Spring is here, which means wildlife migrations are in full swing. Bird-watching is a great opportunity to enjoy wildlife — and it’s an activity you can do right from the comfort of your own home while you are social distancing!
Robins are currently migrating through Utah in large numbers and are a popular bird species to see in neighborhoods. Hummingbirds and mourning doves will also start migrating through Utah soon as well and are commonly seen in backyards.
Here are some tips to improve your bird-watching from home:
Attracting Birds To Your Yard
If you want more birds to use your backyard as a pit stop or nesting place, a good way to attract them is by installing some bird feeders
. The best bird seed varieties typically consist of black oil sunflower, white millet, cracked corn or any bird seed mixes sold at local stores. Hummingbird feeders are a little more specialized and require nectar instead of seeds. You can even make your own nectar essentially just sugar water. Here is a recipe from the National Audubon Society
A variety of sparrows, goldfinches, chickadees and other perching birds are also often attracted to feeders. Homeowners should note that while bird feeders attract feathered species, they can also attract unwanted wildlife like bears or raccoons. If you live in the foothills or other mountainous parts of the state, it’s recommended to remove or properly secure bird feeders at night. Planting native plants can also increase the variety of birds you have in your yard. Some good plants to attract birds are berry-producing shrubs, lilacs and conifer trees. You can find more information on the DWR website
about the types of vegetation to plant to attract birds and how to landscape your yard to be wildlife friendly. Homeowners should note that baby birds and nests with eggs are protected under the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act. You are welcome to prevent birds from nesting on or in your home, but once there are eggs or baby birds in the nest, you must wait until they have left the nest before removing it.
Online Bird-Watching Resources
There are several good online resources to learn more about different bird species and to help you identify the birds you do see in your yard such as allaboutbirds.org