If you enjoy watching birds, you don’t necessarily need to travel across the country in search of them. With a little effort, you can attract many species to your own backyard, where you can enjoy the natural ambiance of their songs.

To attract birds, you must think like a bird. Why would a bird choose to visit a particular yard? Like most animals, birds need to eat and want to raise their young in a safe place. Remember to provide food, water, and nesting sites, and many species of birds will be happy to call your garden their home.

Food. Depending upon the species, birds have different dietary species. Therefore, tossing commercial birdseed into your yard will ensure that you attract some birds, but you might not see a wide variety out there. Remember to mix it up and provide different types of seed.

Other than seed, nuts, peanut butter, suet, and fruit will attract more feathery friends to your garden. And as always, a hummingbird feeder will ensure some very special guests!

Water. Obviously, a birdbath is one way to provide water for your visitors. But a fountain or small pond can also do the trick. If you can provide running water, the sound will draw migrating birds to your yard.

Shelter. Birds are very particular about choosing their homes, as they want a safe place to raise their young. If you provide shelter, your visitors will be more likely to stick around. Some birds prefer to nest in low-hanging shrubbery, while others might love a brush pile in the corner of the yard. And of course, nailing a few birdhouses to your trees will satisfy those that prefer to build their nests high off the ground.

Last but not least: Like any small animal, birds are going to go where they feel safe. Remember that your house cat is safer indoors anyway, and keep in mind that a barking dog might startle wildlife. You might succeed in attracting birds to your yard, but a roaming kitty or noisy dog could prevent birds from making a permanent home with you.

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