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4 Ways to Make Your Yard a Haven for Northern Ohio's Birds

Are you looking to take up a new hobby? Do you want to make your backyard a more enjoyable, beautiful place? Are you eager to do your part to protect Ohio’s native species?

Birdwatching is one of many homeowners’ favorite activities. Below, we’ll tell you more about how to get started. With a little help, you can transform your yard into the perfect stopping point for the state’s birds.
1. Think About Which Birds You Want to Attract
The type of birdseed you choose will make all the difference in what types of birds you draw to your yard. However, unless you’re an enthusiastic birdwatcher, you might not yet understand just how many options you have. Learn more about the types of birds you can attract with different types of food:
  • Hummingbirds. These small birds usually only visit Ohio in the springtime. Since they sip nectar from flowers, you can draw them to your yard with a mixture of sugar and water boiled together to create a tasty syrup.
  • Blue jays and woodpeckers. These brightly colored birds love a challenge, which is one reason why they love shelled peanuts. If you scattered peanuts on your back step, you’ll enjoy watching blue jays trying clever tricks to peck them open. Be aware that you’ll have to clean up the peanut shells after the birds feast, though.
  • Goldfinches. These small songbirds beautify your yard and provide cheerful music. They prefer nyjer seed, which is also known as thistle.
  • Cardinals and chickadees. Other songbirds prefer black oil sunflower seeds or a mixture of sunflower and milo. These seeds are easy for birds to break open, and they offer birds a lot of energy.
  • Game birds. If you live in a more rural area, you might prefer to attract wild game like turkeys and pheasants to your yard. These large birds prefer cracked corn, wheat, and sorghum seeds. Only use these seeds if you aren’t interested in attracting songbirds. Bear in mind that pesky birds that damage your property, like cliff swallows, love these seeds too.
  • Wrens, thrushes, mockingbirds, and blackbirds. Many birds like these enjoy suet, or a type of feed made of seeds, fat, and other high-energy substances. The food is shaped into a block that these types of birds can easily peck at. 
There are numerous other Ohio birds that you can draw to your yard. Do a little research and talk to your local birdwatchers to learn more about other birds your seeds can attract.
2. Choose the Right Feeder
The type of food you choose goes a long way towards determining which types of birds you draw to your yard, but the type of feeder you use matters too. Here are a few of your options:
  • Hopper feeder. A hopper feeder is probably what you picture when you think of a traditional birdhouse. Most of the birds we listed above are fond of hopper feeders, but these birdhouses are harder to clean than other types.  
  • Platform/tray feeders. These birdfeeders are long, flat trays. Unlike hopper feeders, they don’t have any protection against the weather, and the seed can easily spoil. However, they attract larger birds than many hopper feeders do.
  • Suet feeder. Suet feeders are a type of wire cage that you use to store a suet cake. You hang the feeder from a tree, and the bird clings to the edges of the cage to grab at the food inside. You can find either plastic or metal suet feeders, depending on your preference.
  • Thistle feeder. Use this feeder specifically for nyjer, or thistle, seed. They’re long, tube-shaped, and usually covered in mesh with small gaps that small birds can peck through. 
Still not sure which type you need? We’re happy to help.
3. Put Out Seeds at the Right Time
If you plan to make birdwatching in your own yard a hobby, familiarize yourself with the types of birds you’re most likely to see and their migratory patterns. You want your food to help the birds, not hurt them. For instance, you should take down your hummingbird feeders by early September. Otherwise, the hummingbirds could get confused and forget to migrate in time.
Consult a book, like one of the National Audubon Society’s bird guides, to figure out what types of birds you’re most likely to see and what times of the year they’ll benefit from your birdfeeders.
4. Take Care of Your Birdfeeder
You can’t just set seeds in your birdfeeder and walk away. Make sure you check your birdfeeder to refill it every three days or so, and ensure you clean it thoroughly—otherwise, the seeds in the birdhouse can start to mold, especially after a heavy rain.
Now that you know the basics, look into the wild bird feeding products at Central Farm and Garden. We’re happy to help you sort through the options and make the best recommendation!