Attracting Wild Birds

There are many different birds in the world and they all like to eat different types of foods, with each one having its favourite food.

A robin in a tree
A robin in a tree

If you want to attract wild birds to your garden you first need to know which types of birds already live in your area and what their natural diet is. These birds will easily be attracted to your garden if you give them what they need.

There are four main things that you need to think about when you want to make your garden a home for birds:

  • Water
  • Food
  • Nesting places
  • Shelter


Water for drinking and bathing
Water for drinking and bathing

Birds need water: fresh, clean water. They use the water for drinking and bathing. The amount of water does not have to be a lot, even a little in a bird bath will be welcomed. If you have enough space you can think about making a pond, or do both. It is important to make sure that the water is always fresh and clean.


There are many different types of foods that are enjoyed by birds. The foods they eat include seeds (or grains), fruit, insects, nectar and even frogs, snakes and small animals. Many of the smaller birds eat seeds, fruit, berries and insects. Even though they might prefer one type of food, it does not mean that they won’t eat something else as well. Many seed eaters will sample fruit and sometimes insects and other creepy crawlies. You can attract these birds by having plants in your garden that form seed or produce fruit.

Berries make a good meal for a bird
Berries make a good meal for a bird


You can also have bird feeders for the seasons when the plants in your garden don’t have seeds or fruit. When you are using a bird feeder for seed, use a mixed seed so that it is enjoyed by more than one type of bird. To feed birds fruit you just need a piece of wood with a nail or two sticking out that you can push pieces of fruit onto.

You might need to work at attracting insects to your garden to be able to feed the insect eaters that come to visit. If you have a large garden you can make a home for frog and toads and you might get larger birds coming to catch them for dinner.


Most birds will make their nests in trees. They don’t like to be too close to the ground because of the danger of being hunted by animals. At least one medium sized tree will make the birds feel welcome. Bushes and hedges might also be used by some of the smaller birds if they feel it is safe enough. Bushes with thorns work quite well as a home for birds and to give them a place to escape danger. The bigger birds will usually make nests in very tall trees so you might only be able to attract these if you have a big garden.

Other birds nest on the ground. Sometimes they make nests under bushes, in tall grass or even in an open space where they can see danger from far away. Ducks normally nest in tall grass or reeds close to water and quail will make nests under bushes.

A strange place to build a home.
A strange place to build a home.

You can also use nest boxes and bird houses for some types of birds. These can be very attractive and make a feature addition to your garden. These will usually be placed in trees or on poles.


It is important that your winged visitors feel safe. A nice size tree and some smaller bushes or a hedge will make places where the birds can hide away from danger. Thorny bushes and hedges work very well to protect the birds from danger. They will often jump from branch to branch in the bushes while they look for food on the ground. They might also like to scratch around under the bushes looking for food and only come into wide open spaces when they think there is no danger.

A safe place for baby owls to hide
A safe place for baby owls to hide

Some birds like to perch on high branches of tall trees where they can see far around them. Even a pole or a fence will often be used as a perch.

I have given you a short explanation of the four things your winged visitors will be looking for. I hope that this short introduction to attracting birds will help you with some ideas that you can use in your garden. We would love to hear from you about what you have done and how it worked out. What birds have you seen visiting your garden? Leave a comment below and let's share stories.


[pictures from PixaBay free images]

4 thoughts on “Attracting Wild Birds

  1. James W D

    One of my favorite Science class projects way back in middle school was designing a yard to be bird friendly. I enjoyed the project so much that not only did I map out how my yard should be designed, but also did the neighbors yard on either side. Lots of extra credit there!

    A little bit of planning though can have great results. You definitely touched on all the bases here.

    1. Post author

      You don’t mention if you implemented your design in your yard. I am fortunate to have a good variety of wild birds visiting my yard. Now I just need a decent camera so that I can get some picturess of them.


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