Attracting Backyard Birds and Creating Natural Habitat

Tufted titmouse

Tufted titmouse

A large variety of colorful, interesting birds, common in yards and gardens throughout North America, can be attracted year round with suitably constructed nest boxes and a certain amount of good habitat. These “backyard birds” include the various wrens, titmice, chickadees, nuthatches, and even small woodpeckers that frequent the shrubs and trees planted around our homes. These birds can provide a never ending show of natural behavior observable through all four seasons. Providing places for them to nest increases the types of behavior that you can observe since breeding brings on territorial song, flight displays, and nest building.

View our Innovative Wren/Songbird House

Carolina Wren

Carolina Wren

Unlike many other species of songbirds, wrens, titmice, nuthatches, chickadees, and small woodpeckers flock around human habitations, are frequent visitors at bird feeders, and are quite tolerant of human activity.
The best methods to attract these birds are to maintain bird feeders year round, install nest boxes at varying heights on shaded tree trunks, and to plant a variety of shrubs and trees on your property. Such backyard habitats are not only good for attracting birds, but also a great way to attract many other types of wildlife.
Practically any yard in North America that has a few shrubs or trees can support a variety of these species. Once established, these populations of various birds exhibit a lively display of behaviors that provide entertainment and education for children and adults alike.

Black capped chickadee dee dee trimmed
Best Methods to Attract Songbirds
• Install nest boxes at varying heights, in the shade, on tree trunks or poles
• Provide bird feeders filled with a variety of seeds
• Offer sources of water such as bird baths or ponds
• Plant shrubs and trees that produce berries and seeds. Try to choose plants and trees native to your area.
o Sunflowers
o Roses
o Blackberries and raspberries
o Elderberries
o Serviceberry
o Juniper

For a comprehensive list of bird species that can be attracted to your area, go to our Wren/Songbird House page to view a list of species, view their range maps, and read specific information about where to install their nest boxes.
Here are some links to excellent sites on creating backyard habitat for wildlife:

National Wildlife Federation (Certify your backyard habitat with NWF): http://www.nwf.org/certifiedwildlifehabitat
Eartheasy: http://eartheasy.com/play_bkyd_wildhab.htm
U.S.D.A. Natural Resources Conservation Service: http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/detail/national/newsroom/features/?cid=nrcs143_023553
Florida Backyard Habitat: http://myfwc.com/viewing/adventures/wildlife-viewing-at-home/refuge/native-plants/
Nebraska Backyard Habitat: http://www.ianrpubs.unl.edu/pages/publicationD.jsp?publicationId=98
New Jersey Backyard Habitat: http://www.njaudubon.org/sectionbackyardhabitat/recommendednectarplants.aspx