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For me, there’s nothing that sparks envy quite like a vibrant yard full of blooming plants, buzzing bees, and fluttering birds. With the right approach, people can elevate their yards from simple green spaces to thriving wildlife havens — but doing so requires a bit of wildlife knowledge. So what colors attract birds to a yard, anyway?
To be sure, there’s more than just color that can make a bird want to choose your yard over the neighbor’s. But plants and flowers developed color for good reasons, and one of those reasons includes drawing the eye of birds and insects. Certain bright colors work exceptionally well to attract birds.
I wanted to find out if there was a way to “game the system” by using specific colors to attract more birds, so I started researching what colors attract birds. What I found holds promise for anyone who, like me, hopes to transform their yard into a bird-filled secret garden. Let’s take a look.
The Benefits of Having Birds in Your Yard
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First, why should we ask what colors attract birds at all? Sure, they’re pretty to look at. But are there any other reasons to want to bring more birds to your yard?
As a matter of fact, bringing more birds in can come with a host of benefits for your yard and garden. Here are some of my favorite reasons to figure out what colors attract birds to your yard.
Certain kinds of birds that drink nectar (such as hummingbirds) are also natural pollinators for your flowers. The more pollinators you have, the more flowers you get — which, in turn, attract more birds. Win-win!
Certain types of birds can even help control weeds. Sparrows, for instance, thrive on seeds, so they’ll eat up the unwanted seeds of weeds in your yard. You might need to supplement their diet with birdseed at first. But if you plant seeding flowers, those, plus the weed seeds, can do most of the work of keeping your wild birds fed.
Birds can also play a valuable role in pest control for your yard. All yards have bugs, but as you may know, many birds eat bugs. Whether you’re plagued by mosquitos, spiders, or other less-than-welcome insects in your yard, more birds can help get the population under control. Plus, you won’t need to resort to chemicals for insect control when you have birds that eat pests.
Reasons to go outside
Many people who have yards still feel like they don’t spend enough time outside, enjoying the space. But when birds start visiting, you’ll find yourself with a new, exciting reason to go outside. You might even choose to buy a few bird-watching books and learn more about what you see.
When you learn what colors attract birds to your yard, you also play a role in helping the environment. Turning your yard into a sanctuary for local bird species helps them thrive. It also promotes the growth of native plants, since you’ll often use native plants to attract the local birds. And native plants take less water and less effort to maintain. They’re naturally suited for growth in your area.
What Colors Attract Birds? Here’s What You Should Know
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Ready to find out what colors attract birds so that you can reap the above benefits and more? These colors will get the birds flocking to your yard in no time.
While researching, I found a couple of basic rules worth following.
First, bright colors nearly always work well. Stock your yard up with a vibrant rainbow selection of shades, and birds will follow.
Secondly — and more surprising — avoid using white. Many birds flash the white colors on their feathers when they need to warn other birds of danger. Even though crisp white blooms can look beautiful, including too many of them in your yard can scare birds away.
With those basics in mind, let’s take a closer look at what colors attract birds to your yard effectively.
Many different bird species use red to draw the attention of potential mates. However, the amount of attraction to the color red will depend on the type of bird.
At least one study on birds and bird feeders found that birds preferred blue feeders over all other colors. A second study by the same researchers found that silver was the most popular color, but blue was second-most popular.
Yellow can attract birds that wear the same color on their feathers, such as goldfinches. Many other bird species also like yellow.
Surprisingly, your yard doesn’t have to just use bright, bold colors to attract birds. Subdued earth tones can also attract certain species. For example, shy birds like quail and doves come to yards with plenty of earthy greens, grays, and browns. These colors provide camouflage so that these birds can hide comfortably in your yard.
How to Use Color to Attract Birds
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Now that you know what colors attract birds, how should you incorporate those colors into your yard? Try some of these excellent ideas.
Put out the dinner mat
Come for the color; stay for the seed. A brightly colored bird feeder can attract birds to your yard and keep them coming back for more. As in the study mentioned above, the right-colored bird feeder can do a great job of livening up your yard. Of course, you should also make sure it’s well-stocked with what your local birds love to eat!
A little bit of nature
Flowers with bright blooms will brighten up your yard and attract more birds, too. However, don’t limit yourself to one kind of plant. Trees, bushes, hedges, grasses, and other plants with the right colors can all work well, too.
When you have lots of lush plants in your yard, birds will feel comfortable visiting because they have somewhere to hide. Not every plant needs to sport vibrant colors. Just add enough color to catch birds’ eyes, and enough hiding places to help them feel safe. Even fruits and berries can help add more color, plus a source of food.
Don’t forget to time your blooms well, too. Have some bright flowers that bloom early and others that bloom late. That way, you can extend the season when birds will spend the most time in your yard.
Fake it until you make it
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In the off-season, you can even use a selection of artificial flowers to draw the birds in. You won’t get quite so many birds. But you can try upping the appeal of a bird feeder with some bright artificial flowers, for example.
Paint it pretty
You can paint sheds, fences, and any other permanent garden structures with welcoming colors to attract birds, too. Ditch that crisp white fence, since it will scare birds off. Instead, try something bolder, like red, turquoise, or coral. Just make sure to use non-toxic paint so it won’t harm the wildlife. You can also paint benches, trellises, and anything else you can think of.
Decorate your yard
Are you the type of decorate your yard, patio, or other outdoor spaces? You have yet another way to attract birds. You can inject color with your patio furniture, statues, gazing balls, and anything else you add to your garden. If you stick to a single color scheme, you’ll get certain kinds of birds. If you use the full rainbow selection, you might get a wider variety.
Even a hidden touch of color might bring a few more birds to your yard. But for the best results, add color where birds flying by can easily see it. For example, you could add bright tiles to a pathway that’s not obstructed by trees.
Other Ways to Welcome Birds to Your Yard
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Knowing what colors attract birds, and using those colors, makes a good start. But to get birds to love hanging out in your yard, you need more than color. Here are some other ways to keep birds visiting regularly.
No sudden movements
Moving objects tend to startle birds. Whether they’re colorful or not, try to avoid having too many moving things in your yard. These can include wind chimes, flags, weathervanes, and anything else that has startling motion.
Birds get thirsty
Color will bring birds to your yard. However, they’ll stay (and keep coming back) if they also find the resources they need. Add water features, like birdbaths, to help keep them happy. If you can position some color near the water to draw them to it, even better.
Hide and go peep
Birds need plenty of hiding spaces to feel secure. Make sure the plants and other features in your yard provide lots of cover. While you might like having more open space, you can’t expect as many birds to visit a yard without protection.
You’ll also get more birds visiting if you can let your plants grow naturally, instead of keeping them perfectly manicured. Natural shrubs and trees help provide them with better cover and nesting spaces. Birdhouses can also work — and look great when painted with bright colors.
Ready to Try Attracting Birds with Color?
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Now that you know what colors attract birds, you’re ready to start experimenting with color in your yard. Try a few different colors and see what results you get! You’ll also notice that changing the colors, or their placement, might draw in different birds.
Bringing birds in makes your yard a more joyful place, as well as a small environmental sanctuary. How will you use your bird-filled yard this year? Leave a comment and let us know!