Posted 28 May, 2020
How to attract butterflies and birds to your backyard
Birds and butterflies are beautiful creatures that appear from the beginning of spring to the end of fall throughout Ontario. You might see them occasionally around your home, but there are ways to make their visits more frequent.
Learning how to create a butterfly garden or how to attract birds to your backyard can be accomplished in a variety of ways. We’ve collected some tips and tricks to bring these flying creatures closer to you. Once you see your first bird or butterfly, you’ll want to see more and more!
What is needed to attract butterflies?
From the monarch to the silver-spotted skipper, many varieties of butterflies can be seen throughout Ontario. Seeing one feels magical as you watch it gently glide through the air and land on a flower or rock. They are one of the ultimate symbols of transformation and growth, and their beauty is undeniable.
Butterflies look for a few things when choosing a place to land. They need water to drink, food to eat, and safe places to land and rest. Start by selecting a place in your garden where you’d like to attract butterflies. Then, begin transforming your space into the ideal place for them.
An ideal place for butterflies will have a mix of sun, shade, and protection from strong winds. Consider a corner location under a tree where these creatures can safely sit without being disturbed.
Next, add a water source that has places within it where can they perch and sip. HGTV recommends creating a shallow puddle in an old birdbath by adding sand. Picture making a little butterfly beach where this insect can land and drink without falling into deep water. You can also add some rocks with flat surfaces to give them other places to rest.
When it comes to food, butterflies love to snack on nectar-rich plants. Try planting flowers like butterfly bush, pot marigolds, and lavender. You’ll have a bright and beautiful collection of that’s perfect for feeding butterflies.
How can I invite birds into my backyard?
Ontario features lots of beautiful birds of many sizes and colours. From the prominent northern cardinal to the adorable robin, and even the proud blue jay, birds are always a delight to see. Inviting them into your backyard can be achieved in a few easy steps. Then, it’s up to you to sit back and watch them gracefully arrive.
One of the first things birds look for in a safe place to land is a water source. However, the National Wildlife Foundation notes that it’s also essential for birds to hear water as well as see it. They recommend having water that moves, which can be achieved by having a small fountain, bubbler, mister or dripper as part of or in addition to a birdbath.
Birds are always on the move, which means that they burn lots of calories throughout the day. Having a food source in your backyard will give them a place to sit for more than a few minutes and eat. While they are having a snack, you’ll be able to watch them for longer periods.
Not all birds eat the same food. If you find that you have only one kind of bird visiting your backyard, add new sources and types of food to attract new birds. A birdseed mixture is a good option for beginners because it contains various seeds to attract different kinds of your winged friends.
You may want to have a combined birdhouse and feeder to give birds visiting your backyard a place to sit and safely eat while keeping away from predators. If you find that seeds are falling to the ground, don’t worry. Birds will flock to the ground beneath the feeder to collect fallen food and search for yummy insects to eat as well.
How should I behave around birds and butterflies?
Both birds and butterflies can be timid creatures that scatter when they hear loud noises or sense movement. It’s important to give both their space and stay quiet and still while watching them.
Also, try to avoid feeding birds scraps of human food. It may make them sick and stop them from returning to your backyard. It's tempting to toss birds crusts of old bread, but designated food is much better for their digestive system. It’s also a good idea not to use toxic pesticides near your butterfly garden or birdbath and feeder since the chemicals can make them sick.
Now that you know how to create a butterfly garden and attract birds to your backyard, you’ll get to see nature’s creatures up close. You also have the opportunity to teach your children about wildlife and insects. We hope that these tips help you bring a variety of flying friends to your outside space where you can watch and enjoy them all season long.