Birds need five basic things from life. Cover to hide them from their predators, shelter to protect them from the elements, food to provide sustenance, water to drink and to bathe, and nesting sites to raise families. For those bird lovers who want to attract birds to their gardens, they should ensure that their garden has all of the above features.
When a bird is making a decision to live in or visit your garden sanctuary, it is basically asking itself these questions. And will make its decision based on it’s instinct.
Where Can I Hide?
In the average cityscape, birds have one major predator – cats. Domesticated and homeless cats kill millions of birds throughout the U.S. every year. Additional predators include other birds such as owls, hawks, and falcons. We also can’t forget predators such as snakes, raccoons, squirrels, and chipmunks.
So one of the first things a bird is asking itself is “where can I find cover” to hide and protect myself from predators? You can help the bird make the decision to choose your yard by putting up cat proof fencing. You can also plan your garden so that it has widely spaced open areas to deny cover for predator where they can mount a sneak attack.
Is There Available Shelter?
Evergreens and other bushes planted against garden and house walls provide a natural shelter to shield birds from rain. You can also place a combination bird house and bird feeder in the garden which not only supplies food, but includes a pitched top and side walls that can protect them from rain, heavy storms, and harsh winds.
Is There A Place Where I Can Raise A Family?
During the breeding season, this is one of the primary features that birds are looking for. They are looking for a place where they can settle down for a while with their partner and raise their young ones. Depending on the birds you are trying to attract to your garden, you can plant the appropriate trees, shrubs, hedges, and so on where they would normally nest if they were in the wild. If you are more ambitious, you can buy or build them a custom birdhouse which will meet all of their housing needs.
Is There Plenty Of Food And Water Nearby?
Natural food sources are the best. Birds will look for their natural food sources before attempting other foods. So find out the natural types of foods that your birds of choice like and populate your garden with them. In the winter time when the natural food sources have dried out and birds are having a hard time scrounging up food, bird feeders can be their friend. Populate a bird feeder with seeds, suet, and other alternative food choices that you know they would enjoy. And don’t forget water. Birds love and need water and a birdbath will do wonders to attract birds to your yard, In colder climates, an added investment of a few dollars to buy a heated birdbath will pay great dividends in the winter months.
A bird’s life is fragile and their existence is fraught with danger for nearly all of their lives. The more you can do to help them beat the odds the better for them and the better for you as you enjoy their presence all year round.