It can be a lot of work to attract backyard birds, but doing so can offer many benefits beyond just enjoying feathered visitors.
Benefits of Backyard Birds
Wild birds are part of the local ecosystem, and attracting them to your yard means planning bird-friendly landscaping, adding fresh, clean water to the yard, and choosing the best bird feeders and birdhouses. If you do these things, you will discover benefits such as:
- Pest Control: Many birds eat a variety of insects, including aphids, mosquitoes, spiders, grubs, slugs, and other bugs that may not be welcome in a yard or garden. Attracting birds encourages them to take advantage of this natural food source, eliminating the need for harsh chemical insecticides.
- Rodent Control: Larger birds, including kestrels, owls, and hawks, will provide excellent rodent control by hunting mice, voles, rats, squirrels, snakes, and other less-welcome critters in the neighborhood.
- Flower Pollination: Hummingbirds, orioles, and other birds that sip nectar are efficient pollinators of garden flowers. This can give flowerbeds an added color boost from extra blooms, which will, in turn, attract even more birds.
- Weed Control: Finches, towhees, and sparrows consume great quantities of weed seeds, making them effective landscapers to help control unwanted plants. Planting seed-bearing flowers for birds can also give birds a natural food source to enjoy without needing frequent feeder refills.
- Food Sharing: Many fruit trees for birds are also great for birders, including apples, peaches, plums, cherries, and pears. Planting these trees and berry-producing shrubs to attract birds will also give birders fresh, delicious fruit to enjoy after every harvest.
- Environmental Conservation: Bird-friendly landscaping makes use of native plants and available resources in environmentally conscious ways. Native plants use less water and are more resistant to diseases, making them better for the local ecosystem and requiring less work to maintain.
- Increased Property Values: A home that is well-maintained with appropriate native landscaping that attracts birds has better curb appeal and good value for homeowners. This helps keep neighborhood values rising and is a great investment for home sales or rental markets.
- Education: Observing backyard birds is a unique opportunity to study local wildlife and attracting birds all year round gives backyard birders the chance to see seasonal plumage changes, migration, courtship behavior, and nesting. This is also a great way to introduce children to wildlife enjoyment and appreciation, spreading birding across generations.
- Wildlife Conservation: As more habitats become threatened through development, attracting backyard birds provides a critical oasis for bird and wildlife conservation, both for local species and migrating birds. This helps preserve birds both in the yard and in the larger local environment.
- Stress Relief: Watching birds, interacting with them, listening to their songs, and taking the time to work outdoors improving their habitat can help relieve stress and promote well-being. Time outdoors can also ensure backyard birders have an adequate supply of vitamin D and detoxify the body through the fresh air.
Bringing More Birding Benefits to the Neighborhood
In addition to enjoying the many benefits of attracting birds to one home, birders who are active in their communities can spread those benefits throughout the neighborhood. Different options can not only make entire neighborhoods bird-friendly, but will encourage more people to enjoy birds and provide much more extensive habitats for birds to enjoy.
- Plant bird-friendly landscaping at community centers, including churches, schools, city offices, and libraries
- Install bird feeders at senior centers, hospice homes, nursing facilities, and schools for more people to enjoy
- Discuss native plants with city council members, parks and recreation departments, and commercial landscapers
- Create a bird feeding or bird bath station at a local park and enlist volunteers to help maintain and refill it
- Arrange workshops or classes at local garden centers to teach bird feeding and bird-friendly landscaping basics
- Organize or participate in litter cleanups at neighborhood parks, or simply along streets and sidewalks in the community
- Organize a volunteer drive to collect money or supplies for local wildlife and bird hospitals and rehabilitators
For many birders, the best benefit of attracting birds is simply being able to enjoy them, but attracting them with proper landscaping and attentive care at home and throughout the neighborhood can lead to a range of other benefits that make enjoying the birds even more exciting and productive.