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There's nothing quite like the beauty of wild birds at backyard feeders. Birds of all shapes, sizes and colors can find their favorite foods quickly and easily if you're consistent in keeping the things they like handy. And you don't need a large yard with lots of trees to do the trick. Birds will frequent feeders in any size yard, deck or porch as long as you have plenty of the things they need and love.
The most important way to attract birds to your backyard or porch is to offer the right kinds of food. Most wild bird seed blends do a great job of combining the favorites of a variety of songbirds. But if you're wanting specific breeds, like colorful finches, you'll need plenty of thistle and sunflower seeds in your mix. You can also put out more than one feeder. Use a seed blend for larger birds like blue jays and cardinals and a tube feeder filled with thistle to attract smaller birds. Hummingbirds and orioles eat nectar, so you'll need special feeders filled with liquid to attract these highly specialized birds. And make sure to include suet especially in winter, to attract insect-eating birds like woodpeckers, nuthatches, juncos and chickadees.
Having a shallow, freshwater source near your feeders will keep wild birds coming back several times each day. Ready food with easy-to-use water meets two of a bird's most important needs. If you do this on a consistent basis, including during winter by adding a heater to keep away the ice, you'll be the most popular place on the wild bird's list.
The third thing wild birds need to keep coming to your feeders on a daily basis is shelter. Placing your feeders near trees or dense hedges gives them a place to flee to when predators are around. Along with natural shelter sources, adding nesting boxes for blue birds, chickadees and purple martins will help keep these birds coming back to your yard again and again.