Carolina Young Birders

To gather, inspire, and empower the generations of birders to come

Creating a Backyard Bird Habitat

Posted by Matt on October 28, 2014 at 5:30 PM

Optimizing your habitat for the birds is always a fun experience.  Frequently soon after your modifications you will witness a marked increase in wildlife activity in your yard.  Projects can range from free to expensive, requiring space or minute, and time-consuming to only a few minutes.

Birds need 3 major things which you can provide for in your yard, and if you do, will increase the numbers of birds seen!

Water- millions of Americans feed wild birds but few realize that water features will attract more birds, and species, such as warblers, that probably won't visit feeders anyway.  Water features can range from as simple as a recycled container filled with water to an elaborate set-up including a pond and waterfall.  Personally, I have a birdbath which admittedly don't keep filled as often as I would like.  I did however make a free dripper; the sound of moving or dripping water will attract birds from farther away.  The last several winters, I have been rewarded with a Hermit Thrush or two who make my backyard their winter home.  All I did was hang a milk carton that I had punched holes into the bottom, and then filled with water.  This is simple and free. 

Feeders- so many people, even those who have a passing or casual interest in birds, have backyard bird feeders.  Once again, you can make your own or purchase expensive, long-lasting, high-quality feeders from a specialty bird shop.  Feeders from big-box stores tend to break; you are better off making your own then purchasing one of those.  I have about a dozen feeders in my yard but you only need one or 2 to attract several species.  I feed a variety of foods in a variety of feeders to attract more birds- some species like sparrows prefer platform feeders, and bluebirds like mealworms, and woodpeckers love suet.  Creating a variety of foods and feeding situations will allow you to attract a variety of birds.

Shelter- if you have trees or shrubs in your yard, you may already notice that birds utilize these for shelter.  You might even have a birdhouse or two.  Birds ranging from wrens to Barred Owls will utilize nest boxes.  Installing these and native plants for cover will allow birds to feel safer or maybe even raise young while living in your habitat.

This is a handy resource for finding backyard birding related websites:

http://www.americanvisionwindows.com/complete-guide-to-bird-watching-from-your-window.php

Reminder: Nags Head Field Trip is on January 31st 2014.

Matthew Janson

President

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