Inside: Attracting birds to your backyard can be fun and relaxing. Writer Patsy Reiter reveals four tips in her guest post.
Throughout the year, I take great care to feed my variety of feathered friends. Summer is the busiest as many different species fly in and then depart when autumn arrives. Below are some ideas on how I have made my yard bird-friendly. I’m not an expert, but these applications work for me.
1. An abundance of trees and bushes is wonderful as birds like good nesting sites and most species return to the same area year after year.
2. Water and food source.
3. Colorful perennials and annuals attract hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees!
I personally fill two bird baths, one in the front and one in the backyard. Besides drinking from these, the birds like to take baths. Some weeks in the summer, I’ll rinse the bird baths twice during the day and fill with fresh water.
I keep my feeding station in the same spot, under a pine tree. I’ve had several hanging feeders, but the nocturnal animals such as raccoons tear them down. I’ve given up on that, but I do hang a small suet feeder and that remains in position.
I toss together a songbird country seed mix with black-oil sunflower seeds. I also make my own hummingbird nectar. One part sugar to four parts water, boil then cool, and fill a hanging feeder. Hummingbirds like red, so you’ll notice most feeders sport that color. I change the liquid every three to four days and wash the feeder to ensure mold doesn’t form. There are times mid-summer that I’m filling the feeder every day. My feeder hangs in front of my kitchen sink window, and it’s so much fun watching the little beauties.
Thistle seed for finches is expensive, so just once in a while I’ll purchase a small bag. I find that the finches dip into the oriole’s grape jam. Just drop a large spoonful of jam onto an orange lid or plate. Orioles are attracted to that particular color and also love oranges. There are liquid oriole feeders on the market, but I keep to simpler in-home items.
Sometimes during the week, I treat my feathered friends to my own homemade mix—old bread dipped in leftover grease from bacon or red meat. I break it up, toss it out in the yard, and it’s quickly retrieved. Since there is an abundance of flowers, fruits, and grains for birds during the growing season, they are well fed.
In winter months, even after the snowbirds have headed south, I continue to feed my feathered friends. The blue jays and cardinals make a colorful display on a blanket of snow. I have a special fondness for mourning doves that seem to settle at my place all year.
Tip: Unsalted peanuts are a favorite of blue jays, but watch out for the squirrels as the nuts will disappear quickly.
My biggest tip? Sit, relax, and enjoy our feathered friends.
Are you a backyard bird enthusiast like Patsy? Tell us about it in the comments.
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Patsy Reiter has been writing stories for children and adults for over fifteen years, with five credits in two e-zine magazines and a piece in the Genesee County Family Resource Guide. A Michigan native and member of SCBWI-MI and American Christian Fiction Writers, her inspiration is fueled by her grandchildren and an offbeat sense of humor. In 2009 she won first place for her e-zine story “The Necklace.” School visits and opportunities to inspire children are high on her agenda. She enjoys spending time with family and friends where ideas consistently sprout. Patsy has just completed her first inspirational novel.