January 5th is National Bird Day, and to honor our fine feathered friends we’ve put together a list of tips and ideas to make your backyard into the perfect avian sanctuary.
But first, why January 5th?
National Bird Day is on January 5 each year, as it’s scheduled to coincide with the end of the annual Christmas Bird Count. The Christmas Bird Count has been going on for more than a decade. It lasts three weeks and is the longest running citizen science survey in the world that helps to monitor the health of our nation’s birds. Birders and the public go out and count as many birds as they can see during the count.
Now that we’ve got the history out of the way, let’s get down to it!
Attracting a variety of birds to your backyard takes more than adding a few birdfeeders or filling a bird bath – a bird-friendly landscape should fulfill all of a wild bird’s basic needs, including food, shelter, water and nesting sites. With these keys to the right habitat, your backyard can attract a wide range of popular birds.
Just like humans, birds have a comfort zone that they tend to prefer. This comfort zone isn’t about the temperature or their favorite social activity, it’s called native landscaping and it’s about using local and regional trees, shrubs, flowers, and grasses that are the same plants birds recognize as food sources and usable shelter.
Using native plants is also easier for you as those plants are adapted to the local climate and will require less water, less fertilizer, and lower maintenance to stay beautiful and healthy.
Another key to creating a bird-friendly landscape is using layered vegetation that offers different layers of plants for different birds to use. When many species of birds live in the same region, they adapt to using different areas of the available habitat.
Some birds may prefer foraging on the ground for food, while others seek out food sources in low shrubbery. Some birds may nest in bushes, while others prefer tall trees and greater heights.
To provide layers of vegetation in your backyard, choose plants that will grow to different heights and space them appropriately to create a tiered effect. Larger, taller trees can be surrounded by moderately sized shrubs, which can in turn be bordered by tall grasses or low flowers. This will give many bird species attractive places to visit in your yard without feeling crowded or competing for space.
Diversity is important if you want to attract different types of birds. You can choose specific plants that are favored by certain birds you wish to attract, or opt for plants that are favorable to the birds already visiting your yard.
A great way to observe the birds in your backyard is to set up a comfortable viewing lounge that provides easy access to your bird watching gear like binoculars, a spotting scope, your field guide, and notebook for recording the species of your visitors.
The OW Lee Siena Lounge Group is a great choice as it provides swivel seating so you can adjust your viewing with the minimum amount of movement. Paired with an outdoor credenza, you’ll have everything you need to soak in the sights and songs of your new backyard companions.