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Attracting Hummingbirds and Other Birds to Your Yard

A bird feeder or bird house is a great way to attract birds to your yard, patio or garden—and keep them coming back. Plus, bird houses and feeders can be decorative, adding style and charm to any environment.

Hummingbird Feeders

Hummingbird feeders are designed to contain “nectar,” a cooked syrup of sugar and water that helps the tiny birds sustain the energy level needed to so their aerobatic feat such as hovering in mid air.

Hummingbirds are attracted to the color red, because many of the flowers they naturally sip from are red or have red undertones to their flowers that hummingbirds can see (even if we humans cannot). Some people use clear feeders and dye the nectar red with food coloring to attract the hummingbirds. However, it is best for the birds if you use clear nectar and put it in a red feeder.

You should wash and refill hummingbird feeders at least weekly to prevent the growth of mold or bacteria and keep the hummingbirds coming back for more.

Other Bird Feeders

Many birds can be attracted by feeding them bird seed, suet, or mealy bugs. That gives us something to watch when the hummingbirds have flown away for the winter.

The feeders can be plain or decorative, depending on what you prefer. In many parts of the country it is worth investing in squirrel-proof feeders. Even if you do not mind feeding the squirrels, you may want to keep your furry pals from spilling the birdseed and making a mess on the ground below. You can buy squirrel feeders if you want to, to keep them happy, too.

Be sure to clean your bird feeders at least monthly to keep them clean, safe and attractive to birds.

Bird Houses

Bird houses are a good way to attract beneficial birds such as Purple Martins, which eat mosquitoes, and songbirds. Bird houses can also help protect certain threatened species, such as bluebirds, that have been losing their nesting areas at an alarming rate in recent decades.

Well-designed and well-placed bird houses can help protect nesting birds from predators, including squirrels, rats, snakes, and domestic pets like cats. Bird houses with entrances that are properly sized for smaller species can also exclude larger species that prey on their eggs or nestlings.

Besides being fun to watch, bird houses can also be beautiful to look at, even when the birds are not around. Designs range from tiny, natural-looking and unobtrusive to clever, stylish, artistic, humorous, large or whimsical.

For best results, though, buy from a bird house specialist so that you get the right house, designed for the birds you want to attract, preferably with instructions on the best way to position it. Different bird species have different needs and preferences.

You need to get the right kind of bird house and put it in the right type of location to attract the species or type of bird you want to attract. Otherwise they may just pass it by. Bird houses should be cleaned at least once a year.

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