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Attracting Birds to a Tropical Garden
Some individuals enjoy bird watching but prefer to do their bird watching in their backyard. Below are some tips for attracting wild birds to your backyard.
First of all it depends on the presence of wild birds in the area where your house is located and then you can attract them to your backyard.
The method used to attract birds will depend on what the bird’s diet is. If the bird is a nectar feeder e.g. Bananas or hummingbirds, while large flowering plants will attract them. Hummingbird bills are perfectly adapted to the different types of flowers that they eat, so different types of flowers attract different hummingbirds. Some hummingbirds have specially curved or elongated bills that allow them to feed on special flowers, e.g. The white-tipped sicklebill hummingbird has a curved bill underneath that allows it to extract nectar from Heliconius. The ruby-topaz hummingbird has a short and slightly curved bill that is adapted to feed on the flowers of the Ixora shrub. The blue-tailed emerald has a short bill that is useful for feeding on hibiscus flowers.
The copper-rumped hummingbird has a straight long bill that allows it to feed on medium-sized tubular flowers like the Allamanda. Hummingbirds have little or no sense of smell, so color is important to the hummingbird’s search process for finding flowers that contain nectar. They prefer red to orange flowers when they visit any flower that has enough nectar. It is believed that this color preference is due to the fact that red flowers stand out against a green background and thus hummingbirds are more easily seen. It is also believed that hummingbirds compete with insects for nectar, so they choose flowers that are less likely to be visited by insects. Most insects do not see well in the red end of the color spectrum, and therefore cannot visit red flowers when hummingbirds see the full visible spectrum.
If space in your yard is very limited, preventing you from growing large flowering shrubs, an area to consider is the curb area between your property line and the roadway. You can plant small flowering shrubs such as miniature ixora, which will then attract nectar feeding birds to your property.
Fruit-eating birds are attracted to the presence of ripe fruit, and so fruit trees attract birds. Most trees, however, bear fruit only once a year for a few months, so the attraction is not year-round. If you have enough space in your garden, several fruit trees at different times of the year will ensure a constant presence of birds. A tree that bears fruit for a very long time is the guava and thus can attract birds throughout the year. Trees are also an attraction for birds because they provide nesting and resting places. If you have palm trees that people often plant near their homes that attract palm tanagers that eat small nuts, use the tree material to build their nests and may even build a nest in the tree.
When a large number of flowering shrubs and/or fruit trees are not an option, you may want to consider purchasing a bird feeder. The type of feeder will also depend on the type of birds in the area and the type of birds you want to attract. For nectar feeders you use sugar solution (feeders usually have directions). You should place the feeder where the birds will see it and you should change the solution regularly (2-3 days). Red feeders are good for attracting hummingbirds because they prefer red flowers. If you use a feeder it will take a few days for the birds to recognize that it is in your yard.
Other feeders may attract other types of birds. Bear-eyed thrush and kiskadi are somewhat omnivorous and so you can use rice (not boiled). I have found that they will also be attracted to dog food. Tropical mockingbirds can also be attracted to rice. In addition, ripe fruits such as bananas, mangoes, and cherries can be used and often attract blue-gray tanagers, palm tanagers, and yellow orioles.
As an alternative to buying a feeder, you can make a feeder. For fruits, you can tie a simple chicken wire basket or bamboo basket to the fence to hold the fruit. Another low-cost feeder can be made using a plastic bowl with a narrow rim. To create this feeder you drill three holes evenly spaced around the bowl. Then add wire strands through each hole and the strands come together at the top to form either a hook or a loop to suspend the bowl. Three strands are needed to give stability to the bowl, especially when the birds land on the bowl to eat. Several holes should be drilled in the base of the bowl so that any rain water or liquid can drain out of the bowl.
Attracting birds, apart from visual pleasure, also provides the benefit of controlling insect populations, as many birds are insect feeders.
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