Wild Bird

Yards are not complete without the occasional visit from wild birds. Encouraging these creatures into the yard will add color, music and insect control. Birds eat many of the pests people do not want in their yard. This includes insects that destroy gardens and ones, like fleas, ticks and mosquitos, that pose problems for pets and humans. It only makes sense to invest a little money to keep these beautiful, natural exterminators returning to a yard year after year.

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Providing Adequate Feed

The easiest lure is always food when it comes to encouraging a visit from any wild animal. Birds prefer feeders placed where there is some cover but open enough to stay aware of predators and to allow a fast escape. Avoid feeding bread because some types of bread are toxic to certain birds and it grows mold easily. Choose feed made specifically for wild birds. Cracked corn, millet and peanuts are nutritional options. Black oil sunflower seeds are popular with all birds and perfect for small birds that struggle with larger feeds or hard shells. The seeds also have a high-fat content which is perfect for winter. A combination of these seeds and suet will provide the extra fat birds need in colder temperatures.

Choosing a Feeder

Select something easy to clean. This includes non-porous materials like steel, glass and plastic. There should be no sharp edges and ample space for perching. Choose multiple small feeders rather than one large one. This will allow each to be emptied, washed and refilled sooner to keep the feed fresh. Hang feeders at different levels, from ground-level to tree height, to suit the eating habits of a variety of birds.

Adding a Shelter

The best width, depth and opening size of a birdhouse will depend on the type of bird expected to nest in the yard. Choose a house that has at least one additional opening other than the entrance to allow proper ventilation. Most houses are made of wood because it provides the best temperature control. Drain holes in the bottom prevent the accumulation of water and reduce the risk of mold. Mount the house high enough to prevent predator attacks but make it easily accessible for cleaning. Clean the house as soon as the family leaves. Remove all bedding and wash with a very diluted bleach water and rinse well. Leave the house open and in the direct sunlight for a couple of hours to thoroughly dry the wood and kill any mold spores.

Keeping Them Clean

Birdbaths are another useful item that encourages wild birds. Those that have a spray or moving water are more enticing. Place the bath in the shade at ground level and consider adding ferns and other plants to make it look more natural. Most experts recommend filling birdbaths with about 1.5 inches of water. Choose a heated model if planning to make the bath available all year. Clean and replace the water at least once a week.

There are many other ways to make a yard more welcoming for wild birds. Hummingbird swings are a simple design that lets the little birds perch in trees and keep an eye on their favorite feeding station. Make natural food ornaments from seeds, suet and fruit and hang like ornaments in the trees. Most importantly, prevent injuries by keeping feeders away from reflective windows to prevent bird strikes.