Bird watching is a joyful, relaxing pastime shared by enthusiasts and casual amateurs alike. Having birds around adds beauty to your surroundings. You can easily turn your backyard into a bird sanctuary.
Here's how to build a backyard bird sanctuary:
- Construct birdhouses and feeders The best way to attract birds is to provide easy access to plentiful food. You can build simple birdhouses yourself out of 1-by-6-inch cedar boards. Simply cut the boards to the desired lengths and nail them together into box shapes. Cut a small hole in each birdhouse as an entrance, and fill your birdhouses with birdseed. You can also build a birdhouse from a kit. Once your birdhouses are complete, nail the structures to your house, fence or trees. If building's not your thing, you can place ready-made feeders around your yard [source: Hazelton].
- Plant trees and shrubs Different types of foliage will attract different types of birds. Evergreen trees, nut- and acorn-producing plants, and nectar-producing plants provide shelter, nesting and food for all kinds of birds. Un-mowed grasses and legumes offer seeds and living space for ground-nesting birds. Growing a variety of plants that produce fruits in different seasons will keep birds around all year long [source: Drake, Paulin].
- Keep out predators Eliminate outdoor sources of food that may attract cats, raccoons, skunks, rats and jays -- the most common of bird predators. Keep compost piles and garbage cans securely covered at all times. Use bird feeders that don't let squirrels or jays get in. If you have pet cats, keep them indoors [source: PRBO].
- Other landscaping Leave dead trees and limbs, brush piles and grass clippings around your backyard. Birds use these for homes and nest materials [source: PRBO]. Fallen seeds can make birds sick as well as attract rodents. Mow the grass under your birdfeeders and cover the area with mulch so any seeds that fall slip underneath the piles [source: Hazelton]. Be careful when mowing, because some birds like to nest in the grass [source: PRBO].
- Water All birds need a source of water. Consider installing a birdbath or some other source of water in your backyard [source: Drake, Paulin].