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How to Attract Birds to your Yard


When you buy a house, typically the yard has a tree or two and a few bushes, usually non-native.

The problems start when you'd like to see wildlife, such as birds, in your yard. Most folks don't think about what birds need and it's actually very little.


Food, water, shelter and a place to raise young, This can be as simple as a bird feeder, bird bath, a tree and a bird house. But a little bit more is even better....


When we bought our house, we had 4 oak trees and nothing else. In defense of oak trees, they actually host over 500 - FIVE HUNDRED - species of butterflies and moths! Host means that the butterfly or moth uses that tree (or plant) to lay its eggs on and the resulting caterpillars utilize the leaves to eat for their growth and survival.


The NUMBER ONE thing you can do to attract birds to your yard is to plant native plants, no kidding. Why? Because butterflies and moths lay their eggs on native host plants and local birds feed their babies 90% caterpillars! Here's the cycle: butterfly/moths lay their eggs on a plant/tree leaves, the eggs hatch, those eggs hatch caterpillars, those caterpillars eat the leaves of the host plants and birds eat the caterpillars. If there are no host plants, then no one will lay their eggs = no caterpillars = no food for bird babies. Do you see the cycle?


A great idea is to go to your local nursery and ask: "What plants can I get to attract birds to my yard?" To boil it down to easy (in Ohio, anyway): Plant an Oak tree, an elderberry and a few additional host plants. The oak tree will knock it out of the park, the elderberry will provide berries and just a few host plants (flowers) will be pretty, provide pollination and add more caterpillar food sources.


DID YOU KNOW 96% OF SONGBIRDS DEPEND ON CATERPILLARS AS A FOOD SOURCE TO SURVIVE? AND A PAIR OF CAROLINA CHICKADEES REQUIRES BETWEEN 6,000 AND 9,000 CATERPILLARS TO SUCCESSFULLY RAISE JUST ONE BROOD OF YOUNG. IT’S IMPORTANT TO PLANT NATIVE TREES AND PLANTS TO SUPPORT OTHER BIRDS AND WILDLIFE.


A short rundown of how to attract birds to your yard:

  • Plant native plants

  • Put out a bird feeder

  • Provide a water source

  • Erect a bird house


I must add that if you're a user of insecticides in your yard, you're more than likely killing caterpillars also, which is going to affect the whole life cycle in your yard. Your best bet is to eliminate - or at least cut back on - insecticides. They're poison and indiscriminately kill.


The more we've planted, the more organic we've made our yard, the more birds we've attracted and the more interesting our yard has become....and the happier I've been.










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