Image    No matter what size your area, it is possible to enjoy wildlife and attract different species by what is planted. You may only have space for a small feeder and water, but that is enough to draw the attention of a bird needing a home.

I have friends which live in the city, in an apartment, in the middle of a concrete jungle, with a small patio, a few potted plants, and a couple of chairs. This attracted a pair of Doves to their home and added many hours of enjoyment for them and their young children. The Doves nested in one of the pots and laid their eggs and raised their young….all on that small patio. It was a blessing and a learning experience for the children and something to look forward to when arriving home.

A nearby water source is a necessity  during the long hot days of summer  and a simple large plant saucer will work if that is all you have to start with. Just be sure to fill it on a daily basis to encourage the birds to continue to return. During the winter make sure that fresh water is available if it doesn’t rain for a long period. A handy tip is to place a tennis ball in the water bowl to help break any frozen water.

I recently moved into an older home and my Birdbath was only there for a few days when I noticed a party of birds playing and splashing in the newly placed bath! It was so much fun to watch the different species enjoying such a simple pleasure.

Plant native plants in your area to provide shelter and food for visiting birds. Natives easily establish and require minimum care and water. Many birds in this area, such as the House Sparrow, overwinter here and a nice evergreen bush provides safety from predators and habitat for the long cold season. If you are thinking that the sparrows are a nuisance and would rather have more flamboyant birds, just remember that it is the Sparrow that eats the Japanese beetle that loves your rosebushes in the summer!

Familiar species common to this area in the winter months are Cardinals, Finches, Blue Jays, Robins, Doves, Chirping Sparrow, Mockingbird, Woodpecker, and about 50 other species. What you supply in the feeders in your area determine which birds will be visitors.

Try a mix of sunflower, thistle, and millets to attract a variety of birds or buy the premixed varieties in stores to make it simple and attract the types you prefer. Making your own mixture is fun and easy and a great project for the kids!

Begin with a few household staples ….¼ cup lard, ¼ cup peanut butter, 1 ½ cup oatmeal or cornmeal, mix until well blended.

Spread mixture on an open pinecone which has been threaded with fishing line or twine for hanging and  roll in sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, squash seeds and any type of dried fruit such as raisins. Chill in fridge until firm then hang outside in trees.

Your birds will thank you by providing a beautiful song and activity outside your windows when it is too cold or hot to venture outside.