If you want to see birds, you must have birds in your heart.
No matter where you live, being able to step outside your home and soak in all the senses of nature is such a special part of one’s day and health. Those of us who live in urban settings have to take particular care to welcome nature, rather than crowd it out.
One of the things I have come to enjoy most in the past couple of years has been the variety of birds that visit our yard. I have taken greater notice of them since my own parents have adopted birding as an interest and since my children have gotten big enough for their own sense of curiosity to match their ability to express what they see, hear, feel, taste, and smell.
Some of the ways we can invite birds to visit are by making the environment in our gardens bird-friendly, by offering a place for nesting, and by offering edible treats for birds to snack on.
Start by making your garden bird-friendly. Plant trees and use materials that aren’t harmful to birds when building fences and garden structures.
Offer birds a nesting spot and a treat to eat. Both bird houses and bird feeders can be simple wooden structures (plans, instructions, and kits are available online, just do a quick search), a hollow log, a milk carton or jug with a hole cut in it, or a hollow gourd. Additionally, for a bird feeder, you can use the shell of a coconut,the rind of an orange, a simple wooden tray or plate, or you can string a garland of cranberries, popped corn, orange slices, and stale bread chunks.
Giving birds a little treat is probably the quickest and most kid-fun and friendly way to invite birds into your garden. My daughter took pleasure in inviting the hummingbirds and local finches, robins, and jays into our garden by creating little treats just for them. The hummingbirds enjoy sweet nectar, so my daughter carefully cut oranges in half and placed them around our garden. For the seed loving birds, she collected open tree cones (Pine or Fir are good), rolled them in peanut butter, then rolled them in bird seed. She hung and tucked these in branches of the trees in our yard.
The joy of watching birds enter our yard, take a nibble, sing a little, and chatter to one another brings peaceful appreciation for this place we live and share with our winged neighbors.
Nicola Alesandrini lives in Northern California with her family, where she spends her days chasing kids, enjoying bits of nature, and avoiding laundry. She’s a jack-of-all-trades who loves economical and ecological living. She writes and crafts whenever she can squeeze it in and she blogs about it all at Which Name? .