Bird and how I attracts them!!!

Jan 8, 2006
Hi, everyone,

I am often asked how I get so many variety of bird species in my backyard so I thought I would let you all know how.

First on my list would be water. Every bird needs it everyday and even if you didn't put out bird food, they will come for the water. I have two ponds in which one of them has continuously running water to it. I have two bird baths that has running water to them, also. The excess water from the bird baths runs over into two plastic trays. The plastic trays are in turn use as bird baths for the smaller birds. The smaller birds prefer to take a bath in shallower water than what a typical bird bath can provide. Having running water allow to important things to happen. First the water moves, which birds flying over can see. Second is that the running water makes a sound. Allowing the water to make a splashing sound will trigger birds to investigate the sound that they associate with water. I often turn up the water when I am out taking pictures. The louder the sound the water makes as it hits the lower trays the more birds it attracts. I usually do this during spring and fall migration.

Second on my list would be food, food and more food! The type of food, the amount of food and the feeders you use can determine what type of birds you will be able to attract to your yard. The number one would have to be black oil sunflower seed which attract the most variety of birds. The second would be sunflower chips or hearts for the birds with smaller beaks. Next would be any type of finch food for all the other smaller birds and those with weaker beaks. Niger seed (often refer to as thistle) is expensive but will attract American Goldfinches, House Finches, Pine Siskins, Indigo Buntings and others. I have four nut feeders. I filled them with peanuts, cashews and a can of mixed nuts. I have a platform tray that is filled with peanuts for the Blue Jays, Northern Cardinals and squirrels (normally if you feed the squirrels they will leave your other feeders alone). Some mixed bags of bird food that I purchased contains dried cherries and raisins which will attract the non seed eating birds. Suet can be purchase in different flavors and in different sizes. They will attract Woodpeckers, Nuthatches, Chickadees, Wrens, Pine Warblers, Brown Creepers and others. Now, here comes the worms. Meal worms and wax worms are expensive but they will keep the birds coming to your yard year after year. Meal worms are cheaper and comes in a variety of sizes. I buy the large and giant meal worms. They can be place in a tray or toss on the ground. They also have special meal worms feeders. Here is the link to where I buy them. Wax worms cost more but the birds seem to prefer them over the meal worms. Here is the link where I purchase them. Keep in mind that the worms both meal and wax worms have to be refrigerated. Birds that will eat the worms are A. Robins, Blue Jays, Bluebirds, Nuthatches, Chickadees, Titmice, Juncos, Towhees, Gray Catbirds, Northern Mocking Birds, Woodpeckers, Northern Cardinals, Brown Thrashers, Tanagers, Tennessee and Yellow-rumped Warblers. Most all other warblers and vireos will eat them too. Here is a link with some pictures of the bird food I buy.

There are so many types of feeders out there today. The more variety you use and the height you place them the more species you will have. For example, American Goldfinches prefer to eat from what is called thistle socks. They like it better than the tube feeders. They will also eat from a platform tray. Chickadees, Titmice and nuthatches will eat from a variety of feeders but prefer them to be at least 4 feet or more above the ground. White-throated sparrows, Juncos, Brown Thrashers and Towhees prefer to eat on the ground or in a tray that is placed about 2 to 3 inches from the ground. Downy and Red-bellied Woodpeckers will come to trays that are 4 feet or more from the ground, and to nut feeders and suet cages. Red-headed Woodpecker will come to a nut feeder. These are just a few examples but you can find more on the Internet or in books. Most birds have a prefer height that like to eat from and a prefer type of feeders that they like to eat from. Knowing what birds are commonly found in your area and knowing what food they like are your best chance for attracting them to your yard.

Third would be shelter and a place to raise their young. I have different nest boxes place at a variety of heights. Placing a bird house made for a particular bird will increase your chances of attracting that bird species. I have planted evergreen trees and bushes for the birds to hide from predators.

Debbie (BirdLady)

PS: I hope this will help some to attract more birds to
their yard. I have done extensive research on birds
and I have done some experiments to see works the

Here is the link to Pbase where I post my pictures.

As you can see from Pbase that I have attracted a
large number of species.

DW Brewer

I would add one additional item. Since I live in a two climate area (i.e., it gets well below freezing here), open water during winter is a challenge (particularly since the goldfish ponds and fountains are "shut down" then. I have investigated several ways to provide open water during the winter, and the most economical method I now use is to buy a relatively inexpensive heated dog water dish. By itself, it is too deep for the birds, so I place several flat rocks inside to reduce the effective depth to about one inch. The birds will sit on the rim to drink, and will actually bathe in the warm water by standing on the rocks. Oh yeah, it will remain open at least to the minus twenty degrees we have experienced the past couple of years.
Jan 25, 2005
Excellent info Debbie. Thanks so much. I recently added a larger bird bath with a fountain, but have been thinking about how to add a running water feature. I don't know how I'll do it yet, but I'll certainly redouble my efforts now. :smile:

Thanks to David too for his ideas.
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