The best way to attract birds of prey into your yard is by creating a natural area with little human interference. Tall and strong trees will make great roosting spots for them while having pests in your garden is a sure way to attract them. Keep your yard clear of debris and cut the grass short to reduce any hiding spots for pests. Follow these tips and give yourself the best chance to attract birds of prey into your yard!
Birds of prey are majestic creatures that hunt other animals with skill. There are a few reasons you may want to attract these birds to your yard. One of the biggest reasons would be due to you having an existing pest problem in your yard. Birds of prey will hunt pests and will return your garden to being pest-free. Others may want birds of prey in their yard to keeps pests from becoming a problem in the first place. The majority of people however just love these beautiful creatures and being able to witness them from your own home and from a short distance away is an amazing experience.
It is worth noting however that attracting birds of prey to your yard will also make your yard less appealing for smaller song birds. Birds of prey can feed on smaller birds and these small song birds know it! It’s worth knowing this before creating a habitat that attracts birds of prey.
No matter your reason for wanting to attract birds of prey to your yard, here are a number of steps that you can take to bring them to you.
Table of Contents
How to attract birds of prey to your backyard?
1. Keep your Yard Tended
You want to make it as easy as possible for birds of prey to spot food. That means keeping your yard well-tended. The grass should not provide anywhere for little rodents to hide. You also want to do your best to minimize other cover and routes that little critters could take to stay hidden. Basically, you just want to take general care of your yard, a very reasonable tip in general I’d say!
2. Tall, Studry Trees
It would be hard to attract birds of prey to your yard if there was nowhere for them to roost. These trees act as a place for them to sit and watch their prey while at the same time not being exposed to other birds from above. If you are lucky enough, a bird of prey might even establish a nest in one of your trees.
They also use the shelter of the trees for sitting and digesting their food. In addition to trees, birds of prey such as raptors will use fences, decks, sheds, and other places to perch.
3. Provide Water
Like all other birds, birds of prey want a reliable source of water. Getting a low elevation bird baths for them will help to attract them to your yard. They enjoy re-hydrating and cooling off as much as any other species of birds. However a big problem with providing water to birds using baths or fountains is that they can crash into your windows if they’re not placed in the correct place.
To prevent these fantastic birds from crashing into your windows, you should place birdbaths either within 3 feet of your windows or over 30 feet away. This is the optimum distance because anything between 3-30 feet is too close to the home. Light will reflect off the windows of your house and portray an image of the sky for the birds. Being within 3 feet will give the birds time to realize and understand that the window is part of the house and care should be taken around it. Placing the bath 30 feet away will give the birds plenty of space and time to rise away from the water without hitting your home. However, a birdbath will be less necessary if you live close to the water, but it is always a good bonus for the birds.
4. Keep your yard natural
Birds of any kind don’t typically like to go into areas where they will feel uncomfortable or threatened. A way of achieving this is to keep your yard as natural looking as possible. Don’t play loud music in the area, don’t have objects that emit noise, or any objects that will scare away birds. You wouldn’t want to be suddenly thrown into a new land with a bunch of strange objects either!
Another essential part of attracting birds of prey to your yard is to use only natural landscaping methods. Do not use pesticides or insecticides. Any fertilizer you use should be all-natural. This will help to keep any birds of prey that do visit or live nearby to stay healthy.
After a bird of prey makes their kill, you may be tempted to shoo them away while they eat. Most of us don’t like the idea of watching on as a bird of prey feasts on some pests! It is essential however that do not shoo the bird away while it is eating. This will make the bird of prey feel uncomfortable, and they will not return. It will also prevent them from completely digesting their food which can be dangerous for their health.
Birds and other animals are often more vulnerable and protective when they are eating. So if you shoo them or scare them while they eat, they will take it more seriously than at any other time.
All of these steps to attract birds of prey to your yard are ones that have been used around the world. Remember that too many humans or too much noise will keep the birds of prey away. Take each step to create a welcoming place for these birds. I can promise you that it is worth making every effort to attracting these birds as witnessing them living in your yard is a special thing.
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What species of bird of prey can you attract to your yard?
The species of birds you can attract is entirely dependent on where you live. I will list a few common species and the habitats they enjoy. Remember that in addition to native birds of prey, you can attract migratory birds on their journey too!
Ospreys and Eagles – Ponds, lakes and rivers
Kestrels and Hawks – Open Pastures
Owls and Sharpies – Dense woodland
Sparrow Hawks – Common Garden
What do birds of prey eat in the USA?
A typical diet for a bird of prey is likely to be made up of smaller birds, mice, rats, voles and fish – anything small enough to fit in their monstrous talons, and something that won’t fight back.
Birds of prey might be gorgeous to look at, but you certainly don’t want to get on the wrong side of one. These birds might be large, elegant and beautiful, but believe us when we say that they have a hell of a mean streak.
Eagles, hawks and falcons might be staples of long-countryside roads, though it’s unlikely that you’ve ever seen one of these beasts settle down for dinner. Natural hunters, they’ll spend their days either looking for their next ill-fated meal, or scavenging for something else’s leftovers.
Birds of prey are just that; predatory. With keen vision, incredible hearing and fast instincts, they are powerful, fast and deadly. Equipped to hunt effectively and efficiently, they are largely carnivorous, relying on all kinds of animal matter to survive.
These birds will snack on whatever they can find – it largely depends on the region they live in and how hungry they are.
In most cases, a healthy bird of prey will survive on small mammals and fish found abundantly throughout the countryside – that’s why you’ll rarely see them in the city! Large birds will go where the food is, and where the least amount of danger to them is. That just so happens to be mostly rural!
Can birds of prey kill cats, dogs or chickens?
Sometimes, a hungry bird will become desperate. Opportunists by nature, they CAN attack cats, chickens and small dogs – it isn’t terribly common, but it does happen from time to time, especially if a bird’s typical food source isn’t readily available.
If you do live in an area frequented by hawks, eagles, falcons, you should try and keep an eye on your pets. Chickens, dogs, cats, ferrets and any other similarly sized pet may be at risk from a hungry bird. It’s best to not take any chances and to carefully watch over your animals or livestock!
What is the best time of year to attract birds of prey to your yard?
The best time of year to attract birds of prey is autumn through until spring. Food will be scarce in the frosty weather and are less territorial outside mating season.
If you live close to the centre of a large city, you might struggle to successfully attract any bird of prey to your yard. Food will be scarce and there will be competition, let alone the abundance of big scary humans stomping around. For the best chance, it would help if you live rurally. Don’t worry if you still live close to a large town – many birds of prey will happily guard their territories on the outskirts!
For the best chances, you absolutely MUST have places to hide; not just for the bird, but for the prey, too. Long grass is perfect, as it provides plenty of places for small rodents to scurry to, allowing large birds to hone in on their predatory instincts.
It would also be helpful if you had ample roosting areas – properties that feature wooded or forested areas are perfect.
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We are avid bird-watchers who recently retired, allowing us more time to travel the world. Fortunately, we have managed to visit numerous countries around Europe, Asia, and America. Watching and photographing birds has been a passion for many years and we are making the most of the extra time on our hands!