Backyard birding is a favorite habit for many homeowners. It’s fun to see old friends like robins and cardinals return each year. And during migratory periods, spotting an unusual species can be a once-in-a-lifetime thrill. Here are five tips for attracting birds to your backyard this spring.

Provide Shelter

Birds prefer the natural shelter of trees and shrubs. A blank backyard with nothing but an expanse of empty grass won’t attract many birds. Work with a landscaper to plant trees and shrubs around the perimeter of your backyard. You could also strategically place trees and shrubs around the yard based on the amount of sunlight you get in certain locations. Birds will gravitate to trees and shrubs, and if you provide food and water, they may even stay awhile.

While you’re waiting for your plants to mature, you can set up decorative birdhouses on posts in your flower gardens to give birds options for building nests in locations that feel safely secluded.

Canva Design DAFBuEhaTJc

Use a Variety of Feeders

Different bird species prefer distinct types of food. Black oil sunflower seeds are fairly universal, but some birds such as woodpeckers and nuthatches prefer suet feeders. Cardinals and jays like hopper feeders, while smaller birds such as chickadees and finches like tube feeders. Hummingbirds want nectar feeders, while ground feeders like to scrounge around for birdseed that other birds may have dropped.

You can also place a cut orange on a raised platform or impale it on a hanging feeder. Birds will come to partake of the juice and pulp. Just be sure to remove the rind when they’re done so it doesn’t rot or get moldy, as this would pose a health risk to the birds.

Don’t Forget the Water

Birds will be grateful for the birdseed you put out, but they shouldn’t have to look elsewhere for water. Set up a decorative birdbath and keep both the basin and the water in it fresh and clean to prevent the spread of avian diseases. Birds use birdbaths not only to splash around and refresh their feathers but also as sources of drinking water. A solar pump that keeps water moving and creates a burbling sound will attract more birds.

Canva Design DAFBuMmcOLs

Plant Colorful Flowers

Bright colors attract birds. Create a garden of brilliant flowers known to attract birds, who will visit frequently to pluck seeds or sip nectar. Flowers that attract birds also may attract beneficial pollinators such as butterflies and bees, which will keep your garden blooming.

Canva Design DAFBuVcQl_o

Consider Corralling the Cat

Keep Fluffy indoors if you want to attract birds to your backyard and keep them coming back. Cats are notorious bird-killers, and they’ll quickly pick up on when birds visit. Hang feeders and birdhouses high enough to deter neighborhood cats.

These five tips for attracting birds to your backyard this spring should attract both native birds and those that are just passing through on migratory journeys. Enjoy your feathered friends as they revel in the backyard haven you have created!