Birds are an incredibly important part of our ecosystem. They can help pollinate plants, scavenge carcasses, dispense seeds, and they help recycle nutrients back into the earth. Prepping your yard to be bird friendly is a great way to take advantage of the benefits of having birds reside or visit this spring.
1. Think about having a bird feeder or two
Placing a bird feeder in your yard is a great way to encourage birds to take up residence. Many people will place a bird feeder near a window to give the best chance to observe the birds. This can be dangerous as birds can be fatally wounded if they hit a window. Instead, it is recommended to have the bird feeder be 30 feet away from windows. The feeder should also be 5-8ft off the ground.
2. Provide plenty of cover
One of the things birds look for in a habitat is plenty of cover to protect themselves from the elements and predators. You can encourage this by creating a brush pile as well as planting evergreen shrubs near the place where you will hang or mount the bird feeder. Ideally you’ll want to have the bird feeder within 10 feet of some type of cover – this especially keeps cats from within striking distance.
3. Invest in a bird bath
Birds need water like the rest of us. Keep the bird bath clean, with fresh water. It is also a good idea to put your bird feeder close to the bird bath – this will draw attention to your feeder and more birds may partake.
4. The best bird houses are simple
You actually want to have something that blends into the background, and doesn’t have a front perch. The point of the birdhouse is to provide protection from the elements and predators. The perch gives predators an unfair advantage if they are going after a nest.
5. Hang your bird feeder somewhere easy to maintain
This might seem like an obvious step, but make sure that where you place the bird feeder is convenient to maintain. In the winter is when the birds will need the bird feed the most. You don’t want weather preventing you from refilling the food. You also want easy access so you can periodically move it to prevent build up.
6, Plant native plants, bushes, and trees
Nothing replaces natures bounty for birds, so invest in landscaping that highlights native plants. This is also a good idea for your home maintenance bills as native plants are typically easier to maintain and will last longer.
7. Skip lawn chemicals
Birds do best without pesticides and chemicals. Try maintaining your yard with organic and green options. These are also better for your personal pets and any humans living in the home.
8. Keep cats inside
While your favorite feline might love to get his paws on a bird, it’s actually healthier and safer for your cat to live indoors. Not only will your cat avoid injuries or risk getting lost, your bird visitors can enjoy your backyard without fear of attack.