6 Must-Do’s for a Bird-Friendly Yard
Are you ready for the 2022 Great Backyard Bird Count? The teaching naturalists and educators at Elachee are! Be sure to join the birding adventures taking place during the February 19 Discovery Saturday at Elachee. In the meantime, learn how you can use your citizen scientist skills to help gather data about birds in your backyard.
To increase the number and variety of birds visiting your yard, try one or all of these tips to make yours a bird-friendly locale.
Plant Native and Remove Invasives
Select Georgia-native or southeastern native plants, trees and shrubs that offer year-round food sources to birds and insects. Many invasive plant species out-compete native species favored by birds and insects that make up their diets; eliminating invasives will help native species to thrive.
Provide Food and Water Sources
Bird feeders provide excellent supplemental food sources for birds during times of scarcity (winter) and fresh water sources provide you with excellent bird watching opportunities! Offer multiple seed options, as varying species feed on different types.
Install Bird Houses and Nesting Boxes
Install various sizes of nest boxes from which different species may choose. Be sure the ones you choose have drainage and ventilation holes. Be sure to clean out the box after each clutch has fledged.
Leave Brush Piles and Dead Trees
Brush piles with varying branch sizes and yard debris create a valuable habitat for roosting and nesting birds. Leaving dead trees alone (if safe) will harbor many wildlife species, including birds like woodpeckers and owls, providing a unique and exciting opportunity to observe this wildlife.
Eliminate Pesticide/Herbicide Use
Insects are the primary food source for many bird species, specifically juvenile birds, providing them with necessary proteins and fats. Having an insect-free yard will likely result in little to no insect-eating birds visiting your backyard.
Make Nest Balls
Creating and hanging balls of material near a feeder or next box is an easy and fun DIY project that can attract birds to your yard. Birds can pull items out of the ball to use as supplemental material to build their nests!
Construct nest balls using:
• Grapevine balls (find at craft stores),
• Yard debris like pine straw, pine needles and dead leaves,
• Pet fur (collected after brushing),
• Natural fibers such as cotton balls, wool, jute or down feathers from a coat or pillow,
• Fabrics such as string/twine, ribbon, yarn or lace.
DO NOT use dryer lint if you use fabric softener or dryer sheets, as this lint may contain chemicals harmful to birds.