Backyard Birding in Baltimore
In Maryland, the most productive time to hang up bird feeders is November through April when natural foods aren’t as readily available. During breeding season, over 90% of our songbirds feed their young insects. So, while adults may still use feeders, birds really need insects, which can be attracted by planting native species.
HOW TO ATTRACT BIRDS TO YOUR YARD
Interested in attracting some of these birds to your backyard? Take a look at these 5 simple tips, starting with the most obvious.
1. PUT OUT BIRD FEEDERS
The best and most obvious way to attract birds to your yard is to put out a bird feeder or two. Start with a simple tube feeder, hopper feeder, platform feeder, or a window feeder. For unique hand-made bird feeders click here.
2. ADD A WATER SOURCE
A pedestal birdbath is great, but you can also use something as simple as a terra cotta flowerpot saucer. Birds need water not only to bathe in but also to drink and adding a water feature to your yard will only increase your chances of attracting birds. Also consider adding a solar fountain since moving water will entice the birds to visit the water even more.
3. OFFER BIRDHOUSES
Many species of birds will readily take up residence in birdhouses if put out in the right spot at the right time of year. Eastern Bluebirds are among the most common sought after birds to attract to birdhouses.
4. PROVIDE SHELTER
Make sure that your yard has trees, bushes, and shrubs that the birds can dart back and forth to when they sense danger. This is their main defense from predators. If your yard is perhaps in a new subdivision with no mature trees then do your best to add some landscaping features that will allow birds to look at your yard as safe.
5. ADD NATIVE PLANTS
For many birds that eat nuts, berries, and seeds, having native plants that produce these things will only aide your efforts to attract more birds. Not only that, but native plants foster caterpillars and other insects that feed many birds and support nesting birds since most songbirds feed insects to their hatchlings. Try to avoid invasive and non-native plants that can out-compete the native plants that foster a healthy ecosystem.
For Maryland native plants that attract birds click here.
WHAT AND HOW TO FEED WILD BIRDS
Bird species have certain tastes when it comes to the food they eat and how it is presented to them. By tailoring the foods you offer to your favorite birds, you increase your chances of attracting them.
Seeds for birds are readily available to wild bird lovers. The best seeds to buy are those that most birds eat. Choices of seed for birds fall into eight main categories:
• Black Oil Sunflower • Hulled Sunflower • Nyjer (formerly known as thistle) • Safflower • Striped Sunflower • White Proso Millet • Suet
Click here for specific birds that eat each type of seed.
These are the most common backyard birds throughout the year in Baltimore. • Northern Cardinal • American Robin • Mourning Dove • European Starling • American Crow • Carolina Wren • Blue Jay • Carolina Chickadee • American Goldfinch • Downy Woodpecker • Song Sparrow • Red-bellied Woodpecker • Tufted Titmouse • Northern Mockingbird • House Sparrow • White-throated Sparrow • White-breasted Nuthatch • House Finch • Gray Catbird • Northern Flicker • Common Grackle • Dark-eyed Junco
Which of these birds have you seen in your backyard?