  Stay away from nesting sites when they are rearing young.  You can cause babies to fall out of nest.  Binoculars are best used when trying to see young in nests.

Things you can do to make your backyard attract more birds.

  • A diverse landscape can draw birds for many reasons, food, nesting and/or shelter.  For more information on creating a diverse landscape click here.
  • Provide water.  Bird baths, a lily pond or better yet be lucky enough to have a natural source such as a stream.
  • If you are using birdfeeders and birdhouses keep them clean and pest free.
  • If you will be feeding the birds, be sure to use clean, high quality seeds, nuts and fruit.

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