With the arrival of summer, you may be looking for more ways to enjoy your yard or to increase its curb appeal. Creating a backyard bird habitat is one of the best ways to make your backyard a focal point of your neighborhood. You will attract hundreds of colorful local songbirds while at the same time contributing to the survival of your feathered visitors when the weather turns colder. If you are new to backyard birding, here are 3 tips to get you started. It does not have to cost a lot of money, and a small investment will reap big benefits for both you and your neighborhood birds.
1. Add A Bird Bath
One of the best ways to start building your bird habitat is by selecting a bird bath. Every living thing needs water, and birds are no exception. When the weather is hot and rain has been scarce, birds have more difficulty finding places to bathe, drink and preen. If you live in a colder climate, proving a bird bath may mean the difference between life and death when water turns to ice and birds need to expend more energy to find a drop to drink.
Selecting a bird bath is not difficult, but there are some things you should bear in mind to keep birds and humans happy and healthy. First, buy a bird bath that you will enjoy maintaining. Bird baths come in a wide variety of sizes, shapes and materials and each one has advantages and disadvantages. Bird baths with smooth surfaces are more difficult than cement or concrete for birds to hold on to, but they are easier to clean. Glass or plastic bird baths can be washed with a non-toxic cleaning solution, hosed down, and wiped dry with a towel. Cement or concrete bird baths should be thoroughly cleaned at least once a month to eliminate bacteria and left out in the sun to dry.
If you select a glass or plastic bird bath, you can take measures to make the surface less slippery and give the birds a safe place to perch. For example, you can place non-toxic adhesives around the rim and in the bird bath bowl. These stickers are the kind you will find in bathtubs and showers to prevent slipping. You can also add stones or bricks in the middle of the bird bath bowl. This gives birds a surface with a rougher texture where they can perch. It is also useful if the bird bath bowl is greater than 2″ in depth, as it will help prevent accidental drowning.
2. Provide A Bird Feeder
If you already have a bird bath in your backyard, the next step is to provide a bird feeder. No bird habitat is complete without one! You will attract the most birds if you consider the species of birds you would like to attract and the types of birds that live in your region. For example, if you live in an area where there are species such as chickadees, bluebirds, or warblers, a suet bird feeder is an excellent choice. Suet is a type of fat found the kidneys of animals such as sheep and cows, and it is an excellent energy source for many types of birds.
Suet bird feeders do not look like the feeders that you may be familiar with and that typically contain nuts or seeds. Most suet feeders are made of wire mesh into which the suet cakes are placed. Many feeders feature suet holders placed in the middle of a second wire mesh cage to make it more difficult for squirrels to eat the suet. You should place a suet bird feeder about 5 feet off the ground either in or close to trees.
Other species of birds require different types of feeders. For example, hummingbirds like to feast on sugar water and require special hummingbird feeders that dispense this sweet substance. Usually hummingbird feeders are made of red plastic, as hummingbirds are known to be attracted to red. Hummingbird water is inexpensive and widely commercially available, but you can make your own at home by following simple recipes you can find for free online. Other species of birds will be content to dine from traditional feeders that contain seeds, nuts and dried fruit.
3. Build Or Buy A Bird Aviary
If you are an enthusiastic birder, or already own several birds you may wish to consider building or buying your own bird aviary. Like bird baths and feeders, bird aviaries come in a huge variety or shapes and sizes. Building a bird aviary is not difficult, but it does require planning. You should consider the size of the your birds when determining factors such as dimensions and wire mesh spacing. Stay away from galvanized steel when selecting nuts, bolts wire mesh and other hardware, and make sure the wood is not treated with any toxic chemicals.
If you would rather buy an aviary kit, there are many that are commercially available online from sites such as Amazon. Many of these will require you to provide your own floor. If you will keep your aviary outdoors, always select a material that will make it easy to clean. Cement or concrete is always a good choice, because it can easily be hosed down, but gravel or pebbles are also popular choices. Depending on the climate in your area, you will also want to consider factors, such as heating, insulation and shelter from the rain and the sun. Bird aviaries are an excellent choice if you want to give your birds plenty of room to stretch their wings, fly and keep their muscles in good shape.
Building a bird habitat does not have to be difficult or expensive. With bird baths and bird food widely and cheaply available, it is easy to provide your neighborhood flock with a source of year-round sustenance. If you enjoy working with your hands and spending time outside, building an aviary can be a very gratifying project for both you and your birds. With careful thought and planning, you can make a habitat that will provide with enjoyment and relaxation for many years to come.
For more information or to purchase bird baths, bird feeders and aviaries, visit birdbathsforsale.com
Biography: Charles Meadows is a lifelong gardening and bird enthusiast. He enjoys writing and sharing knowledge on a wide variety of subjects, including gardening and New Age topics.