Birding Tips

The bare essentials: food, water and shelter

Eastern bluebird © Maria Corcacas

If this sounds a lot like the basic needs of humans, you’re thinking right. Our backyard friends have many of the same basic needs as human beings, and providing these bare essentials can mean the difference between life and death.

Wild birds rely on three basic survival needs: food, water and shelter. Approximately one-third of adult Americans feed wild birds, and by providing food, water and shelter it helps birds survive, it supplements their daily diets of weed-seeds and chemically treated plants, and provides hours of enjoyment for those watching.

Food – Food is the staple of a wild bird’s life. Most wild birds that visit backyard feeders do not weigh more than 2 nickels, and they can expend up to 15% of their body weight each night just trying to stay warm. They spend up to 18 hours a day searching for food supplies, so providing healthy feeder food ensures their stability. Lyric Wild Bird Food is committed to providing healthy, filler-free food. Some wild bird food mixes contain fillers, which are neither healthy nor preferred by wild birds.

Lyric’s specially formulated mixes attract more birds, more often. Each mix contains only the freshest and highest quality ingredients, which means birds come back time and time again for the reliable (and delicious!) food source. Birds also have feeder preferences, so providing the right food in the right feeder means more types of birds, more often.

Water – Birds like birdbaths! Just as humans need to drink water to survive, so do wild birds. Countless species of wild birds are attracted to water features, which increases the birds in the backyard, and provides a lifesaving (and fun) resource. If you offer water, especially if it’s dripping or running, you may attract birds that do not feed at feeders. Many types of birds prefer insects or berries, instead of seed.

Shelter – Shelter is essential in a bird’s survival. Many species use natural resources to build their nests; however, diminshing natural resources and housing developments can strip a bird’s of its natural ecosystem. This can leave species displaced, and in need of shelter. Especially in northern states, non-migratory birds need food, non-frozen water, and shelter to survive. Provide nesting boxes in your yard to ensure a safe-haven for year-round birding!


Try these solutions to increase bird traffic at your feeder

American goldfinches on a feeder Perhaps too few birds are finding their way to your wild bird feeders and you’re wondering why. Follow these best practices for wild bird feeding to increase your chances of success.

Make sure the food is fresh

Some seeds, such as Nyjer Seed, is oily and dense with fuel that birds need. But if your bird food is not fresh, the oils will dry out and the seed will be much less appealing for the wild birds to eat. Also, keep an eye on the food after it rains or during periods of high humidity. If moisture gets in, the seed can spoil in as little as two weeks.

Fill the feeder consistently

If the feeder stands empty for periods of time, birds will move on to other yards. But the upside is that birds are always on the lookout for new food sources, so keep the feeders filled and you will eventually build up your clientele at the feeder.

Experiment with spacing feeders

While some species are not bothered by human movement indoors, others spook easily. Also, if your feeding station draws a crowd, that can keep other species away. Offer an attractive alternative to these shyer birds and try setting a feeder apart from your home and the feeding station.

Bird traffic varies

Birds are on the move and their food needs change depending on the time of year. Sometimes environmental factors such as noise and the presence of other animals can also have an effect on whether birds feel comfortable landing in your yard.

Use high quality blends to attract a wider variety of birds

Look for blends that place a premium on quality, such as those from Lyric Wild Bird Food. Our wild bird mixes are full of quality ingredients that will pop out to your sharp-eyed backyard visitors, such as shelled nuts, pistachios and dried fruit. With bargain brands, you’re often paying for filler birds won’t eat. In comparison pound for pound, Lyric is an excellent value.

Because this is nature, we see plenty of variation when it comes to attracting and feeding wild birds. But if you keep an open mind, stay patient and are willing to try new things, you’ll be rewarded with plenty of enjoyable bird gazing right in your own backyard.