Birds, I am growing to love them. And attracting them to our backyard feeders is a new mild obsession. Learning about a mother turkey and her young that live in the area brings out my slight competitive nature.....wouldn't that be a treat for the kids and or cats! But spending a fortune on bird seed is not at the top of my list. Nor are treks to the bird stores for more seed, and the exposure to tempting birding accessories.
So I was delighted to read Cheap Eats: Attract wildlife to your backyard without breaking the bank by David Mizejewski in Birds and Blooms August/September 2012 edition. Nearly the entire article is devoted to ways to feed birds without buying seed. There is the obvious suggestion to plant sunflowers in your yard (note to self -- plant these next year). Challenge yourself to make baths and feeders out of items from rummage sales. Plant trees and shurbs that produce fruit to attract birds. And then the abandon approach...let part of your yard return to its wild state and simply see what springs forth.
This article will be close at hand as we work this fall to create flower beds in part of our front yard. The plan is to kill the current lawn and replace it with shrubs, plants, flowers, etc that will create a bird haven. And thanks to Birds and Blooms, I feel like it is an achievable goal.
One tip that was not in his article, but I read in a book about cooking for birds. Eggshells. Instead of tossing them all into the compost bin, I save some, bake them for 15 minutes at 200 degrees, smash them up a bit, and out them in a perch feeder.
What low-cost methods to you use to attract birds and other cute critters to your yard?