It’s a great time to be watching for birds in our yards.

Trees and shrubs are still pretty bare of foliage, so birds are easily seen looking for food.

If there’s nothing to spark your interest because you see the same couple of species of birds in your yard, I have great news.

There are a few ways to attract new birds to your property this spring.

By changing the ways you put out feed and your food and plant choices, you can draw new species into your area fairly easily.

There are many different ways to feed birds. If you have just one type of feeder, try getting other varieties. There are tube or sock feeders, you can string together items and hang in the branches or place feed on flat plates or trays.

Remember to keep feeders clean, dry and free of hulls. Always have a few water sources available for the birds if you want to keep them coming back.

Not all birds like seeds, so trying different types of feed can attract different species. Attractive foods to a wide variety of birds include suet cakes, orange halves, thistle seeds, black-oiled sunflower seeds, popcorn, peanuts, peanut butter on pinecones, raisins, grapes, cereal, oats, pumpkin seeds, cracked corn, cornmeal, cooked potatoes and jelly.

Finally, choosing to put certain plants — specifically native trees, shrubs, vines, wildflowers, grasses, cacti and perennials — in your yard and landscape can encourage new species of birds to stop by and visit.

Most native plants work well to provide not only food but shelter and protection for the birds in our area. Their seeds, berries, flowers and branches are the most natural way we can provide a habitat and attract these birds to a closer proximity to enjoy.

Spring is right around the corner. Let’s get busy finding ways to increase the bird species population in our yards and enjoy the beauty and entertainment they provide.

Darla Menking is a certified Bell County Texas Master Gardener and a Texas Master Naturalist. Email her at

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