She commented on Facebook on the local birder’s page that there were no more birds in her backyard. She just moved to a new home and for some reason wasn’t getting any Northern Cardinals in her backyard or Chickadees like she used to. All she was getting was House Sparrows (they are a given) and Goldfinches. She asked what she could do to get more species.
I felt her pain because I had that same frustration 8 years ago when my husband and I had to relocate for work purposes to a subdivision on 1/2 acre, 1/4 of it being a pond. We moved from a rural setting on six and a half acres (lived there 22 years) where nature was at its best. We had so many different species of birds….grosbeaks, owls, hawks, woodpeckers, hummingbirds, many other species of songbirds, you name it we had them. We even had 42 wild turkeys come through our yard at one time there. Now all we saw at the new place were the typical House Sparrows and Goldfinches just like the woman posting on Facebook. OK also a few Mallard Ducks on the pond too. That was new for us. But it wasn’t enough.
What Did We Do?
So what did we do to start attracting more backyard birds to our new house? Right away we put up our bird feeders. No, it didn’t happen instantaneously but over a month or two we started attracting more and more birds to our yard. We consistently had food out for them and as the saying goes….if you feed them they will come!
- A Platform feeder for the bigger birds like the Red-bellied Woodpecker, Blue jays, Cardinals, the Pileated Woodpecker, and uninvited Mourning Doves. We put a Premium Mix that contained different fruits, raisins, nuts, sunflower oilers and millet, and NO CORN! We do not like to attract the blackbirds if we can help it and they like corn. Although they will still come in it won’t be as many.
- Tube feeder for the smaller songbirds such as the Chickadee, Tufted Titmice, White and Red-breasted Nuthatches which also contained a Premium Mix.
- Thistle/Nyger feeder for the Goldfinches and Pine Siskins
- Suet feeder for all of the birds. You can purchase suet cakes at your local bird seed store. or you can make your own (that’s another post).
Mind you the birds will use whatever feeder that they can get to especially if other birds are keeping them from using another feeder. The smaller birds like the Chickadees and Nuthatches will go to the platform feeder too especially if the bigger birds aren’t there to kick them out.
We also added a water source right away. Birds need water all year long for drinking and bathing. Since it was winter time we started with our heated bird bath that we put on our deck railing. This bird bath can be used all year long with or without the heat source.
We did have a few bushes for the birds to retreat to in cold weather and for roosting which helped. That along with the food keeps the birds around.
That Following Spring
That following spring/summer we added a garden with plants and bushes that would attract hummingbirds, bees, and butterflies too. The Butterfly Bush, Clematis, Ninebark, and Lavendar are just a few that we added and are great for this. Of course there are many other plants and shrubs that you can buy besides these. It all depends on what you want in your garden. Just keep in mind how the plant or shrub will provide for the birds if you wish to attract them. Think about places for the birds to hide from the weather and predators, nesting, and also food such as berries and/or nectar. Birds need these things and if you have it in your yard it’s a win win.
Next we added an additional bird bath for the end of our yard under a tree, a drip for the bird bath on our deck, and a mister to put in the tree so that the birds can retreat to it when it gets hot.
Nesting boxes were also placed on our trees for the wrens to nest in. We also discovered that tree swallows liked the boxes too so we added two more boxes in our side yard on the top of my potting table.
It didn’t take long before the birds discovered this new bird haven that we created for them. In the 8 years that we have lived here we have counted 114 species of birds to our yard (so far). We wouldn’t have been able to get so many species of birds, I believe, without doing all of this.
Moving to a new house doesn’t mean you will lose all your favorite backyard birds. You may get lucky and the new place may already have an established haven for the birds. But if you don’t put up some bird feeders with a good premium mix, add a birdbath to make sure the birds get water and are able to take a bath to clean their feathers, and make sure the birds have a place to go to roost and to get out of the weather. Then be patient. It won’t be long before the birds find your backyard and make it their new home too!