Birder's Interests

Decorate Your Yard with Birds!

Wild birds come in many sizes, shapes, and colors.  Try some of our suggestions to attract birds and watch your yard come to life with beautiful, entertaining, and fascinating songbirds.

Making birds welcome in your yard is not difficult and doesn’t need to be costly. Birds need an environment that includes four elements:  food, water, nesting sites, and shelter.  Most yards already have shelter in the form of trees and shrubs so adding a birdbath and a couple nest boxes along with a feeder will give birds everything they need.

Bird Feeders 

Many birds will eat from almost any type of bird feeder, but larger songbirds like cardinals need larger feeders for landing. Platform feeders may attract these larger songbirds because they have room for birds to land on top of them to feed. These feeders consist of a simple frame with a screen bottom, or a bottom with holes, and can be hung like any other type of feeder.   Birds of all sizes will enjoy finding seeds on this type of feeder since it is similar to eating off the ground.  An even simpler platform feeder can be constructed of a flat board mounted on a post any height off the ground.

Feeders can be placed anywhere in the yard, but we suggest an area close to a tree, bush, or any other type of cover.  Wild birds like to feel protected from predators such as hawks so any type of obstruction that will block the flight path of a hawk will be appreciated.  If trees aren’t available try placing garden or decorative stakes in the ground two or three feet around the feeder.  Moving decorations like larger wind chimes that can be hung close to a feeder may also serve as a deterrent to a hawk.  Many birds fall prey every year to attacks by cats, as well as dogs, which could often be avoided if pets were kept indoors. Small garden fences may also be placed around the area under a feeder to protect birds from predators like cats and dogs while grazing on the ground.

Feeders can be filled with any type of birdseed, but adding mixes with nuts and fruit might attract a wider variety of songbirds, including woodpeckers and nuthatches.

Adding some bird-favorite seed producing flowers to your yard or garden will also attract birds. See the suggested list of seed producing flowers below: 

  • Bachelor’s Buttons    
  • Zinnias   
  • Black Eyed Susan    
  • Asters  
  • Purple Coneflowers    
  • Globe Thistles    
  • Coreopsis    
  • Joe Pye Weed


Don’t forget the water!  Birds need water to drink and for bathing.  Most birds enjoy a birdbath, but will also drink from smaller sources such as a cup, bowl, or flowerpot saucer.  Flowing water attracts birds so fountains, drippers, misters, and any other type of moving water will draw in birds of many varieties. 


A very inexpensive way to attract birds is to build a small brush pile made of loose tree limbs, twigs, shrub branches from pruning, etc.  Don’t include clumping material like grass clippings, soil, or leaves. A brush pile not only provides cover and shelter, but attracts insects which in turn attracts insect eating birds. Birds may also enjoy nesting in a brush pile. Birdhouses are used for nesting by some types of birds like wrens, titmice, and martins.  Some birds such as bluebirds need their potential houses to be cleaned out prior to nesting season, or they will not use it.  An important feature of any birdhouse is the size of the entrance hole.  Smaller holes will allow smaller birds like wrens to nest inside without being invaded by larger birds that want to take over the birdhouse.


Hummingbirds are always an enjoyable addition to any yard.  Here are a few tips for feeding hummingbirds:    

  • Fill  feeder with 1 part white cane sugar and four parts water.  Water does not need to be boiled and can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
  • Do not add red food coloring to the water as it may be harmful to the birds.
  • Clean feeders with water and/or bleach water but avoid using soap as it can leave a harmful residue.
  • Putting fluorescent red or orange surveyor’s tape, non-sticky, near your feeder may attract more hummingbirds as they are believed to be sensitive to ultraviolet light which is reflected by the tape.    
  • Consider hummingbird feeders that have perches to give the small bird a rest while eating.     
  • Hummingbirds eat insects so always remember not to use pesticides anywhere near where birds may be feeding. 
For more information about hummingbirds, go to!