The point of doing lawn maintenance is so you can enjoy it during the summer months. But there are other species that enjoy a well-groomed yard: songbirds. The key to attracting and maintaining a constant bird population in your yard depends on your ability to provide them with what they need. Birds require a continuous supply of food, water, and shelter. If they don’t exist naturally in your yard then you have to provide them. Here are some tips on attracting birds to your Mississippi lawn.
Shelter is a vital element in keeping birds around your property. When spring comes around, birds will be on the lookout for nesting places. If you’ve planned ahead and put up birdhouses around your property, you’ll soon find prospective tenants stopping by for a tour.
Nest boxes are usually what comes to mind when we think of birdhouses. Certain species enjoy the protection and seclusion provided by nest boxes such as bluebirds, wrens, and tree swallows.
Roosting boxes look similar to nest boxes on the outside, but on the inside there are several perches for birds to roost. The purpose is to provide shelter from the cold and rain for male birds and birds that have finished brooding. Providing shelter and boxes for roosting is often overlooked or neglected, but this part of attracting birds is important, especially if you want birds to stick around during the cold months.
Songbirds are constantly in search of food. Their high body temperatures demand a lot of energy so they need to eat a lot. If birds can find enough food to maintain their body temperature then they can stick it out through the winter. When it comes to feeding birds there are two main methods: planting and feeding.
If you plan on attracting birds, then you need to think in the long term. If birds become dependent on the food you provide, then they will return season after season. One great way to ensure that a steady supply of food is readily available is to plant trees and shrubs that provide seeds and fruits during all seasons of the year. Trees and shrubs also provide birds with nesting sites and protection from the weather.
This is what most of us think of when it comes to attracting birds. Supplying birds with a steady supply of food via birdfeeders is a great way to entice birds to stop in. During the fall, as birds are migrating, some will stop and make their winter home at a feeder stocked with seeds.
The best food to attract birds includes:
- Suet: Suet is a favorite of all insect-eating birds. Put some out to attract chickadees, nuthatches, tufted titmice, blue jays, and brown creepers.
- Peanut Butter: A favorite of chickadees, tree sparrows, juncos, and many other species during cold weather. Peanut butter oil helps provide extra warmth and energy.
- Sunflower Seeds: The staple food source of any backyard bird feeding station as they are a favorite of almost every type of seed-eating birds such as chickadees, cardinals, titmice, and nuthatches.
- Pokeberries: A fruit loved by many species and a welcome winter food. Pick them in the fall and freeze them for later. Be sure to label the contents as “poisonous” as the pokeberries are toxic for mammals to ingest.
Birds are in constant search of food and lawn mowing is one of the ways you can help them find it. Birds are attracted to freshly mowed lawns because it’s easier for them to land and pull worms out of the ground. You’ve probably noticed swallows swooping and diving around you while you mow the lawn. This is because lawn mowing kicks up delicious insects ripe for the picking. So it’s important to get on a regular mowing schedule or hire a lawn mowing service so you can keep your yard bird-friendly.
Having a regular source of water will play a vital role in whether birds choose to stick around or not and is one of the three essentials necessary to support birds. Birds usually get water from ponds, rivers, swamps, and puddles. Not having access to nearby water will cause birds to travel far in search of a drink and reduce the chances of them sticking around.
Providing a steady supply of water is as simple as filling a pan with water or as elaborate as a flowing fountain. Birdbaths can be purchased at any hardware or outdoor store for relatively cheap. In the spring and fall, you’ll be glad when you start to see species you don’t normally see stop by for a drink as they migrate.
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