Attracting Birds




If you provide adequate food, shelter, and water, they are likely to visit your home. Cardinals prefer stationary or platform feeders. They also like cover near feeders, so place it close to trees and scrubs (dense foliage). Place a bird bath a few feet away, clean the bath every week. A heated bird bath is a great idea for the winter. Make sure there are places for nesting. They like thick trees, thickets, or scrubs, between 3-20 feet off the ground. Cardinals feed most heavily in the morning and evening. Keep household pets away from feeders, bird baths, and nesting areas. Cardinals are actually ground feeders, so they will happily eat off the ground.

Favorite Food Black Oil Sunflower Seed, Safflower Seed, Wild Fruit and Berries.

Plants for Food Hawthorn, Raspberry, Sumac, and Winterberry.

Plants for Shelter Box Elder, Red Cedar, Hawthorn, Nannyberry, Rose, and Wild Grape.

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Blue Jays

Considered one of the biggest, brassiest songbirds in our area. Blue Jays are know for their intelligence, able to mimic other bird calls, especially hawks. Jays have been know to mimic human voices and meowing cats. Blue Jays make nests in the crook of a tree, it is not uncommon for jays to build more than one nest. Blue Jays are here year-round. Blue Jays prefer tray or flat feeders. A great specialty feeder is the Peanut Wreath Feeder, other birds will leave this feeder alone, but watch out for those pesky squirrels.

Favorite Food Peanuts (preferably shelled), Sunflowers, Elderberries, Acorns, Suet

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RUBY-THROATED Hummingbirds

Nectar Feeders are one of the best and easiest ways to attract hummingbirds to your garden. Nectar needs to be changed every 3-4 days. Way stop there? They need more to be happy and healthy. Hummingbirds bathe to keep their feather in top condition. They’re especially fond of misters and fountains, where they seem to play in the spray. Insects makeup a large part of their diet (gnats, flies, mosquitoes and spiders). They love to eat fruit flies, bring in more fruit flies by putting out overripe bananas or other fruit. Allow spiderwebs to accumulate in your garden, hummingbirds use spiderwebs silk to build their tiny nests. Hummingbirds are territorial, so place multiple feeders out of sight from each other.

Favorite Food Nectar (Homemade or Purchased), Insects, Tree Sap.

Attraction Red flowers, Red Feeders, Red bows around Trees.



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The early bird gets the worm when it comes to attracting orioles. Baltimore and Orchard Orioles migrate to our area starting in May and leave in August. Have your feeders out by May 1st to get them to stay and build their nest in your backyard. These birds are attracted to the color orange, so look for a sugar-water feeder specifically designed for orioles. It’s not unusual for orioles to try hummingbird feeders, but their bills are often to big. Offer orange halves on a branch or feeder. Orioles love grape jelly. The female builds a pouch-like nest on the tip of a large tree.

Favorite Food Mostly Insects, Fruit (orange halves), Grape Jelly, Nectar.

Shelter Large Trees



The Goldfinch diet consists almost entirely of seeds, which means they are fans of bird feeders. Replace uneaten seed every three or four weeks. Make sure the seed stays dry, damp seed will become moldy and birds will not visit your feeder. Seed-producing plants are essential.

Favorite Food Nyjer Seed, Fine Sunflower Hearts (no shell).

Plants for Food Sunflower, Black-Eyed Susan, Purple Coneflower, and Aster.

Plants Shelter  Dogwood, Elderberry, Hawthorn, Willow Trees, and Fruit Trees.

woodpeckers, nuthatches & chickadees

Woodpeckers dine mostly on insects, but will also eat acorns, nuts, fruit, sap, berries and pine seeds. Suet, suet and more suet! Offering suet in your backyard is the best enticement to attract woodpeckers. Smear suet in the bark of a tree, offer suet cakes in wire cages or other specially designed suet feeders. The Downy Woodpecker is checkered with black and white and is found all over the United States and parts of Canada The Hairy Woodpecker is similar in appearance to the Downy Woodpecker, though it has a much longer beak and is fairly shy in comparison with its look-alike.  The Northern Flicker is a polka-dotted woodpecker that is found all over North America These birds tend to feed on insects on or near the ground, though they will eat from feeders on occasion. The Red-Headed Woodpecker is a rare bird whose population may be encouraged with bird houses. This bird's diet includes fruit, seeds, nuts, other small birds, and small rodents.

Choose the right feeder. Though woodpeckers spend a majority of their time looking for natural food sources like beetle larvae, spiders, ants and other insects, you can attract these tough-beaked birds to your yard by making wise choices about your feeder station.

  • Upright feeders will support the birds' eating positions comfortably.

  • Position feeders to mimic birds' natural feeding preferences. Suet stations, for example, will be far more effective and popular near a tree.

  • Place your feeders in more quiet locations to make the birds feel secure. Well-lit, sunny areas are also preferable as this aids visibility for always-vigilant woodpeckers.

Nuthatches are primarily insectivorous, but they will easily visit bird feeders for nuts, sunflower seeds, mealworms, suet and peanut butter, particularly in fall and winter.

What do Chickadees and weather forecasters have in common? They both predict the weather. If you see a chickadee eating heavily at you feeder a storm is probably headed your direction.. They have a middle ear that senses a change in the barometric pressure. The best way to attract a Black-capped Chickadee to your yard is to purchase a bird feeder. Some of the feeders they've been known to frequent are tube feeders, hopper feeders, platform feeders and suet feeders. Black-capped Chickadees will eat black oil sunflower seeds, peanuts and suet. These are perky, curious birds with hyperactive energy. They forage in trees and shrubs, often clinging upside down to pluck insects from underneath leaves.  They will be the first bird to find a new feeder.

Purple Martins

Look for Purple Martins to arrive in our area around April 15th.

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One of the most important steps in attracting Purple Martins is choosing the right location for your martin housing. Martins prefer housing that is placed in open areas with clear flyways. Choose the center of the largest open spot available, at least 30-40 feet from trees and within 100 yards of human housing. When installing your purple martin house, place it on a pole so it is 12 to 20 feet above the ground. Purple martins enjoy vast quantities of insects on the wing, and are much sought after for controlling annoying insects like mosquitoes. They love to eat mosquitoes, beetles, flies, dragonflies, and moths.

Nesting Birds

Use native plants that will provide both insects and berries as food sources, and minimize pruning to provide the messier, scrubbier habitat wrens prefer.  When you hear an American robin’s light, musical cheerily, cheerio, it means spring is at your doorstep. As the ground thaws and worms break through the surface, robins, members of the thrush family, become more active and present in your yard. But you can attract robins to your yard even when it’s snowing, gobbling up berries from shrubs and trees. Occasionally, you may notice a robin that looks slightly uncoordinated. That’s because it gorged itself on overripe berries and is a bit tipsy!

Favorite Food Insects, mealworms, berries.

What we can do to help Provide nesting material in the spring.