Like many Americans, you may find bird watching to be a fascinating hobby. At the same time, perhaps you wonder how you can attract regular visitors to your yard without busting the bank by purchasing expensive foliage, feeders, and food. Here are some tips toward helping you establish a backyard paradise that is certain to welcome birds without draining your wallet.
1. Purchase a Birdbath. Prices for birdbaths can run anywhere from 10 dollars for the plastic model to well into the hundreds of dollars for the sculpted concrete model with lights and a waterfall. Birds are attracted to water, the glitter of sunlight will catch their eyes and bring them flying in. So, the plastic one works as well as the expensive one. If you must have a better model, check out the yard sales in your neighborhood for a good used birdbath. Amount budgeted: $10.
2. Invest in a Squirrel Proof Birdfeeder. For approximately 25 to 30 dollars you can get a birdfeeder that is squirrel resistant. Squirrels put their little paws on the doors to the feeder and it closes shut without hurting the squirrels. Because birds are so lightweight, they will be able to freely access the feeder and dine sumptiously. The added cost of the more expensive feeder will be offset by the savings in food that will no longer be consumed and wasted by ravenous squirrels. Amount budgeted: $30.
3. Purchase Good Seed. Much of the seed out there is simply filler seed especially if it is dirt cheap. Spend a little more and purchase black oil sunflower seed as the variety of birds attracted to this type of seed is wide. Most of the home center stores offer bags as large as 50 lbs. Start with a five pound bag and you will only spend about $6 for the initial supply of seed. Amount budgeted: $6.
4. Hang Suet. Suet can be pricey, but if acquired in bulk it can cost you less than 70 cents per block. A suet holder should only cost you another 2 or 3 dollars. If you can, place the suet a fair distance away from the birdfeeder, but not far enough away where you won’t notice the “traffic” flying from the birdfeeder to the suet and over to the birdbath. Amount budgeted: $12.
5. Provide Cover. Unless your yard is a barren landscape, you more than likely already have ample amounts of greenery present. You want to have a place for birds to rest, to check out your yard, and avoid cats. Consider moving shubbery around to provide a safe haven for your feathered friends. Amount budgeted: $0 — use your own sweat to move shrubbery, if needed!
Total expenditure to get your birding program in place: $68. Keep the remaining funds to replenish your sunflower seeds and suet in the coming months. Check birding books out from the public library if you need reading material.
Once you have everything in place, you should be able to attract birds almost immediately. If you live in an area frequented by chickadees, house finches, cardinals, nuthatches, goldfinches, grosbeaks, bluejays,and titmice they will arrive and eat the sunflower seeds. Wrens, nuthatches and flickers will be common visitors to your suet.
In summation, you can transfer your yard into a backyard paradise filled with the wonders of God’s feathered creations and you will be joining in with the majority of Americans who share a love of this common hobby.
For more information about birding please visit the National Audubon Society’s web site.