Backyard Birds: How To Keep Them Coming

Now that Spring has arrived I notice quite a few bird feeders going up around the neighborhood. Giving in to peer pressure, I loaded up the kids and headed out to our local store to get the supplies. I am not an avid bird-watcher but I love the idea of opening my backyard to birds, squirrels, and other friendly wildlife. But, little did I know, there are a few steps to take in order to make this a pleasant experience for everyone (especially the birds).

Step #1: Know the birds in your area

I am new to the Pacific Northwest so I have no idea what kinds of birds are in my area. I did a basic Google search for “what birds live in Seattle” and found a few sites to help me identify my backyard birds. For instance, the most common bird in my neighborhood is the House Finch; beautiful, small birds who are known to frequent the backyard feeder. Now I have some information to help me take the next step–finding a home for the little guys.


Step #2: Bird house: Maybe. Bird bath: Yes! 

I live in a neighborhood just north of Seattle. We have a lot of kids on our street and I live close to a busy intersection so I determined it would be best for me to hang a feeder in the backyard rather than try to use a bird house. Not all birds will use a bird house so determine if the area you live is an ideal place to hang one. Otherwise, definitely try a feeder.

Another great way to welcome birds to your backyard (and brighten up your lawn) is to use a bird bath.


Rule #3: Know the food you should get

Instead of using a mixed birdseed, try to include nectar and fruit in the mix in order to include a wider variety of birds in your backyard.  I found some helpful information at to help me figure out what to feed the finches: Black-oil Sunflower, Thistle, and Sunflower Hearts.



Step #4: Find a safe place to hang the feeder

It is very common to want to hang your feeder near your kitchen window (just as I initially did) so you can watch the beautiful birds while doing the dishes. But did you know nearly 100 million birds are estimated to die annually after colliding with glass windows? So make sure when you hang the feeders to put them in a safe place for the birds–far from any windows or hazardous areas. To read more about how to hang your bird feeder, click here.


I hope these tips are as helpful for you as they were for me. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go re-hang my bird feeder–away from my kitchen window.


There are 2 Comments

  1. Kristin says:

    A word of caution about birdbaths. Until very recently I was keeping mine filled with fresh water, and I enjoyed seeing the birds drinking and splashing around. Then last week I noticed the scant remains of a dead songbird in the water, the victim of a crow. The day before, I’d seen the crow washing off a dead mouse in the bath. I stopped filling it with water, not wanting to attract poor, unsuspecting birds to their demise! Cats also stalk birdbaths; almost saw a bird get eaten in a friend’s yard the other day. The lucky bird got away!

  2. Sara Baxter says:

    Thanks for the helpful tip, Kristin!

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