Transform Your Backyard Into A Birding Paradise

Transform Your Backyard Into A Birding Paradise

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My neighbor has finally quit mowing his lawn. No, he hasn’t given this task to a lawn service company nor has he decided that four foot tall grass stalks look better in his yard.

Instead, he quit fighting nature and decided that the existing stand of shade trees should be allowed to continue to grow which has resulted in most of his backyard being cloaked in continuous shade throughout a good portion of the year. For that remaining piece of sunlit area he has created a rock garden which includes several small bushes, some plants and a bird bath.

A Backyard Habitat

golden orioleWhat my neighbor has created is something millions of Americans have already done before him – they’ve turned over a section of their yard to nature, creating a birding paradise, which is another way of saying that they now have a wildlife habitat.

A number of wildlife organizations including the Audubon Society are huge proponents in encouraging homeowners to transform a section of their yards into areas where birds are welcome. Several years back I stopped by my local chapter’s sanctuary and shop, discovering that there were several things I could do in my yard which would invite a greater variety of birds.

Though we’ve moved from our previous home, I’ve put into practice those same suggestions where we now live, allowing us to enjoy a variety of birds all throughout the year.

Build Your Own Paradise

Best of all, I did all of the work myself, paying less than one hundred dollars to put everything into place. True, just as my neighbor managed to accomplish in his yard, you can spend thousands of dollars if you choose a more elaborate design. To keep things easy, I’ll share some of what I did as well as include a few ideas naturalists recommend too:

Identify your area – Not everyone can or should transform an entire section of their yard into a habitat area. Instead, consider setting aside one corner of your yard to attract birds or design your habitat in such a way as to invite both human and natural traffic.

Make a plan – I’ve found elaborate wildlife habit plans online which includes tips on how to remove aggressive weeds, naturescaping with natural plants, storm water management and wildlife stewardship. You may find these plans to be a bit daunting, as well as costly, if you’re just starting out — my recommendation is for you to keep everything simple. Later on you can expand your plans, but for here and now consider implementing a basic plan.

Execute your ideas – Your basic plan should include the following: a bird bath because birds are attracted to glimmering water where they can go to quench their thirst and to bathe in; a bird feeder and a suet feeder. Bird feeders can range in price from $10 to several hundred dollars, depending on their size, the design and what they are made of.

A basic bird feeder can be had for about five dollars, but they’re also the kind which are easily raided by squirrels. Consider investing in a squirrel proof feeder which you can hang from a pole. Suet feeders need similar protection and in both cases squirrel bafflers can make a big difference.

Additional Yard Preparation Tips

Where you place everything is up to you, but having the bird bath and the feeders in the same section of the yard will ensure that birds see and use both. People with a limited area to work with can cluster their feeders and bath, but not too close as seeds spilling into the bath make for quite a mess.

What about shrubbery or trees which can offer protective cover for birds? Not everyone wants to turn their entire yard over to the birds, but then they still want their feathered friends to feel safe when they stop by to be refreshed. Your local floral shop can recommend indigenous greenery to be planted including shrubbery favored by birds.

You may also want to consider purchasing one, two or three bird houses and hanging them strategically about your yard. Bird houses encourage adult birds to hang around and raise their young, an easier task when you’ve supplied at least some of their food and water for them.

One final thought: If you are planning to sell your home, a backyard habitat could be viewed as a plus by a buyer, particularly from the person who shares the same values as yourself. Include a park bench, a shaded area and a flower garden nearby and you could turn a home looker into a home buyer in no time.

Adv. — Need parts? Calling in a repairman to service your appliances can get expensive what with high labor costs, marked up parts and in some cases transportation surcharges. Suddenly, that fifty dollar repair costs you hundreds of dollars, money that most of us would rather not spend. There is another way — buy your appliance, camera, computer, electronic or wireless parts online and install them yourself.  Visit the Parts Store, America’s largest parts superstore and save big!

Photo Credit: Karunakar Rayker

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