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  3. Attracting Garden Birds: How to Attract Birds to Your Garden

Attracting Garden Birds: How to Attract Birds to Your Garden


The joyful chorus of birdsong can transform any garden into a lively and captivating outdoor space. The sight and sounds of these feathered friends not only add beauty to your surroundings but also contribute to the overall health of your garden ecosystem. So, how can you attract birds to your garden? In this article, we’ll explore various strategies and tips for turning your garden into a bird haven.

Tips to Attract Birds Using a Bird Feeder

Bird feeders are a popular and effective way to draw feathered visitors to your garden. By providing a steady source of bird food, you can create a dependable dining spot for your avian neighbours. When setting up a bird feeder, consider the following:

1. The Importance of Providing Bird-Friendly Plants

Birds need more than just food. They also rely on native plants for nesting materials, shelter, and sometimes even food. When choosing plants for your garden, opt for bird-friendly varieties, such as shrubs and trees that produce berries and fruits. These not only provide sustenance but also create inviting habitats for birds. Native species are ideal as they are adapted to the local environment and are more likely to entice local bird populations.

2. Creating a Welcoming Habitat for Birds with a Bird Bath

Water is a crucial element in enticing and keeping birds in your garden. A bird bath provides a place for birds to drink and bathe, helping them stay clean and hydrated. Ensure it’s clean and refilled regularly to keep your avian friends coming back. Adding some flat stones to the bird bath gives birds a place to perch, making it more inviting for them.

3. Using Different Types of Bird Food to Attract a Variety of Birds

Diverse bird food options will tempt a wider range of bird species. Consider using various seed mixes, suet feeders, peanuts, sunflower hearts, and fruits to accommodate the dietary preferences of different birds. Experiment with different feed options to see which ones are most appealing to the birds in your area.

4. Setting Up Nest Sites to Encourage Birds to Stay in Your Garden

Birds are more likely to frequent your garden if they can find suitable nesting sites. Provide birdhouses or boxes and dense foliage where they can build their perches, ensuring the safety and comfort of their offspring. Ensure that the nesting boxes are placed at appropriate heights and in locations that protect them from predators.

What Are the Best Bird Feeders for Attracting Garden Birds?

Selecting the right bird feeding station is essential for enticing various bird species. Different types cater to distinct preferences:

1. Understanding the Different Bird Feeder Types

There are tubes, platforms, hopper feeding stations, and more. Each type is designed to accommodate specific birds, so choose one that aligns with the species you want to lure. Tube feeders, for example, are great for small birds like finches, while platform feeders can accommodate larger birds like cardinals.

2. Choosing the Right Bird Feeder for Your Garden Bird Species

Research the dietary habits of the birds you wish to entice and select feeding stations accordingly. For instance, finches are fond of niger seeds, while suet feeders are perfect for woodpeckers and chickadees. Understanding the preferences of local birds will help you select the most suitable feeders.

Feeding Garden Birds with Natural Food Sources

While bird feeding stations are essential, it’s equally important to supplement their diets with natural food sources in your garden:

1. Attracting Birds with Berries and Fruits

Plants like holly, elderberry, and serviceberry produce berries that birds adore. By planting these shrubs and trees, you provide a food source that birds will keep returning to. Additionally, these plants add aesthetic appeal to your garden.

2. Using Niger Seeds to Attract Finches and Goldfinches

Seeds are a favourite of many birds, including the striking American goldfinch. Offer these seeds to encourage these vibrant visitors. Providing a separate feeding station for niger seeds will prevent contamination with other bird food.

3. Feeding Birds with Suet to Provide Energy

Suet is a high-energy food that entices insect-eating birds like woodpeckers and nuthatches. Offering suet in a specialised feeding station helps provide essential nutrients. Suet cakes can be purchased or made at home and hung in suet feeders to lure a diverse range of insect-eating birds.

How Important Is Water for Attracting Wild Birds?

Water is a vital component of a bird-friendly garden:

1. Providing a Bird Bath for Birds to Drink and Bathe

A bird bath not only serves as a water source but also as a place for birds to clean themselves and cool down during hot days. Adding a water heater during the winter ensures a constant water source, even in cold weather.

2. Creating a Water-Friendly Habitat for Birds

Consider incorporating a natural pond or water feature into your garden, as this can be a significant attraction for both drinking and bathing. Native aquatic plants can enhance the beauty of the water feature while providing additional food sources.

3. Using Bird-Friendly Plants That Retain Moisture

Select plants that retain moisture well, ensuring that there are puddles and damp areas for birds to drink from. Native wetland plants can serve as natural water sources for birds, and a small water garden can provide a habitat for amphibians, luring birds.

4. Offering Clean and Fresh Water for Birds to Drink

Change the water in your bird bath regularly to maintain hygiene and ensure birds have a fresh, inviting place to quench their thirst. Consider using a brush or scrubber to clean the bath periodically to prevent the buildup of algae and debris.

What Are Some Bird-Friendly Plants for Attracting Birds?

Choosing the right plants is fundamental to creating a bird-friendly garden:

1. Choosing Shrubs and Trees That Attract Birds

Native shrubs and trees like dogwood, elderberry, and oak trees provide food, shelter, and nesting opportunities for birds. These trees and shrubs also create a diverse canopy that can lure different bird species.

2. Using Plants with Berries and Fruits as a Food Source

Consider planting fruit-bearing trees and bushes like cherry and mulberry to provide a natural food source for birds. In addition to providing food, these plants add colour and beauty to your garden.

3. Attracting Birds with Nectar-Rich Flowers

Nectar-rich flowers like bee balm, salvia, and trumpet vine bait hummingbirds and other nectar-loving birds to your garden. These vibrant flowers not only serve as a food source but also add a burst of colour and fragrance to your outdoor space.

4. Providing Dense Foliage for Nest Sites and Shelter

Create dense foliage by planting evergreens and dense shrubs. These provide not only nesting spots but also shelter from predators and harsh weather. Dense foliage also offers a safe haven for birds to rest and escape from extreme weather conditions.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

Q1: How can I attract different species of birds into my garden?

To lure a wide range of bird species into your garden, consider using various bird feeders with different types of bird food. This will cater to the dietary preferences of many birds, such as tit, blackbird, robin, sparrow, greenfinch, starling, and more. Additionally, planting bird-friendly garden plants, providing water sources, and creating shelter will make your garden more attractive to birds year-round.

Q2: What is the best way to get common birds to my garden?

Common birds like house sparrows, pigeons, and starlings are often drawn to gardens with readily available food and water. Using bird feeders with a mix of bird seed and suet, as well as providing clean water in a bird bath, will encourage these birds to visit your garden frequently.

Q3: How can I make my garden attractive to garden birds year-round?

To make your garden a haven for garden birds all year round, ensure you have a variety of plants that provide food, shelter, and nesting opportunities. Bird-friendly garden plants, like shrubs and trees that produce berries and fruits, offer sustenance throughout the seasons. Additionally, keep your bird feeders well-stocked and provide fresh water year-round to maintain the appeal for visiting birds.

Q4: How can I reduce the risk of predators for small garden birds in my garden?

To reduce the risk of predators, consider placing birdhouses in strategic locations in your garden. This provides small wild birds, like sparrows and wrens, with a safe place to nest and raise their young. Dense foliage from suitable garden plants can also offer protection and shelter from potential threats.

Q5: What’s the best way to encourage birds to nest in my garden?

To encourage birds to nest in your garden, provide birdhouses, nest boxes, or suitable natural cavities where birds can build their nests. Different species may have specific nesting requirements, so research the nesting preferences of the birds you want to lure and accommodate those needs.

Q6: How do I set up a bird table to get birds into my garden?

A bird table is an excellent way to give birds a feeding platform. Place it in an open, easily visible location within your garden, and provide a variety of bird food, such as seeds, nuts, and suet. Regularly replenish the food to keep visiting birds well-fed.

Q7: What time of year is the best for watching birds in my garden?

You can watch birds in your garden all year round. Different seasons offer opportunities to observe various behaviours, from breeding and nesting in spring to bird feeding and migration in autumn. Joining the RSPB’s Garden Birdwatch program can also enhance your bird-watching experience and contribute to valuable bird conservation efforts.

Q8: Do big gardens attract more birds than small gardens?

While big gardens may offer more space for a diverse range of garden plants and bird-friendly features, even small gardens can entice birds. By maximising your garden’s potential with well-placed feeders, water sources, and appropriate plants, you can make your small garden just as attractive to birds.


In conclusion, creating a bird-friendly garden is a fulfilling and environmentally beneficial endeavour. By following these tips and taking into account the dietary and habitat needs of different bird species, you can transform your garden into a haven that attracts and supports a wide variety of feathered visitors. With a little effort and care, your garden can become a sanctuary for both you and your avian friends, enhancing your outdoor experience and contributing to the well-being of local bird populations. Why not check out our article ‘Caring for Wild Birds in Winter: A How-To Guide for Gardeners‘ to learn more about winter bird care?

Updated on May 7, 2024

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