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There are hundreds of great reasons to make your backyard more welcoming to birds. But one of the most important ones is pest control. Know how to attract birds to your backyard!
Whether you are a backyard birdwatcher or want to make your landscape livelier, there are plenty of reasons to attract insect-eating birds to your backyard. While a wide variety of birds eat seeds and berries, there are insect-eating birds. In late spring and summer, birds that eat insects are busy filling the mouths of their baby birds and hatchlings by hunting freshly caught insects.
That is an excellent reason for garden owners since insects and bugs are generally at their peak during spring and early summer. Additionally, birds that eat insects also save us headaches by combing gardens for whiteflies, cabbage worms, grasshoppers, aphids, and beetles. So, having a bird-friendly backyard is an excellent idea to attract and keep these feathered friends.
But how to attract birds to your backyard, and what do wild birds eat?
In this post, we will learn how to attract birds to your backyard, what do wild birds eat, as well as a list of birds that eat insects. So, let’s get started!
How to Attract Birds to Your Backyard
Here are a few tips on how to create a bird-friendly environment in your backyard:
· Create a Shelter
When creating a landscape to attract birds that eat insects to your backyard, it is essential to designate spaces where they can take cover from ground predators and the weather. Creating shelters for a bird-friendly yard is even more necessary during the spring and summer as wading birds constantly look for nesting sites.
So, one of the effective ways to provide shelters or covers is by planting twiggy shrubs and small trees. These plants offer appealing nesting opportunities to insect-eating birds. In addition, if your backyard is tidy and well-maintained, you can consider designating a corner that can be developed more naturally.
Keep in mind that offering nesting opportunities means more birds in your backyard and more hungry mouths to feed. They will comb your yard for food, and you will significantly reduce irritating backyard bugs and insects.
· Add a Water Source
While learning how to attract birds to your backyard, you will find that adding a water source to your backyard is essential. Backyard birds love the sound of water and constantly look for places to stay where they have a water source. You can attract a multitude of birds to your landscape by incorporating a consistent source of fresh water in your backyard.
It is worth noting that birds are attracted to water, especially moving water, where they can drink and bathe. So, if your yard already has a birdbath, consider adding a bubbler. However, if you haven’t already added a birdbath, consider adding an outdoor fountain.
While an outdoor fountain adds a sculpture of beauty to your landscape, it also helps provide an attraction to moving water. In this regard, consider creating a small pond with a solar fountain. You can also create a re-circulating waterfall to draw a multitude of birds that eat insects.
· Provide Appropriate Food
Many yard owners who love feeding birds in their backyard put bird feeders away during warm weather. However, it is worth noting that even birds that eat insects enjoy snacks occasionally. So, rather than putting your feeders away during the summer, keep at least one and fill it with quality bird food.
So, what do wild birds eat? Well, many bird species enjoy foods like non-melting suet cakes, seeds, and peanut butter. These foods are great for attracting a multitude of grosbeaks, chickadees, sparrows, and cardinals to your backyard.
What do Wild Birds Eat?
While learning how to attract birds to your backyard, it is worth mentioning that different birds have different feeding preferences and dietary requirements. So, understanding what birds are in abundance in your area and what food they prefer is crucial to attracting them to your yard.
The different types of foods that can attract a variety of birds to your backyard include:
- Insects: Such as mosquitoes, whiteflies, beetles, mealworms, and grubs.
- Plant Materials: Such as flowers, grasses, and seeds.
- Snacks: Such as nuts, small berries, and fruit.
However, remember that determining the exact dietary needs of backyard birds also depends on their nutritional needs, varying from season to season. Offering appropriate foods according to the weather is an effective way to attract birds. Similarly, watching birds and their forage can help determine their food preferences.
Furthermore, you can also visit your local wild bird store for recommendations and assistance to get started feeding birds.
List of Birds that Eat Insects
Here is a list of backyard birds that eat insects:
|Backyard Birds||Insects they Eat|
|Bluebirds||Grasshoppers, mealworms, beetles, crickets, caterpillars, moths, spiders, snails, grubs, ants, and mosquitoes.|
|Cardinals||Leafhoppers, grasshoppers, beetles, snails, crickets, katydids, cicadas, spiders, centipedes, flies, and butterflies.|
|European Starling||Bees, crickets, grasshoppers, moths, butterflies, locusts, wasps, beetles.|
|Chickadees||Mealworms, aphids, snails, caterpillars, whitefly, spiders, and earwigs.|
|Nuthatches||Treehoppers, beetles, caterpillars, ants, mealworms, and earwigs.|
|Purple Martins||Flies, mosquitoes, moths, gnats.|
|Flycatchers||Caterpillars, grasshoppers, wasps, ants, midges, spiders, beetles.|
|Orioles||Grasshoppers, caterpillars, mealworms, beetles, spiders, and wasps.|
|Swallows||Mayflies, moths, caterpillars, mosquitoes, caddis flies, dragonflies.|
|Sparrows||Spiders, ants, bees, caterpillars, beetles, crickets|
|Woodpeckers||Flies, mosquitoes, bees, weevils, Beetles, ants, caterpillars, and mealworms.|
|Warblers||Walking sticks, beetles, spiders, grasshoppers, ants, bees, Caterpillars, aphids, and whiteflies.|
|Wrens||Caterpillars, mealworms, beetles, spiders, flies, moths, grasshoppers, and crickets.|
Why Are Insects Important for Birds?
While learning what wild birds eat, it is essential to know their eating preferences. Some bird species are genuinely insectivorous. Similarly, some bird species are omnivorous, meaning they eat insects as a part of their more varied diet. Additionally, granivorous birds, such as rock pigeons, swans, and ducks, catch insects almost accidentally, along with other food.
Keep in mind that insects are a vital food source for birds, providing them with essential nourishment. Here is why birds eat insects:
· They Need Protein
Insects and bugs are a favorite food for insect-eating birds and a rich protein source. Protein helps birds to keep their body mass and energy. While some bird species need different foods to maintain their energy levels, insect-eating birds need to eat less relative to their body weight. That said, protein is especially essential for growing baby birds that rely on insects and invertebrates.
· They Need Calcium
While learning how to attract birds to your backyard and what wild birds eat, it is vital to know their nutritional needs. Birds that eat insects need calcium to keep their energy levels up. In this regard, the exoskeletons of beetles are an excellent source of calcium.
Moreover, as we all know, birds also need calcium to keep their bones strong, and that’s why birds feed insects to their baby birds. In addition to that, calcium is also essential for growing an eggshell. So this is another reason why birds up their calcium consumption during nesting season.
Natural Foods to Attract Birds to Your Backyard
Here is how to attract birds to your backyard by offering natural foods:
1. Offer Seed-Bearing Flowers
Offering seed-bearing flowers is a natural and effective way to attract birds to your backyard. Planting hummingbird flowers on flowerbeds will attract a multitude of colorful birds. In this regard, you can plant more perennial varieties in your yard. These seed-bearing flowering plants are long-lasting and can be a stable food source for birds all year round.
Moreover, you can also consider choosing flowers with different colors to create a bountiful and more welcoming landscape. Some popular flowers entice backyard birds the most include coneflowers, sunflowers, zinnias, and butterfly weeds.
2. Plant More Trees
Planting trees that produce fruits, nuts, buds, sap, and seeds are an excellent idea to attract different varieties of birds. These trees are a stable and plentiful source of food and help you attract and keep birds coming back year after year. You can find many coniferous and deciduous tree species that offer birds fruits, nuts, and other food.
Some popular options that you can plant in your backyard include oak, dogwood, black cherry, and crabapple trees.
3. Plant Shrubs
Like seed-bearing flowering plants and trees, different shrub varieties produce berries, seeds, and flowers. Planting these shrubs in your backyard means offering your backyard birds a plentiful and delicious food source. Moreover, shrubs can be a more appealing landscaping choice, especially if you have a small yard where trees wouldn’t grow well.
How to Feed Backyard Birds?
While learning how to attract birds to your backyard, it is crucial to learn how to feed backyard birds. Here are a few tips that can help you attract a plethora of birds to your landscape:
· Place Feeders at Different Heights
Keep in mind that placing bird feeders at different heights is essential to attract birds to your backyard. For instance, birds like towhees, sparrows, and juncos usually feed on the ground, while cardinals and finches feed in shrubs. Similarly, titmice, chickadees, and woodpeckers feed in trees.
So, in order to attract more colorful birds and avoid crowding, placing table-like feeders for ground-feeding birds is an excellent idea. Similarly, you can place tube or hopper feeders to attract nuthatches, woodpeckers, and chickadees.
· Provide Suet during Colder Weather
Suet is an excellent food for attracting insect-eating birds like chickadees, wrens, woodpeckers, titmice, and nuthatches. In this regard, use unique feeders or net onion bags to offer suet. However, ensure to place them at least a few feet from the ground. Additionally, avoid offering suet during hot climates because it can turn rancid and damage waterproofing on bird feathers.
· Offer Fruit to Berry-Eating Birds
Offering fruit or fruit juices to berry-eating birds is an excellent option for attracting more birds to your backyard. Bird species, such as mockingbirds, waxwings, and bluebirds, do not like birdseed. So, to attract these species, soak raisings and currants, leave them overnight, and then place them on a table feeder.
· Offer Nectar to Hummingbirds
Hummingbirds love nectar flowers. However, suppose your backyard doesn’t have any flowering plants. In that case, you can prepare a sugar solution (i.e., one sugar and four part of water) to attract these beautiful birds to your backyard. However, avoid coloring and wash your feeders every few days to keep them clean.
· Reduce Window Collisions
According to statistics, over one billion birds die yearly from colliding with windows. So, when learning how to attract birds to your backyard, you will find out that placing feeders away from windows is an essential part of avoiding collisions.
Moreover, opaque and mobile decorations hanging is also an excellent option to protect your backyard birds and avoid bird strikes. Alternatively, attaching fruit tree netting outside windows is also a smart way to deflect birds from the window glass.
That is all about how to attract birds to your backyard and what do wild birds eat. Knowing birds’ food preferences and dietary needs is essential to attract and keep these feathered friends coming back year after year. Attracting birds that eat insects is an intelligent way to protect your plants and save costs on pesticides and herbicides. Moreover, having a multitude of birds in your backyard means you will be enjoying more pollinators, decreasing chemical use, and helping your local ecosystem.
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