Birdwatching 101 Attracting Birds To Your Yard

How do you attract birds to your yard for birdwatching? We love to watch birds and do so on a regular basis without ever leaving our backyard. We can watch from our window or our deck and see usually around 4-5 different kinds of birds each day. At sometimes of the year, we have a lot more than that and it is exciting to see a new kind in the feeders.

Here are some ideas to attract birds to your yard.

  • Try a variety of birdfeeders. We made most of ours from scraps around the house and my boys love to hammer a nail and saw boards so this is a great project with a little supervision.
  • We have some that are called platform feeders. The birds actually land on the feeder and eat from the seed in the tray. We have scrub jays (blue jays), tit mouses, towhees, dark eyed juncos, and house sparrows in these feeders.


  • The second kind of feeders are the hopper kind of feeders where the bird lands on the perches and eat from holes in the sides of the feeders. Birds like house finches, goldfinches, and house sparrows like these types of feeders.

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  • Now for the more “natural” way to attract birds to your yard. We have chosen some plants for our garden area that seem to attract birds…especially hummingbirds. We planted butterfly bushes and trumpet vines on our arbor to attract butterflies but they seem to attract more hummingbirds. I am not complaining because they are beautiful and I say the more the merrier.


We have several varieties of sunflowers in our garden…..both planted with seed and those that came up from our feeder spillage. The yellow finches seem to like to eat the whole leaf of the the sunflower leaving just a little skeleton for us to look at.

We also have a fig tree in our yard and the scrub jays love to sit and peck at the fruit for an evening meal. They make a big mess but I’m glad someone is eating the figs. :)
So hopefully that gives you at least an idea of how to attract some birds to your own yard so that you can enjoy birdwatching from your window or backyard.

You may also be interested in visiting my page on feeding birds in winter….which would also apply at other times of the year as well: How To Feed Birds

Handbook of Nature Study: Benefits of Giving it a Try

Handbook of Nature Study 
Benefits of Giving it a Try 

The last ten weeks have brought me to a new understanding of the Handbook of Nature Study. Pulling together and organizing the Outdoor Hour Challenges every Friday on my blog has pushed me to really get to know how to use and benefit from this rather large book.

Here are the some benefits so far:
1. I have read the introductory pages of the book about ten times, highlighted and underlined the parts that spoke to me, and found many gems to share with others. These pages teach *me* to help my children better with their nature study.
2. Our family picked a focus area in the book and used that focus area to learn more about garden flowers. There were about ten flowers listed in the book that we have access to and we have used the observation suggestions from the book to help us better know about the flowers we have in our local area. Even when a flower isn’t specifically covered, the garden flower introductory pages helped us learn the basic structure of the flower and so much more.
3. I know now that I won’t find every item we want to study in the book and have gathered a few local field guides to supplement our study.
4. We are regularly working in our nature journals and keeping up with making field guide cards for our focus area.
5. I am no longer trying to fit our nature study to the book but rather the book to our nature study.

Are there things I don’t like about the book? Yes. Do I think that this is the only book we need for nature study? No. Is this book a positive influence on our family? YES!

If you decide to try the book, go through the first few Outdoor Hour Challenges and read the suggested pages to get you started. You don’t need to follow the activities but just reading the assigned pages in the book will give you a better idea of how you can use this book in your family.

Outdoor Hour Challenge #10 Our First Outdoor Dinner/Picnic

We had been trying all week to get outdoors to have a picnic to complete Green Hour Challenge #10 but the weather just did not cooperate. It rained and then even though the sun was out, it was really still too cold to eat outside. I was determined to eat out on the deck this weekend and it could not have worked out better. We spent the whole weekend working in the backyard because the weather was perfectly perfect.

We added a few more plants to the new butterfly garden, replaced some jasmine plants that didn’t make it through the winter, and I found two new hydrangeas that I wanted in my newly made flowerbed…a pink one and a pretty blue one.

Sunday evening rolled around and we threw some steaks on the barbeque and got out the chair cushions for the deck chairs. All was going well. The kids lit the tiki torches just fine and we went inside to grab a few more things for the table. My youngest son went out on the deck and discovered that one of the torches had completely lit on fire. My husband, who is a firefighter, was so calm and ran over to try to put it out. The older children ran and got the garden hose and put the flames out.

So after the excitement died down, we really did have an enjoyable meal. The sky was beautiful and air was warm. It felt so nice to be outdoors together enjoying a nice dinner.
first spring dinner
Here is the sky on this beautiful spring day.

spring sky
Here are a few more photos from the week’s nature time.

Figs are on the tree already!
fig tree 2
Our sunflowers have sprouted it seems like overnight and we are going to have a bumper crop.
sunflower sprout
We also continued our tree study in the woods but we are going to also pick a tree in our backyard to use for the seasonal Green Hour Challenge, more on that in another entry.