Creating Your Own Natural Backyard Bird Habitat
Creating a backyard bird habitat may be more important than we think. In fact, it's estimated that 10% of all bird species are likely to disappear by 2100 according to a report done by Stanford University. And with development taking precedent over natural habitat these days, our feathered friends need a little help to survive and thrive in their changing environments.
Encouraging birds comes with benefits as well: they will help you pluck off pesky insects, leave behind a little organic manure for the garden, gift you with a beautiful song and add a little magic to your home.
Those little nimble musicians of the air, that warble forth their curious ditties, with which nature hath furnished them to the shame of art. - Izaak Walton
Creating Your Own Backyard Bird Habitat
Begin by adding a water and food source. A bird bath or pond is one option. Finding plants that attract and feed birds is a fun project for adults and kids. Things like sunflowers to provide seeds, or honeysuckle and other flowers to attract hummingbirds are both great ways to get started.
If you choose to use a hummingbird feeder, do not waste money or resources purchasing special "nectar", which often contains artificial ingredients unhealthy for the birds. Make your own nectar with 1 part organic cane sugar to 4 parts water, but be sure to avoid the use of honey or food dye. Also, be sure that any bird feeder is kept full so as not to disappoint a bird who may have flown out of his way to visit you, only to end up with an empty belly and tired wings.
Kids will also enjoy making pinecone bird feeders like the one in the picture above: Gather an open pinecone from the ground, tie a piece of natural yarn or twine around it to hang, lightly cover it in natural peanut butter or almond butter and dip it in natural bird seed feed. Hang this in the trees for your backyard birds to find.
Next, consider adding perches or birdhouses to your yard to provide places to land, nest and reproduce. Many plants and trees, such as Crabapple, Hawthorn and Mulberry, provide safe nesting areas and food sources for your backyard bird habitat.
Several things need to be considered for the birds' safety:
- If you have cats, keep them indoors or use a safety collar (they pop off if caught on something so as not to choke your kitty) with a bell to warn any birds of an impending attack.
- If you're not already doing so, avoid chemical pesticides which can affect the health and well-being of the bird population, and employ natural pest control methods instead.
- Look into practical ways to decrease window collisions, which are said to affect millions of birds each year. Some of the easiest ways are to close your drapes or add solar screens (which is also among the best ways to keep cool in the summer).
And lastly, find a bird almanac (used, of course) or obtain a list from your state university, borrow some binoculars and start a list of varieties you find in your own backyard bird habitat. This can be a great game to play with your kids or a beautiful way to begin your day.
Creating a backyard bird habitat becomes a pleasure when we take the time to enjoy our efforts. So don't forget that part, k?
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