Pets & Animal Pets Birds

Top 10 Mistakes When Attracting Birds

It may seem easy to attract birds, but just a few subtle errors when trying to meet birds' needs can actually discourage birds instead of welcoming them. If you've tried to attract birds but aren't having any success, make sure you're not making these mistakes in your backyard.

1. Not Attracting Local Birds

Every birder wants to see new bird species visit their yard, but if you're trying to attract species that are far out of their range, you won't have great success. Instead, learn your most common backyard bird species and adjust your efforts to attract those birds first.

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2. Keeping a Perfect Suburban Landscape

Neatly trimmed grass, well-groomed shrubs and tidy flowerbeds might be attractive to homeowners, but they're less attractive to birds. Birds thrive in more natural settings that can include a snag for nesting and feeding as well as leaf litter for foraging, and it's easy to strike a balance for the best birdscaping.

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3. Not Using Native Plants

Exotic plants may be attractive and colorful, but they can be confusing to birds that are accustomed to local varieties for food, shelter and nesting sites. Birds will more easily recognize native plants, and native species require less care, are better adapted to local climate and will resist diseases more effectively.

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4. Offering Only One Type of Food

While basic seeds such as black oil sunflower seeds or hulled sunflower will feed a wide variety of birds, it's easy to attract even more bird species by offering a wider variety of tasty treats. Birds have different diets and food preferences, and offering a wider range of food will attract a wider range of birds.

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5. Not Attracting Birds in Every Season

It's a misconception that birds are only around at certain times of the year, or that it's unwise to feed and attract birds year-round. Different seasons will bring different birds to an attractive backyard, and backyard birding can be an enjoyable hobby 365 days a year, so long as birders change the foods they offer and the shelter they provide to meet birds' seasonal needs.

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6. Trying to Attract Every Bird

While it may seem like the more the merrier at backyard feeders, too many invasive birds or species that feed in large, hungry flocks can actually drive away other birds. Rock pigeons, common grackles, house sparrows and European starlings all have reputations for monopolizing feeders, and smaller birds will move on if they can never get a bite.

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7. Missing Out on Birds' Best Senses

Birds have excellent senses, and appealing to each of those senses is the best way to attract even more species to the backyard. Sight and sound are birds' two best senses, and taking steps to provide an attractive habitat that also features tasty, non-spoiled food will help encourage more birds to visit.

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8. Not Offering Water

While food is a great way to attract birds, even more birds need to drink than need to visit feeders. Offering a fresh, clean source of water is essential to help attract thirsty birds, and many birds will also use baths for a quick dip to keep cool and keep their plumage in top condition. Heated bird baths will also help bring in even more winter bird species.

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9. Not Targeting the Birds You Want

Many backyard birders have a feeder, a bird bath or a bird house but wonder why their favorite bird species aren't visiting. Every species has unique needs, however, and meeting the needs of the most desired species is the best way to attract those specific birds to the backyard.

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10. Letting Pets Enjoy the Yard

Every backyard birder wants to enjoy their backyard for more than just birding, but letting pets roam unsupervised can scare away all types of birds. Even friendly dogs and cats can seem like threatening predators, and even a well-meaning pet can harm backyard birds or discourage nesting species. Pets should always be supervised, and pet areas of the yard should be well away from bird feeding areas and baths.

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