By: Kirby Conda & Kylie Cooper Photography By: John Najvar
Birding is a powerful mental release and a low-cost hobby that can be enjoyed right from your own home. Interested in enhancing your outdoor space in hopes of courting nature’s feathered fliers? Here are a few tips on how to get started.
- Plants – Planting native flowers such as American beauty berry (attracts the Brown Thrasher and American Robin), Turkscap, and Texas lantana (attracts hummingbirds) are perfect examples of this. Other native flora to consider adding to your backyard include: penta, cape honeysuckle, Porterweed, and firebush. Do a bit of research and remove any invasive species from your yard if you can and try ditching dangerous pesticides and other chemicals used for weed control.
- Housing Structures – A birdhouse or any other type of nesting box provides native birds a
Golden Fronted Woodpecker
safe space to reside and breed. Placing your bird shelter on a tree among lots of branches is the best place to start, as they enjoy a bit of privacy.
- Feeders – A bird feeder is typically the first, and often easiest, step in attracting birds to your backyard. Choose a feeder fit for the species of birds most common in your area. The Hopper feeder, is a common choice. The platform continuously replenishes itself with seed as birds pick away at it. Tube feeders are tall and cylindrical, and feature several perches and openings for birds to feed. This type is great for attracting smaller birds such as Sparrows and Goldfinches. Suet is another feed type, attracting the likes of Woodpeckers.
- Food – Mixing store-bought birdseed with an assortment of other seeds such as sunflower, corn kernels, nuts, and fruit pretty much covers all the bases for a large majority of species. Some birds will even nibble on whole peanuts or dried pieces of fruit. When first starting out, opt for high-quality basic birdseed. As you learn more, you can begin to tailor the food to the birds you are wanting to attract. Also, keep in mind the type of feeder you go with might dictate the food you choose.
- Water Features – Birds are actually attracted to the sounds and movement of running water. Adding a birdbath or a fountain connected to a source of running water is a great option for creating a bird oasis. Just remember to place the water feature in a shaded area away from places a predator could be hiding, make sure it’s shallow and filled with gravel so the birds can maintain their footing, and consistently clean the structure.