Attracting Migratory Birds to Your Garden

Migratory birds, unlike the local birds, do not visit a garden or backyard simply because the feeders are stocked with birdseed. These types of birds normally eat insects, as well as nectar and fruit to supplement their diet. Migratory birds eat large quantities of fruits high in carbohydrates, energy source that is stored in their bodies which are important when they take flight and migrate.


In order to attract migratory birds to your backyard and garden, you may want to consider planting native trees and shrubs. Planting native trees and shrubs attracts insects which are staple food for migratory birds into the backyard and garden. Built a feeding platform and provide the birds with incentives such as apples, kiwi, oranges or pears (or a mix of local fruits). You can also stake some papayas or melons on a tree stump or post to attract these birds. Birds that like fruits include orioles and sapsuckers.

You can also consider filling a container (feeder) with sugar solution that will attract hummingbirds and orioles. Crushed peanuts, suet and worms will attract an array of migratory birds as well.

Migratory bird will feed over winter in order to prepare themselves for flight in spring. They require food that is high in carbohydrate (energy). Suet bird feed, which is high in protein and fat, is also ideal for wintering birds. To make suet bird feed, follow the simple steps below:

  1. Liquify beef fat (suet) by melting it, and then allow the fat to cool down so that you get a thickened consistency (pasty).
  2. Mix in cornmeal, wild bird seeds, nuts, and other foods that insect-eating birds like.
  3. Then form the mixture into a ball, or any other shapes that you prefer.
  4. Place this inside a mesh bag and freeze it in the freezer to allow it to harden.
  5. Once the suet is solidified, hang the mesh bag with a nail on a post or from a tree branch (close to the trunk).


Pile pruned branches in early spring in a area that is slightly away from the house (preferably in a secluded corner) that will provide a foraging area as well as a resting place for the birds. Planting vines creates a natural habitat for the birds to rest and seek shelter from. Try using honeysuckle, plants, shrubs and trees and do not use herbicides and pesticides that may otherwise harm the birds. Keep your cats (if you have one) indoors. Cats are a sure fire way to make migratory bird real estate go down in value!


Water should also be provided to the birds. You can do this with something as simple as a bowl of water, a bird bath, to a fountain, birdbath or even a pond. These birds will use the water to drink as well as refresh themselves with a splash. If you decide to use a bird bath, make sure that you change the water every other day. This not only keeps the water source clean and fresh, stagnant water can be a place for mosquitoes to breed.

Keeping dirty water will only make the birds sick. Add a few drops of GSE to the water to counter this, along with keeping the habit of replenishing the bird bath with clean water. GSE are also good anti-parasitic solutions as its keeps mold and algea from growing in the bird bath.

Some birds do not like bird baths. Hummingbirds would take their bath in flight, so a great way would be to make a small spray fountain or run a hose that trickles water. You can purchase this customized birdbath with a built-in dripper.


Make sure that you position your bird bath in a location that is safe for the birds and viewable for you too. A safe location is important to ensure that the birds are protected from predators (like a house cat). You can hang a light bird bath from a tree (or a support) that is high enough so that cats cannot reach them. Keep your cats (if you have one) indoors. Cats are a sure fire way to make migratory bird real estate go down in value!

Also ensure that the position of the bird bath is within reach of a hose so that it is easy for you to clean and refill it. Make sure that the bird bath is AWAY from the feeding area though. This is because you do not want to contaminate the bath with seeds and droppings from the feeding area.

Birds will welcome a sanctuary like a well prepared garden in the back yard, especially when more land is being used these days to accommodate the ever-growing human population. Yards and city parks have become important habitat for migratory birds. By adding these features in your landscape and providing feeding stations, you will be making your garden an oasis of food, water and shelter for these creatures. Feeding and watching birds provides you and your family with the opportunity to conserve nature right in the back yard. You will be teaching your child the importance of conservation, and it is a wonder that can be both enjoyed by children and adults, as you learn, observe the hatching of young chicks and understand the natural way of pest control in your area.

More Reading:

Feeding Wild Birds:


Inviting Wildlife Into Your Garden:

Paul Duxbury, Attracting Wild Birds;