There is a lot to love about a bird-friendly yard, even during the winter. Whether you are excited to see which species you can attract, hear the soothing sounds of birds singing in the morning, enjoy nature from the comfort of your home, or cultivate more wild space to offset habitat loss, these three simple tips will help you turn your backyard into a birdyard this winter.
Cultivating a bird-friendly yard is all about working with what you have. That means growing native plants during the warm season and leaving at least some of your yard’s natural debris during the colder months. During winter, local birds and migrating flocks will seek out shelter. In many areas, predator birds have learned to hunt near feeders, so natural debris will provide a safe harbor for your new feathered friends. Everybody enjoys a tidy yard, but keep in mind that forest floors and wooded areas aren’t neat. Leaves, twigs and branches provide much needed resources that birds can use to create their own safe shelter and hiding spots, making your backyard a bird sanctuary.
Sunday Tip: Still have a Christmas tree? Recycle it until spring by propping it up against a fence or garage giving birds an evergreen perch, and sturdy shelter to hide from predators.
Food is always a quick way to make friends, and birds are no different. Setting up bird feeders is a great way to attract birds all year long, but they are especially useful during the winter. In the colder months natural food sources become scarce and many bird species rely more heavily on feeders. There are many types of feeders, but to attract the greatest diversity of species, try a Tray or Platform feeder, Hopper feeder, Tube feeder, Basket feeder, or a Nyjer feeder designed for smaller birds and thistle seed.
Sunday Tip: Make a DIY pinecone feeder. All you need is a pinecone, some string, nut butter or vegetable shortening, and some seeds. Simply spread the pinecone with nut butter or shortening, roll it in seeds and hang it up in the yard with some string.
Depending on your climate, winter water can be hard to come by. To ensure that your yard stays bird-friendly all year, provide a water source that doesn’t freeze. Fountains and heated bird baths are great options, but you can also utilize a year-round bird dish and bird bath by regularly adding fresh water and placing a floating object in the water that will help prevent a sheet of ice from forming. Placing your bird bath in a sunny location can also help keep the water source useable and your new yard-mates splish-splashing all year long.
Sunday Tip: Placing rain barrels near feeders can provide a source of fresh water during the winter months as the snow melts and new water collects.
Our mission at Sunday is to help everyone reimagine their backyard as an extension of their home, not just some grass that surrounds it. Cultivating a bird-friendly yard is one great way to grow something better for people, pets and planet this winter.