Attracting Migratory Birds to Your Garden

Attracting migratory birds to your backyard and garden is somewhat of a challenge because they will not come to feeders that are stocked with birdseed. Migratory birds eat insects and supplement their diet with nectar and fruit. Before leaving for warmer climates, they eat large quantities of fruits that are high in carbohydrates, which allow them to store fat that will be used as energy while they are migrating.

If you wish to attract migratory birds to your backyard and garden, plant trees and shrubs that are native to your area. When pruning in the early spring, pile branches in a secluded corner of your yard to create a brush pile. This will provide the birds a place to forage and rest where they are safe from natural predators.

Native trees and shrubs will lure insects that migratory birds love to eat into your backyard and garden. Provide a water source, whether it is a bowl of water, a fountain, a birdbath, a pond or stream. Birds love to splash in cool, clean water to refresh themselves and they also need a source of drinking water. By providing a water source, you will be sending migratory birds an open invitation to visit your property.

If there is a natural habitat nearby, try luring migratory birds by offering a feast of crushed peanuts, suet and worms. Quarter apples, oranges, grapefruit, pears and kiwi and place them on a plate for easy access. Slice bananas, melon and papaya and place them on a tree stump or post. This will attract catbirds, orioles and sapsuckers, while a sugar solution offered in a hummingbird feeder will attract grosbeaks, hummingbirds and orioles.

Create a natural habitat by planting vines, such as honeysuckle, plants, shrubs and trees. Provide water, keep cats in the house and refrain from using herbicides and pesticides that are not environmentally friendly.

You're most likely to attract migratory birds to your backyard and garden during spring and fall migration. Migratory birds don't nest in urban environments unless they are a species such as catbirds or wrens that hatch several birds each year. You may also see migratory birds in late summer when they leave their nesting sites.

Birdhouses will only lure migratory species that nest in the hollows of trees. Most songbirds nest on branches and in shrubs. They tend to avoid the cavities of trees and therefore will not nest in birdhouses. Bluebirds, purple martins, wrens and crested flycatchers are an exception to this rule. These species of songbirds are lured by certain types of birdhouses.

Birdfeeders supply nutrients to birds and supplement their food supply, though only a very small amount of their daily food intake is eaten at feeders. People tend to use birdfeeders to attract birds to their backyards and gardens for their own enjoyment.

Migratory songbirds bring flashes of color and nature’s music into the human environment. Feeders are much more important to chickadees and other birds that tend to stay in cold climates all year long. They supply food when harsh winter conditions obliterate the natural food supply.

Use natural seeds, grasses and other plants native to your area, as well as fruit and nuts to attract migratory birds to your backyard and garden. Their beautiful songs and brilliant flashes of color will bring much joy into your life.