Chirping birds of all kind add a touch of beauty and a sense of life to your garden. But there’s another excellent reason you want to attract birds to your backyard: pest control. Unlike pesticides that do more harm than good, bug-eating birds can save you lots of headaches. What’s more, the birds find something to eat and your garden is ridden of pesky pests — it’s a win-win!
Attracting the right insect-eating birds, however, is not going to be an easy walk in the park. Try the following tips to lure in more bug-eating birds.
Don’t let the beauty of bluebirds fool you; these attractive birds are voracious feeders who feast on a wide variety of bugs, including grasshoppers, beetles, moths, larvae, and crickets.
How to attract bluebirds to your garden?
- Set up proper nesting boxes or birdhouses
- Install a birdbath or outdoor fountain — bluebirds love them
- Stock the feeders with mealworms
- Plant elderberry, sumac, and other berry flowers
While most of them suck nectar and eat berries, all species of oriole feed on bugs, especially beetles, larvae, grasshoppers, and caterpillars.
The key to attracting bluebirds to your garden is all about cover. You need to plant a few trees where they can hide, take cover from elements, and build their nests. It so happens that these beautiful birds love to nest in cottonwood, poplar, elm, oak, or willows, so planting at least one of these shrubs or trees in your backyard will be a huge magnet. More than that, you need to feature a few flowering and fruiting plants like raspberries, berry bushes, and fruit trees.
Cardinals are birds worth attracting to your garden because they are indiscriminate eaters of leafhoppers, beetles, snails, grasshoppers, and stink bugs.
How to attract cardinals?
Grow fruiting trees and shrubs, stock your feeders with sunflower seeds, and have some berries/fruits in the tray feeder.
Whether hairy woodpecker or downy woodpecker, every gardener will fall in love with a woodpecker. It’s an avid feeder of all sorts of crawling insects, from borers to carpenter ants to weevils and beetles. While most homeowners worry about woodpeckers, don’t sweat it — they’ll not touch your wood siding because they prefer deciduous trees.
How to attract woodpeckers?
- Build an upright bird feeder
- Install appropriate birdbaths and nesting boxes
- Leave dead trees/logs standing in your garden
Nuthatches feed mostly on shrub and tree bugs such as caterpillars, borers, earwigs, and ants. Plant sufficient cover and add mealworms as well as nuts in the bird feeder.
Other bug-eating birds to attract include sparrows, swallows, titmice, chickadees, warblers, and grosbeaks. The general rule of thumb is to provide birdbaths, restock the feeders regularly, and plant enough cover.