Make your backyard a summer haven for wild birds! (And for you and your family, too.)
Every backyard can be a haven for backyard birds. It can be so simple! With three humble elements—no matter the scale, level of your effort or limits of your budget—you can support the health and wellbeing of generations of wild birds.
If you haven’t started a backyard habitat or want to add to one, summer is a great time to do it. Here are some of our best tips on getting the most out of summer backyard birding.
The Backyard Birder’s Summer Checklist
- Water, water WATER! All wild birds need water for drinking and bathing, so there’s a great opportunity for you to host birds not tempted by your seed feeders.
KEY: Keep the bath clean and the water fresh. You may need to check more frequently and top it up. For details on maintaining your bird baths, see our resource page ‘Wild Birds, Summer and Water‘.
- Worried about mosquitoes in your bird bath? Don’t!
Reasons why a well-maintained bird bath WILL NOT breed mosquitoes:
- Birds eat mosquito larvae! No self respecting bird will leave this tasty treat behind.
- Mosquito larvae takes minimum 7-10 days to hatch. As a conscientious host, during that time you will have freshened the water several times. (Did you read ‘Wild Birds, Summer and Water‘?)
- Mosquito larvae tubers will drown due to the frenzied, bathing activity of your guests and the timely refilling and freshening you do..
- Where are mosquitoes breeding? See Mosquitoes, Bird Baths and Your Backyard to find out more.
- It’s Hummingbird Season and fresh nectar is essential! Feeders should be emptied and rinsed (no soap!) two to three times a week—or sooner if it looks cloudy—and refilled with fresh nectar. See our resource page about Hummingbirds for more, including an easy nectar recipe!
- Clean feeders regularly! Check for mold and clumpy seed, particularly after lots of rain and humidity. Hot soapy water is great for seed feeders. Soak. Scrub. Rinse well. Dry. Refill. See ‘Clean Feeders and Quality Food Matter’.
- Keep shell debris at a minimum under your feeders. Accumulated shells may carry mold and mold can be deadly to ground feeding birds.
- Clean out your bird houses/nest boxes after each brood and they will nest again!! Cavity nesting birds have 2-3 broods a season. They prefer clean houses for each brood. See our resource, Placing and Maintaining Bird Houses.
- Don’t prune during nesting season as most birds nest in dense shrubbery, bushes and trees. Please be aware and delay until Fall when possible. Wildlife rehabbers are seeing too many injured nestlings from pruning incidents.
- Please, PLEASE don’t use pesticides, especially widespread spraying for mosquitoes.
Birds, including Hummingbirds, feed their babies almost entirely on insects while they’re in the nest.
Pesticides kill all the beneficial insects and caterpillars, too! A healthy insect population is critical to a healthy backyard habitat. See our Earth Day blog post on more about pesticides and wild birds.
- Some pesticides are now illegal in Montgomery County. See the Pesticide Law home page and MoCo’s extensive resources for organic lawn care.
Take Time to Relax and Enjoy
- Don’t miss all the adorably awkward juvenile birds learning how to use your bird feeders and baths!
Thank you for continuing to support wild birds and our ongoing efforts here at the store.
Happy Summer Birding!
Debi, Mike and The Backyard Naturalist Team