Everybody loves song birds and wants them in their backyards. What is your favorite songbird? Maybe it is the American Goldfinch or the Scarlet Tanager. Or maybe it is a Cerulean Warbler or the Northern Cardinal. Are there custom bird feeders or custom built bird houses that will attract specific birds?
Given a choice, every species of bird prefers a specific kind or type of food and a specific size cavity or platform to build a nest. The key is to figure out the five W's and the one H; Who, What, Why, When, Where and How for every bird you are looking to attract.
The first thing to keep in mind is the principal that every living organism needs three things to survive which are Food, Water, and Shelter. If we apply this principal to songbirds then we need to figure out what type of birdseed or food each bird prefers, provide a safe clean water source, and for nesting provide the proper nesting box or platform for the bird we want to attract.
Now that I have you thinking about a basic ecosystem the next thing I recommend for new and experienced backyard birders is to ensure you have at minimum two types of feeders. The first being a feeder for mixed seed and the second is a thistle feeder. No matter where you live these two feeders have the potential to attract about ninety percent of the birds in your area.
The mixed seed feeder can contain many types of seed depending on your situation. If seed hauls and seeds growing below the feeder is not an issue than using Black Oil Sunflower seed or a quality songbird or premium seed mix is a wise choice. If seed hauls and germination is a concern than using Hauled Sunflower Seeds is a great choice, although be prepared to pay a premium price for this seed choice.
Custom bird feeders come into play when we talk about Thistle, or Nyjer, seed. Thistle seed is a very small seed and requires a specific kind of feeder. There are many choices one can buy for this type of feeder, but remember that you get what you pay for. Some of the many birds that prefer thistle seed are Finches and Pine Siskins.
The third part of attracting birds is to provide a nesting box, which also may be used for shelter in incumbent weather, for the birds. Some birds nest in a cavity while others will only nest on some type of open nest like a platform or in the crotch of a tree. The size of the cavity matters as well as the location of the nesting box.
When it comes to nesting boxes there are many options to acquire them from making your own custom build bird houses to buying one already made. Just remember to ensure the nesting box is made from quality materials and is specific for the bird you want to attract. Also ensure the nesting box you make or buy does not have a peg. Pegs on a bird house is a very bag thing to have and no bird in North America needs a peg on the house.
Lastly and the most important element to attract birds is water. Make sure your water sources are clean and safe for your birds and no more than three inches deep. All water sources for songbirds should be at least three feet off the ground and more than five feet away from bushhes and trees to prevent predators from waiting in ambush.