The best way to attract birds to a your balcony is to choose the correct feeder. Balcony rail, suction and tray feeders are the most effective ones we’ve found. Only because your balcony might not be as large as a yard, there is not reason why it can’t offer the same home comforts for birds. Offer plenty of food, shelter, perches and bird boxes to make your balcony a special home to many birds.
Living in an urban environment can offer many benefits to your daily life. Often located conveniently close to shops and attractions, living in urban areas can be enticing for many people. However it can often mean that you have less space than if you would choose to live in a rural area.
Attracting birds to urban areas can be difficult. A large amount of man-made infrastructure can deter birds and make areas less appealing for them to visit. For bird lovers that can be a bit of a disappointment and a downside to living in urban areas.
However, just because you live in an urban environment doesn’t mean that you can’t attract birds. There are several ways that you can attract birds to an urban garden or balcony. Please follow our tips and start populating your urban garden or balcony with life!
Table of Contents
How to attract birds to a balcony?
1. Appropriate Bird Feeder
A bird feeder is a crucial addition to a garden to attract birds. Whether you go to a local store or browse on the internet, you will have plenty of options to choose from. Conventional feeder can work well on a balcony however we do advise for you to use specialist feeders for urban areas. If you want to lean more about conventional feeders then we recommend reading our article on different types of feeders available. There are 3 particular types that we recommend for balconies and here they are:
Balcony Rail Feeders
Balcony feeders are specifically designed to clamp onto the protective rail/barrier on your balcony. Not only are these an efficient use of space they are also safer than conventional hanging feeders. High winds is often an issue in built up urban areas and therefore having your feeder clamped down will ensure nothing falls down to the streets below!
Suction feeders are designed with multiple suction cups that allow you to place them onto your windows and other glass surfaces on your balcony. These feeders are perfect for viewing birds up close, offering a great chance for picture. In addition these suction feeders can help reduce birds crashing into your windows as they will minimize the reflection of the sky that your windows often emit. If you are having a big problem with birds crashing into your windows then please have a read of our article – how to stop birds flying into windows.
Similar to the rail feeders, these use your limited balcony space efficiently and are less susceptible to high winds in comparison to conventional hanging feeders. We would recommend however that you only place theses feeders where there is a surface below them. Suction cups can deteriorate over time and you want to ensure that the feeder does not fall into the streets if they happen to lose their grip!
Tray Feeders are simple feeders that you can place any time of food/feed onto easily. Usually these feeders are less messy with a reduced amount of debris falling to the ground. They can often be easier to clean also as they often only have one large surface. The downside of these feeders however is that they can attract lager birds such as gulls and crows. Smaller needs like Nyjer and Sunflower do not work as well from tray feeders.
DIY Bird Feeder
2. Play Bird Recordings
Now this is our out-of-the box suggestion! Not to be used to regularly but this a great way to initially attract some birds to your balcony. Once your balcony is an established hot-spot for birds we advise to not play the recordings as it can scare away your usual customers. To start however, birds are intrigued by the sounds of another birds call and it can entice many to take a closer look. Spotting your balcony can be difficult for them in dense urban areas but attracting them by their astute hearing is a clever and effective way to attract them!
3. Create A Bird Friendly Environment
Birds love natural environments and making your garden or balcony feel natural to them will be one of the best ways to attract birds. Although birds may not visit urban balconies easily without much to entice them this doesn’t mean that urban areas aren’t filled with wildlife!
In reality, offering a beautiful natural environment in an urban area can often create more of a buzz than rural areas. This is because natural environment is harder to come by in urban areas and therefore making your balcony natural looking will entice birds from miles around.
Try to give them plenty of places to sit, hide, cover and rest. Do your best to shelter the garden from the noise of the environment and the noise of your home. Your little friends will love to have a more natural home in the city.
4. Scare away large birds
Having big birds around your home will discourage other birds from visiting. Your urban garden or balcony is likely not large enough to accommodate both big and small birds. We advise that you try and attract smaller birds to your balcony as large birds will simply dominate the area.
One method of scaring away large birds is very simple, shoo them away as you see them!
Another method is to use the correct type of feed. Some bird feed will only attract small birds. Our personal recommendations are straight seed mixes, in particular Nyjer and Sunflower Seeds. These are preferred by smaller birds and are less likely to attract large, dominant birds to your balcony. If you’d like to know more about different seed feeds that are available have a read of our article – different types of feed available.
5. Water Supply
In an urban environment, there often isn’t enough water for birds near your home. Giving them a birdbath or another source of water is an excellent idea for your garden or balcony. Water alone will play a major role in attracting birds to an urban garden. Make sure to change the water out regularly so that it is always fresh. The birdbath isn’t just a bath. It will also be a place for them to drink.
This rail bird bath is a subtle way to offer some fresh water for any birds in the area!
Interestingly the sound of dripping water will attract birds from miles away. With their astute sense of hearing, the sound of water dropping is what they often use to locate water instead of seeking water by vision. In a rural home we would recommend a water fountain however with limited space on a balcony we simply recommend a DIY solution.
Get a Tupperware/ plastic container/ water bottle and poke a few small holes in the bottom. Place or hang this around your balcony and let the sound of water dripping attract birds from around the area. Note that the water will need refilling every so often!
One of the best ways to keep the birds in your garden and on your balcony is to give them a home. Shelter and privacy can often be difficult to come by in an urban area. A birdhouse is a great option for encouraging your bird friends to stay in your garden. In my opinion, bird houses also add to the visual and aesthetic appeal to your balcony.
These cute hanging bird houses are perfect for a small balcony.
7. Provide A Perch
In a large rooftop garden, you may be able to have small trees or fake trees, but not everyone will have this luxury! Birds love places that are tall and allow them to see. Railings work well for this. If your garden doesn’t have anything like this, you will want to provide ways for them to perch.
Installing garden fences or poles for them to perch is a great way to attract birds. Try to keep the potential perches away from where humans contact and as much in the garden as possible. Even the most appealing perch will be ruined by humans being too close.
Birds are amazing little creatures. Whether you are an enthusiast or just like the company of little critters, these methods will help attract birds to an urban garden. One of the biggest things to keep in mind is to provide a well-tended natural garden for your bird friends.
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!