13 Ways to Attract Birds to Your Backyard

Learn how to make your backyard the ultimate year-round oasis for wild birds and their families.

Photo By: Photo by Peter Crosson

Photo By: Photo by Peter Crosson

Photo By: Photo by Peter Crosson

Photo By: Photo by Peter Crosson

Photo By: Photo by Peter Crosson

Photo By: Photo by Peter Crosson

Photo By: Photo by Peter Crosson

Evergreens and Berries

Evergreens keep their needles and leaves during the winter months, making perfect hide-outs for year-round birds that live in your backyard. Many evergreens, like this eastern red juniper, provide berries as an added bonus. A cedar waxwing holds a berry within his beak.

Houses Galore

Set up a birdhouse or two. There are many birdhouses specifically designed to attract certain breeds of backyard birds. Birds use birdhouses to raise their young and seek cover in ill weather. This house is designed for purple martins. When shopping for birdhouses, be sure there is an easy access door for cleaning each spring.

Secret Hideouts in Trees

Some bird species, such as this black and white warbler, enjoy making their homes in older trees' holes. Here they hide food supplies, raise their young and take shelter.

Allow A Bug or Two

Cut back on pesticide use. Birds love to dine on bugs and are natural pest control experts. Here this tomato hornworm is a tasty meal for bluebirds, blackbirds, orioles and swallows. Unfortunately for this hornworm,  a predatory wasp has laid eggs on its back. The tomato hornworm will serve as food for the larvae.

Let Flowers Go to Seed

Plant blooms with added benefits. Allow bird-friendly blooms go to seed in the fall. Birds love to dine on seeds of black-eyed Susans (pictured) and echinacea.

A Water Source

Provide a water source. Birds enjoy having easy access to water. This is especially important in arid climates. Birds not only use the water for drinking but will also take baths. Be sure to change the water out every few days.

Shelter in Shrubbery

A source of shelter is a top priority for all birds. Consider planting shrubbery in your yard where birds can seek shelter from predators and bad weather. They may also build their nests in dense shrubs as well. An ideal place to put a bird feeder in your yard is adjacent to this type of shrubbery. This makes it easier for birds to take shelter between bites.

Secret Nests

Encourage nesting and places to raise their young. I discovered this dainty robin's nest tucked in between the branches of one of our rhododendrons. Birds hide their nests from predators that eat their eggs and other birds who parasitize their nests with their own eggs.

Winter Energy Sources

Birds will remain in your backyard during the winter if you feed them. Here a downy woodpecker enjoys nutrient- and calorie-rich bird suet filled with seeds and nuts.

Birds Love Fruit

Consider planting fruit-bearing trees in your yard. Birds use these fruits for fuel. Here a yellow warbler roosts in a crabapple tree.

Put Out Favorites

The best way to attract a particular species of bird to your yard is to feed them their favorite foods. Here lesser goldfinches cannot resist thistle seeds in this specially-designed thistle feeder.

Peanut Butter and Jelly

Some species, including orioles and woodpeckers, are attracted to small dishes of jelly and peanut butter. Fresh orange slices are another great way to attract unique birds to the feeders. This acorn woodpecker, like most Americans, loves this combination!

Wintering Birds

Bayberries are one of the best plants you can add to your backyard. They are rich in nutrients and high in fat. This hermit thrush perches on another common berry found in North America, bittersweet.