Aside from the common sparrows, blue jays, and cardinals, experts say there are 429 species of birds in Iowa.
If you’d like to attract more of them to your backyard this spring, conservation biologist Ryan Brady suggests making your feeder more attractive to your feathered friends. Brady says the best bird seed you can put out is black sunflower seeds.
“It’s fairly inexpensive, it works for a lot of different species and it has a high-fat content,” Brady says, “so it’s good for the birds.” Brady says you should also be sure to plant some cover for the birds that’s close to the feeder so they can hide from predators.
“Shrubbery that’s going to have a lot of thick branches, provide some cover from the elements,” Brady says. “Evergreens or conifers are excellent, so maybe plant a spruce or a fir.” If it’s impractical to place a shrub near your bird feeder, consider creating other cover nearby, like a brush pile.
“Maybe branches or other clippings that you have cut around your yard to spruce things up, instead of discarding them, make a pile of them off in the corner of your yard or property, maybe near the feeding station,” Brady says.
Iowans who have a traditional birdbath might consider adding a dripper, mister or bubbler to create motion in the water. Birds can see and hear that motion from a great distance and many curious species will fly in to investigate.