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Attracting, Feeding and Appreciating Backyard Birds: Creating a Backyard Haven

By John Schaust

Photo courtesy of El Hutcherson

Creating a backyard haven for wild birds is easy when you understand the type of habitat that fulfils their basic needs. While the average backyard is visited regularly by 15 to 20 different bird species, a bird-friendly yard with the proper habitat elements can attract up to 60 or more species. To attract the greatest number of bird species, simply provide at least one of each of these habitat elements: food, water, cover and places to raise their young.

When placing a bird feeder in your yard, remember most birds find their food by sight. As such, it’s important to place feeders in an area that’s easily seen, sheltered from the wind and safely away from cats and other predators. Feeders with different seeds or seed blends can be placed throughout the yard at different levels to attract different types of birds.

Birds tend to choose feeders that are at the same height at which they would find food in the wild. For instance, if a bird normally finds its food in trees, bushes or tall flowers, it would be more likely to visit an elevated feeder. This is true for birds like chickadees, nuthatches, titmice and woodpeckers.

Conversely, birds such as quails, doves, sparrows, towhees and juncos find most of their food near or on the ground, so they have no problem eating at a ground feeder. Some birds, such as cardinals, jays and grosbeaks find food at various levels and will visit feeders placed at any elevation.


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