Summer is the easiest season of all to attract birds, but it is essential to meet birds' needs for food, water, shelter, and nesting sites even in such an abundant season. By knowing what birds need throughout the summer, birders can attract even more species to their yards all season long.
How to Attract Birds in Summer
Whether summer is just beginning or has already heated up, any backyard birder can be successful in attracting birds in summer if they meet birds' critical needs for survival. If you take steps to meet birds' needs for food, water, shelter, and nesting sites, you will be pleasantly surprised at how many different birds take you up on your avian hospitality.
During the summer, wild birds have many natural food sources to take advantage of. Providing landscaping that can feed birds with fruits, berries, and insects is a great way to make those natural food sources work for attracting birds. Furthermore, that food will be even better if toxic pesticides are minimized. Summer birds will readily visit reliable, nutritious food sources at feeders as well, particularly when parent birds are stretched to fill their hungry hatchlings' bills. Black oil sunflower seed, nuts, mixed birdseed, no-melt suet varieties, nectar, jelly, and mealworms are some of the best food choices to offer birds during the hottest months.
Offer Clean Water
A fresh, clean water source is essential for healthy summer birds. As summer temperatures rise, smaller natural water sources such as puddles and creeks can easily dry up. Adding a birdbath, fountain, or pond to backyard landscaping can be a summer bird magnet. Moving water with drippers, misters, or wigglers will help keep the water cleaner and small splashes will announce the water to birds' keen hearing. Multiple water sources can make a yard even more attractive to birds, and clean baths will help keep summer birds refreshed and healthy. Birdbaths come in many styles, sizes, and designs, giving them plenty of variety to enhance any backyard.
Birds need protection from harsh weather and predators in every season, and summer is no exception with its sometimes intense thunderstorms, strong winds, and high heat. Both trees and shrubs are useful for sheltering birds, and planning bird-friendly landscaping with thicket areas to provide deep shade will also help shelter birds and keep them cool. In a yard that does not have mature landscaping, a brush pile can be a great addition, and thorny plants provide additional protection for birds. If hollow trees are part of the landscaping, they should be stabilized and preserved for birds to use.
Provide Nesting Sites
Summer is nesting season, and birds compete heavily for prime nesting sites. Offering good nesting areas in your yard will attract bird families, and one of the best ways to do so is with appropriate birdhouses. The houses should not only be safe but should also have the proper dimensions, including entrance hole sizes, to help protect nesting birds from unwelcome visitors. Not all birds are cavity-nesters, however, and providing bird-friendly landscaping safe from predators will also create good nesting sites for other backyard birds. Adding nesting material to the yard will also encourage birds to nest nearby by making it easier for them to construct their nests.
Tips for Keeping Summer Birds Safe
Summer may be a great season for birds, but there are many threats summer birds face. There are ways that birders can help protect their summer birds, however, including:
- Using window clings or other deterrents to prevent bird-window collisions.
- Cleaning and sterilizing baths and feeders regularly to prevent the spread of avian diseases.
- Keeping cats indoors and taking steps to discourage feral cats that will prey on birds.
- Minimizing pesticide and insecticide use that could be toxic to backyard birds.
- Know how to help baby birds and what to feed baby birds if necessary.
- Regularly inspecting feeders and birdhouses so they are in good repair and safe for birds to use.
Additional Ways to Entice Birds to Your Yard
If you have a bird-friendly backyard but can't seem to encourage summer visitors, other techniques can invite even more birds to your property.
Choose flowers and plants in colors that will attract birds, and opt for varieties that bloom multiple times so they will continue to be attractive to birds all summer long. Use moving water in a sunny location to attract birds both with sounds and reflections, and take steps to keep birdbaths full on the hottest summer days. Also make sure to minimize disturbances to backyard birds, including loose pets, loud noises, rambunctious play areas, or other activities that could scare or stress birds.