Attract Birds with Baths & Shelters
Drs. Foster & Smith Educational Staff

Wild Birds Need More Than Just Food

Birds appreciate year-round seed feeding from a clean, well-kept feeder, but there are other useful methods to attract them to your yard.


  • Birds' fondness for a mist or trickle of moving water encourages them to gather at backyard ponds or to sip from grass after you turn off your sprinkler.
  • A birdbath increases the likelihood you'll catch a glimpse of birds cleaning themselves or frolicking.
  • In northern regions, where natural water sources freeze in the winter, an open (de-iced) birdbath can attract more birds than a feeder.

Convertible Winter Roost Bird House


  • Non-migrating species need places to roost, perch, and escape predators during winter. If your yard does not already include thick hedges, shrubs or vines, now is a good time to plan for next year.
  • Leave dead trees standing unless they are a hazard to people or property. They shelter woodpeckers and other cavity dwellers, and their bark provides a wealth of insects and grubs to forage on.
  • Try putting up roost boxes, which provide wintering birds warmth and shelter on cold nights.


  • Resist cutting back flowers in fall. Instead, leave the dead seed heads intact for a songbird feast.
  • Rather than bagging up all your leaves and grass in fall, keep some as mulch. This mix contains insects for ground-foraging birds and provides nesting materials come spring.
  • In an inconspicuous portion of your property, construct a small brush pile to protect and shelter wintering ground-dwellers.
  • Plant trees and shrubs containing berries that remain throughout winter, such as American holly, American cranberry-bush viburnum, and juniper.

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