The summer season has arrived and with it, summer backyard birding. Now is the perfect time to transform your backyard into a haven for beautiful birds. At Flowerland, we understand the joy of birdwatching and want to help you create an enticing environment that attracts a diverse range of feathered visitors. In this blog, we will share valuable insights on the types of summer feed that attract specific birds, tips for maintaining clean feeders and feed, the importance of water sources, and the benefits of planting bird-friendly plants. Let’s dive in!
Exploring West Michigan's Summer Birds
West Michigan boasts a diverse range of summer birds that grace our region with their presence. Some notable visitors include the American Goldfinch, Baltimore Oriole, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Eastern Bluebird, Rose-Breasted Grosbeak, Indigo Bunting, Tree Swallow, Great Crested Flycatcher, Common Yellowthroat, and Cedar Waxwing. Each bird has its own preferences and characteristics. By catering to their needs, you can attract a captivating array of feathered friends to your backyard.
Choosing the Perfect Summer Feed
To entice specific bird species, it’s important to offer them their preferred feed. Here are some feed options that can attract the birds mentioned above:
American Goldfinch: These cheerful birds are drawn to nyjer (thistle) seeds. Consider using a nyjer feeder or offering nyjer in a mesh sock feeder to invite them to your backyard.
Baltimore Oriole: Orioles have a sweet tooth and are particularly fond of oranges and grape jelly. Provide sliced oranges and place a dish of grape jelly in your backyard to create an irresistible feast for these beautiful songbirds. To learn more, read our blog “Attracting Baltimore Orioles to your Backyard’.
Ruby-throated Hummingbird: These tiny marvels thrive on nectar. Hang hummingbird feeders filled with nectar, making sure to change it every few days. Adding nectar-rich flowers such as bee balm, trumpet vine, or cardinal flower to your garden will further attract them. To learn more, read our blog “Hummingbirds in the Garden”.
Eastern Bluebird: Bluebirds are insectivorous and can also be enticed by mealworms, suet, and a variety of berries. Consider offering mealworms in a specialized feeder plus providing suet cakes and an assortment of berries to accommodate their dietary preferences.
Rose-Breasted Grosbeak: These stunning birds are known to enjoy black oil sunflower seeds, safflower seeds, and sunflower hearts. Create a dedicated feeder filled with these nutritious seeds and offer slices of ripe apples or oranges, as well as grape jelly, in small dishes or specialized feeders to entice them. To learn more about this colorful bird, read our blog “A Showy Summer Singer: Rose-breasted Grosbeak”
Indigo Bunting: These vibrant blue birds can be attracted with nyjer (thistle) seeds and sunflower seeds. Set up feeders with these options to catch their attention.
Maintaining Clean Feeders & Feed
To ensure the health and well-being of the birds that visit your backyard, it is essential to maintain clean feeders and provide fresh feed. Regularly clean and disinfect your feeders to prevent the spread of diseases. Remove any wet or moldy seeds and replenish the feed regularly to ensure its freshness. By keeping your feeding station clean and hygienic, you will attract more birds and contribute to their overall well-being.
Providing Vital Water Sources
Water is a vital element for birds, particularly during the hot summer months. Consider adding a birdbath or shallow water feature to your backyard, placing it in a shaded area. Keep the water fresh and clean, replacing it regularly. The sight and sound of trickling water will entice birds, providing them with a place to drink, bathe, and cool off.
Creating a Bird-Friendly Landscape
Transforming your garden into a bird-friendly oasis goes beyond just offering feed and water. By planting trees, shrubs, and perennials that provide food, shelter, and nesting opportunities, you can create a thriving habitat for a variety of bird species. Here are some tips:
- Native Plants: Incorporate native plants into your landscape as they attract a wide range of birds. Consider species like serviceberry, dogwood, coneflowers, milkweed, oaks, and maples. These plants provide food in the form of berries, nectar, and seeds, while also offering shelter and potential nesting sites.
- Varying Heights and Layers: Create a multi-layered landscape with different heights and vegetation densities. This allows birds to find suitable perches, build nests, and seek shelter from predators and weather conditions. Mix tall trees with shrubs, grasses, and flowering plants to create a diverse and appealing habitat.
- Berry-Producing Plants: Include berry-producing plants in your garden to provide a natural food source for birds. Shrubs such as elderberry, viburnum, and winterberry holly are excellent choices. Not only do they attract birds, but they also add beauty and color to your landscape.
- Nesting Boxes: Install nesting boxes suitable for specific bird species. Bluebirds, Tree Swallows, and Eastern Bluebirds are known to use nesting boxes. Place them in open areas with a mix of trees and meadows to create an ideal nesting environment.
Embrace Summer Backyard Birding
Embrace the beauty and wonder of summer backyard birding in West Michigan by creating a haven for our avian friends. By offering the right summer feed, maintaining clean feeders, providing water sources, and planting bird-friendly trees, shrubs, and perennials, you can attract an array of captivating species. From the American Goldfinch and Baltimore Oriole to the Ruby-throated Hummingbird and Rose-Breasted Grosbeak, each bird brings its unique charm and melodies. Let your garden become a sanctuary where both you and the birds can find joy and serenity in the wonders of nature. Happy birdwatching!