Plan Now for Birds Later

Sparrows on a Sakura Branch

We have had a long January this year. It’s been snowy and seemingly colder than usual. But now that February is here and Punxsutawney Phil did not see his shadow, many of us are now thinking of Spring. If you are also planning to have birds welcomed into your yard this Spring and Summer, now is a good time to start thinking about how to attract those winged visitors. There are some simple things you can begin to do to make your yard ready. Once you do, birds will start flocking your way even before the temperatures start to rise.

Male Northern Cardinal in Flight

The first step to attract birds is to offer different types of food and feeders. The smaller the seed and feeder, the smaller the bird. This is a simple rule of thumb for the beginner. Birds such as wrens, finches, tufted titmouse, and others of this size, prefer the smallest of seeds, as well as little berries. They are able to access smaller feeders that larger birds cannot. Larger birds such as Cardinals love sunflower seeds. (The birdseed kind, not the people kind). Larger birds will love larger food as well as smaller food, which is why the smaller bird feeders are great for those smaller birds.

Almost all birds enjoy different kinds of berries, fruit, and small nuts. Various sizes and kinds of bird feeders will help attract different kinds of birds. Feed them and they will come. Use some bright colors at first with feeders and platforms to help attract the birds. Once they are used to feeding in your yard, they will return again and again. Make sure there are no predators such as domestic cats who are waiting for the birds to arrive. You would hate to prepare all this for the birds just to have a buffet for hungry felines.

Eastern Bluebird Splashing in a Bird Bath

The next item you want to have in your yard or bird area, is a water source. Water sourcing was a dilemma for me during the super hot months, until I installed a small pond with a fountain. It’s hard to keep bird baths full for many reasons. Once birds get used to having water, you should always make a point to keep water in those containers. When it is very hot, the water has to be replaced every day unless it is circulating as in a fountain or pond. Birds will love the noise and the cooler water area if you have it.


Don’t forget hummingbirds. You can plan now to plant flowers that naturally attract this fun bird. Butterfly bushes, garden phlox, and morning glory to name a few, will attract hummingbirds in a natural way. A side product of attracting birds, will be a showcase of butterflies as well, when the days begin to warm.  

Finally, make sure there are trees, shrubs, bushes, and groundcover in the area so birds will have places to live and make nests. If you love having birds in your yard, they will come for the food, the water, and for the safety you have provided. You will be rewarded ten fold by the daily show the birds and their offspring will put on in your yard this summer.