Backyard Chirper

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How to make your yard a paradise for birds

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There are three major elements that will attract birds to your yard: food, water and shelter. So, if you’re a beginner who’s looking to attract birds to your yard, it’s a good idea to start with a bird feeder, bird bath and bird house. Creating a bird friendly landscape in your yard involves much more than that though. There are a number of natural things you can do to really get birds flocking to your yard.

Create a pile of leaves

If you raked your yard to clear the pathways of leaves, don’t throw them away. Piling the leaves somewhere off the side of your yard will create a homemade bird house with endless possibilities. They will frolic in the pile and search for insects around it. It may not be the prettiest thing, but birds absolutely love it. It’s also a good way to reuse material in a productive way.

Put native plants in your yard

I’ve talked about this already quite a bit in the context of feeding birds on a budget, but native plants do more than offer food. Any type of plant native to the area is one that birds are most comfortable with.

Make a mess

Not a literal mess of trash, but a mess of plants, leaves and other natural litter. The best ecosystem for birds is a natural one and the more rugged an area is, the more likely birds will come. Having a messy yard will increase the insect and plant diversity in a way that brings a wide variety of birds. The key is to balance the mess. You don’t want to let your yard become completely unruly with fallen seed and stuff everywhere or you could end up with rats!

Cut back on open spaces

While large lawns and open meadows may look attractive, birds hate them. Open spaces don’t provide any cover and don’t have places to get food. Create a fun playground for the birds by making leaf piles, planting shrubbery or extending your garden.

Offer a diversity of native plants

There is no all-encompassing environment that attracts every type of bird, so you should have a diversity of plants to satisfy as many birds as possible.

Learn more about the birds in your area

Birds in the northwest are going to have different tastes than birds in the south. Read up on the main species of birds in your area or the ones you want to attract the most because the research will give you additional clues as to what assets your yard could use.

Timothy Martinez Jr. is a writer and freelance journalist. His work has been published in The Times-Picayune in New Orleans, Remapping Debate in New York City and other publications. He’s been a bird lover since he was young and currently lives in New Orleans, L.A.


  1. Speaking of nesting material, I have used the contents from the vacuum cleaner. This makes a comical sight when the birds come to “select” their remnents to use. Some will madly shake their heads and “gobs” of dust will fill the air around them making them as confused as the other birds around.

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