Attracting wild birds into your yard is a common hobby and a great way to view our wildlife without leaving the comfort of your home. However, sometimes it might feel like you are getting the same 3 species over and over again when there are over 400 bird species native to Alberta alone. We have some tricks and tips to attract some new wildlife, ward of scavengers, and use your yard to its fullest potential. 

Unwelcome Guests

The most common backyard pests are, of course, squirrels. Squirrels are not necessarily bad, but they can become a nuisance if they are stealing your food and scaring away the birds. Luckily there are a few ways to keep your local squirrels at bay. 

Squirrel-proof feeder: The easiest way to keep squirrels out of your bird food is to get yourself a squirrel-proof feeder. Pisces recommends: Squirrel Buster Plus. Feeders like this are triggered by weight. When a squirrel climbs onto the feeder, it automatically forces the shroud down, closing the seed port. 
Squirrel repellent: There are plenty of squirrel repellents available on the market. Most squirrel repellents are made with peppers, which will repel squirrels yet leaves birds unfazed. These natural formulas are to be sprayed around the yard and garden, not directly at the squirrel.
Feed the Squirrels: Consider giving the squirrels their own food source, away from your bird feeder. Consider a mix of fruits and shelled nuts. 

Feeders with small feeder holes will help keep away predator birds like crows and magpies.  

New and Different Foods

Not all birds are attracted to the same food source. If you are looking to interest songbirds, black oil sunflower seeds, millet, nyjer and safflower work the best. Try creating different mixes to see what birds are drawn to certain seeds! Robins, wrens, bluebirds, chickadee's and other small birds are considered bug eaters, and have a staple diet of insects. Pisces recommends: Wildlife Sciences Dried Mealworms to attract insect eating birds. If you don't already have Suet in your backyard, you could be missing out! Suet is a block of rendered fat mixed with various seeds and nuts that attract fat-loving birds like woodpeckers and nuthatches. Pisces recommends: Wildlife Sciences Suet Plus Peanut Blend.

Watering Hole 

Birds love baths. Water is essential for birds to drink, bathe and preen. A heated bird bath in the winter is a golden key to bringing birds into your yard. Despite all the melting ice and snow in the winter, fresh bathing water can be hard to come across. Choose a bath with a dark basin, it will be more visible to birds and absorb solar radiation. Keep the basin filled, and clean regularly to prevent mineral deposits, and cover during very cold weather so the birds are not tempted to bathe in below freezing temperatures. 

By following these simple steps, you can guarantee your way to a lively and exciting backyard full of wildlife to enjoy!