There’s one kind of home with a view that already comes mortgage-free: a bird house! With spring in full bloom, we’re sharing some tips about backyard birds, what you need to know about birdseed, and how to make a bird feeder or birdhouse. Create a safe and happy haven for birds this spring and summer, and enjoy all your new feathered friends!
A feast for a finch
Feeding wildlife is usually discouraged, but backyard birds are an exception to the rule. Since birds don’t become dependent on feeders, you can feed them guilt free! To help keep birds safe, feeders should be cleaned regularly, placed near but not too close to trees or shrubs, and at least four metres from windows. For seed, opt for a range of high-quality seeds like sunflower or niger seeds, and avoid seed mixed with oats, rice, corn, or wheat which can attract pests and are lower in the nutrients birds need. Check out your local garden or hardware store for a variety of birdseed suited to the birds in your area.
Build it and they shall come
Birdhouses are another way to invite feathered friends into your yard. Birds that nest in a natural nook like a tree cavity (for example, a chickadee or bluebird) might opt for a birdhouse if available. If you don’t know what kind of birds might call your yard home, try the NestWatch Right Bird, Right House tool to look for feathered tenants in your neighbourhood and learn about their housing needs.
Build a DIY birdfeeder with the kids
Get the kids involved and make this easy DIY bird feeder project with items you probably have around the house! Start by cleaning out a used milk carton and cutting out two squares on opposite sides of the carton. Let the carton dry before painting it a colour of your choice and covering the roof with popsicle sticks for shingles. To add a place for birds to stand, make two small holes on either side of the carton and insert a wooden dowel or plant stick. Be sure to monitor your homemade bird feeder and replace it or repair it if needed!
If you’re worried about pesky critters like squirrels or chipmunks being attracted to your birdfeeder, this list of DIY hacks can ‘squirrel-proof’ your creation and leave the feed for the intended audience: the birds.
Tea for two and two for tea
This teacup bird feeder is playful, easy to make, and will look charming in any backyard. Start by choosing a pretty teacup and saucer from your own collection, or visit a local thrift store to find a set. Use craft glue (like e6000) and a glue gun to adhere the cup to the saucer before letting it dry, then hang it up with twine. To finish, fill the teacup with your seed of choice and watch birds line up for an afternoon tea party hosted by you.
Birdhouses that keep up with the trends
A-frames are making a comeback, and this one designed for backyard birds will make a statement in your yard. This modern birdhouse DIY requires a few basic tools and materials you can find at a hardware store including a handheld drill, craft knife, glue, a wooden dowel, birch wood, and balsa wood. Thin birch and balsa wood sheets make building this birdhouse easy to do for any skill level because the wood can be cut with a craft knife and then assembled with glue—no saw or nails required.
Leave it to the pros (and the crows)
For just a few dollars, you can find a variety of preassembled birdhouses at craft stores like Michaels. Leave the birdhouse bare for a natural look that will weather in your yard. To add colour, use non-toxic paint or stain to create a kid-friendly DIY without any tools or glue required. For a natural but colourful birdhouse, use sandpaper to go over painted or stained surfaces to let the wood show through. Hang up a single or coordinated group of feeders and watch the birds flock to your yard.
Whether you add a birdhouse or bird feeder to your yard this spring, you’re sure to enjoy watching who flies by for a visit. If you really want to see who’s visiting, set up a camera and watch who stops by!
This article was written by Nicole Wray, a strategic communications professional and freelance writer.