Staying in touch with nature has amazing mental health benefits, as it allows us to unplug and unwind. Nature may also help us to put things in perspective, change our mindset, exercise our observational skills, and reconnect with shared ecological experiences. In other words, a little nature in our daily lives can do us a lot of good.

It’s not always easy, however, to find a park everyday to enjoy nature. Sometimes it’s up to us to invite birds and animals into our yards as we make our spaces more naturally and ecologically friendly. The more we make it our priority in our landscaping and gardening choices to live with nature, the easier it will be to draw in and shelter birds and other delightful creatures.

Attracting birds doesn’t only offer the benefit of seeing them and hearing their songs. It also means getting the opportunity to help many birds while on their migration journey.

Here are four ways to make your yard a safe haven for birds:

1. Bring Them in with Audible Water

Birds, especially migrating birds, need water. Bird baths are a nice idea, but to attract birds in the first place, it’s best to have an audible water feature. This lets them know where water can be found. Small water features include installing drippers, bubblers, and even small fountains in your yard.

2. Offer Them a Variety of Food

Different birds like different foods. If you want to attract a variety of different winged travelers, you’ll also want to offer a variety of foods. One way to get started is to look up the best foods to offer your local bird varieties.

Black sunflower seed mixes are a great place to get started as they will bring in songbirds and other smaller breeds. You can also try putting out fruit, as well as nuts and peanut butter for birds who like a little fat in their diet, such as woodpeckers.

Suet is a fat and protein compound often served in containers that you can place around your yard. Suet offers necessary protein to those birds who might be pushing themselves while migrating. And, of course, nectar is worthwhile to bring beautiful and diverting hummingbirds to your yard. You can make a form of hummingbird nectar by boiling one part sugar to four parts water, and then allowing it to cool before putting it in your feeder.

3. Let Them Hunt Your Bugs

While some birds will prefer bird feeders for their convenient height, others will prefer to eat on the ground. Many birds enjoy the seeds that have fallen from feeders, as well as insects that may cultivate in your leaf litter. This means that yards that use insecticides will be unfriendly to birds who prefer ground scavenging. If you want birds to be able to enjoy your Fall bugs, leave a small mound or two of leaves on the ground to attract bugs and therefore birds.

4. Give Them Niches for Shelter

Birds appreciate shelter and hidey-holes. Many will opt for natural shelters, such as plants and shrubs, over bird homes that might have openings that are too small or that don’t fully shelter them from predators or the elements. Brush piles and nooks in your yard will make it feel like a safe place and encourage roosting.

Spend some time watching the birds you bring into your yard. That way you can notice and cater to their preferences while enjoying their presence.

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