bird feeders, Bird photography

5 Reasons Why You Should Have a Bird Feeder in Your Backyard

bird feeder in your backyard

For some people, having a bird feeder in their backyard is an obvious choice. They understand that there are several rewarding benefits of this simple gesture towards nature. The question is not should they put up a feeder, it’s which bird feeder is best to attract the most birds.

But for those of you wondering why you should place a bird feeder in your yard, this article is for you. The truth is, there are many great reasons why you should partake in this activity.

Here are 5 diverse reasons why people choose to have a bird feeder in their backyard.

backyard bird feeder review

Of course, our main reason for hanging a bird feeder in our yard is to capture some incredible pictures of birds from home. An image of a wild bird visiting your bird feeder isn’t as dramatic or authentic as one with the species surrounded by their natural habitat, but they can still be beautiful.

Because you have a way to reliably predict where and when birds will return to the same spot, you can prepare your photography gear for just the right moment. If pictures of birds on the feeder aren’t your taste, you can try setting up some natural perches in the surrounding area.

Entertainment/Pleasure

For many, grabbing a pair of binoculars or simply looking through the window at the birds gathered on or around the feeder provides a sense of enjoyment. We keep a pair of compact binoculars by our backyard sliding door in case something interesting catches our eye at the bird feeder.

Tracking different bird species, observing the power struggles between different birds, and watching squirrels tireless efforts to outsmart your ‘squirrel-proof’ feeder can be relentlessly entertaining. Watching all of this unfold in your own backyard can be entertaining and a relaxing past-time.

If you’re passionate about bird photography, the idea of capturing a close-up image of a wild bird on your bird feeder may not interest you they way a “real” birding expedition does. However, it offers a great opportunity to hone your photography skills and test new equipment.

bird photography at bird feeder
Our bird feeders see a lot of action in the early spring!

You can experiment using different focus modes on your camera, to capture the sharpest image possible. Once you feel confident in your approach to photograph the birds that visit your feeder, you’ll be ready to apply these proven techniques in the field.

We usually keep at least one camera and telephoto lens by the back door in case a photo op presents itself. If you need some help in this department, be sure to see our tips for photographing small birds.

Education

For both adults and children alike, we can learn a little more about the native species in our backyard to make a connection with nature. Backyard bird watching is a great way to involve and engage children in learning about the different bird species to expand their knowledge.

Involving children at a young age can also help to grow their interest in bird or animal conservation and respect for nature. 

There is so much to learn from our feathered friends, from their complex and entertaining behaviors to the ways they adapt to harsh and unforgiving weather conditions.

The hobby of birding offers a lifetime of learning. There is a seemingly endless amount of species to learn about, and each one of them has unique qualities that you can continue to observe and enjoy for a lifetime.

backyard bird watching

You can learn a variety of bird calls and songs by paying attention to the daily activity in your backyard. Hanging a bird feeder will increase the amount of activity, and provide more examples for you to listen to and identify.

Relaxation

Far too often in our modern life, we are removed from nature and confronted with stress from daily commutes, pressures from work or lack of time. Having a backyard feeder is a great way to reconnect with nature and forget about the annoyances of our daily lives.

Sitting in a chair on a deck or patio watching birds flutter from perches to the feeder, listen to their birdsong is a great way to unwind. On a simpler level, birds are busy feeding their young, gathering food and nest materials, and potentially traveling thousands of miles during migration.

Watching the ferocity of these little creatures can contribute to a sense of relaxation or is simply distracting from the business of our lives. If you don’t have a bird feeder in your yard yet, you can watch bird feeder camera live streams online from all over the world.

Woodpecker Feeder

Welfare

Oftentimes we think that birds need our help to survive, that if we didn’t feed them they would struggle to find food elsewhere. Wild birds get most of their nourishment through natural resources, so it is unlikely that the bird feeders in our yards play a role in their survival during the warmer/milder months.

During the spring, feeders can be a good refueling location during the migration season and can be helpful for adult birds who are caring for hungry nestlings. During the winter months though, these feeders provide an additional food source when natural food resources are scarce. 

Many people wonder whether you should stop feeding birds in the summer or not. There is certainly nothing wrong with keeping your backyard bird feeder fully stocked during the summer, but you may notice that the birds stop coming by. This is simply because they have found reliable sources of food in nature and don’t need as much “help” from us.

There is no need to be concerned if birds stop visiting your feeder in the warmer months. It usually means that they have an overabundance of natural foods available in their natural environment.

Conservation

The loss of useful habitat is a threat to birds and their ability to nest and raise their young. Human activity continues to eliminate these habitats and native plant species which provide an important food source for these species.

As native plants and wild areas are eliminated, so too are the insects that fed on those native plants and the birds that are those insects.

In an effort to contribute to conservation, many people have taken to planting native plant species and bushes for shelter as part of their landscaping and adding a variety of different resources their yard as a way to assist in providing an inviting space for birds (i.e. feeders with seed, suet, birdhouses, birdbaths, etc.).

backyard birding

Here are some tips for creating a bird-friendly backyard.

In addition to adding these resources to your yard, logging your bird sightings in your yard can also help contribute to conservation efforts through web and mobile application known as eBird.

Logging these species helps conservationists understand bird numbers and species. You may also choose to support conservation efforts beyond your backyard and join or support a conversation group in your area. 

Connecting with Nature

For nature enthusiasts, hanging a bird feeder might be an obvious choice. You make a cognitive effort to get outside, go for hikes, take photographs, and reconnect with nature and you want to bring that enjoyment to your backyard.

For others, having a feeder provides a great reason to get outdoors daily to reconnect in their own yard, regardless of how briefly. You might even find yourself getting outside more to enjoy the sites at your feeder, or take your adventure even further to your favorite trail or park.

A strong connection with nature is so important, not just for our overall mental health, but as a way to reinforce environmental stewardship.

Northern Flicker

As always, all of the bird photography in this article was captured by us. Some of these images were even captured in our own backyard! You can see more of our bird photography in the gallery.

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