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Birds For Natural Pest Control

May 7, 2008

Attracting birds to your backyard is not only fun for birdwatching but can also serve as natural pest control. Spring is a time when migrating birds return to our yards to enjoy the warm weather. However, so do the many unwanted pests that prey on the new growth of our precious plants. Don’t get me wrong, not all bugs are bad. Actually, 95% of all insects are beneficial or harmless to people. So keep the insecticides on the shelf and reach for the birdseed instead (see also Other Bird Foods).

Insect-eating Birds

Western BluebirdMost birds that visit your feeders are not interested in eating seed, but rather the live insects and other cold-blooded vertebrates that are flooding your yard come spring. Remember, not all insects are bad so get rid of that ugly bug-zapper and let nature do its thing.

  • Crawling insects: Blackbirds, bluebirds, sparrows, crows, wrens, cardinals, bobolinks, and more
  • Tree catepillars: Scarlet Tanagers, Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, warblers
  • Flying insects: swallows, nighthawks, flycatchers, warblers, swifts, Cedar Waxwings
  • Tree-Crevice insects: chickadees, nuthatches, creepers, woodpeckers, Black-and-white warbler
  • >>More on insect-eating birds

If you don’t already have birds flocking to your yard to gobble up those pesky grubs and aphids, then take a little time understand what attracts certain birds to your area. The basics to providing a healthy habitat for your feathered friends includes food, water, shelter, and a place to nest. >>More on bird basics

Other Bird Foods

  • Suet cakes for western bluebirds, chickadees, jays, towhees, warblers, and more. Since suet can be quite messy, but commercial cakes are mainly convenient for humans, not so simple for the birds. Buy cakes that contain ingredients that are easy for birds to eat and avoid the slippery, fat-covered seeds that are hard to crack. >>More tips and how-to recipe
  • Hang a pine cone covered with peanut butter outside a window for woodpeckers, chickadees, and titmice. PB is best served during cooler weather and be sure to only use small amounts. Imagine trying to swallow a PB & J without a glass of milk! >>More on peanut butter
  • Halved fruits like oranges, berries, bananas, cherries, etc for orioles and tanagers. Chop up and soak raisins and currants for mockingbirds, catbirds, wrens, and thrashers.

Other Bird Topics of Interest

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. May 7, 2008 12:00 pm

    Birds are fun to watch, however birds carry over 60 different diseases through their droppings. Also bird droppings are very acidic causing plants to suffer and ultimately. If you want more information on this visit

  2. May 7, 2008 12:09 pm

    I took down the bird feeder from my balcony today, only because of the droppings they leave behind and because we spend a good deal of time out there, BBQing and such in the summer months. But the poor things look so pitiful and confused when they come to where the feeder was and there’s nothing there, I think I might have to figure something else out for a feeder. They are such lovely company. 🙂 (They do have very acidic doo-doo though…it’ll eat the paint off your car if left for any time.)

  3. May 9, 2008 9:36 am

    Kelly, thanks for your comments. I did not mean to undermine the prevalence of bird diseases. I have since posted an article on safe bird feeding, Help Stop Spread of Bird Diseases. Thank you for the awareness of safety!

  4. May 12, 2008 10:15 pm

    I couldn’t agree with you more Nancy. If you find that your yard is prime real estate for all roosting birds in the neighborhood, then its time to move the feeder. I feel bad for the neighbor across the street with the HUGE walnut tree that’s home to all of the city’s crow population.

    Slight exaggeration…

  5. July 31, 2008 9:47 am you can buy bird control products online. They have great products that work.

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