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Backyard Birds You Should Attract To Your Garden

Birds will eat insect pests year-round in your garden, if you provide a few of the basic necessities to attract and keep them nearby. Not only that, they've also been shown to alleviate stress and boost your mental health. Here’s how to attract 5 of the best birds for controlling garden pests.

1. Wrens

Brown- or gray-plumed, lively and vocal, 10 species of wrens call North America their home, living everywhere from brushy woodlands, shrubbery, and marshes to rocky canyons and even deserts.
The Carolina wren is almost exclusively an insect eater in the summer. The widespread house and Bewick's wrens also have insect-rich diets. Most wrens search trees, shrubs, and vines for caterpillars, ants, millipedes, grasshoppers, flies, snails, and beetles.
Wrens generally raise more than one brood during the season, with six to eight eggs per brood. It takes a lot of bugs to fill all those beaks, so it's fairly easy to get these prolific birds to nest in your yard. They'll take up residence in nest boxes; in empty gourds, cans, and jars; and even in clothespin bags left on the wash line!

2. Vireos

Vireos prefer wooded areas, with most living their summers in the North and their winters in the warm South. In spring, 99 percent of their diet is caterpillars (their favorite), snails, moths, bugs, beetles, ants, and flies.
Vireos are most likely to venture into yards where clumps of dense shrubs and tangles of blackberries surround the perimeter, especially if it borders on a wooded area.

3. Chickadees

In winter, chickadees stay on patrol, searching bark crevices for hibernating insects and the eggs of moths, plant lice, pear psylla, and katydids.
Don’t let their sweet song fool you. Chickadees and their cousins, titmice, are pest-control champions throughout the United States and Canada. As much as 90 percent of their diet consists of insects—moths, caterpillars, flies, beetles, bugs, plant lice, scale, leafhoppers, and tree hoppers.
To keep chickadees and titmice on patrol in the winter, provide some suet in a mesh bag or a feeder full of sunflower seeds. In spring, provide a nest box packed with wood chips. If possible, place the nest box at the edge of a wooded area.

4. Bluebirds

Bluebirds sing for spring and for their supper of garden pests. The spring diet of the western bluebird (which ranges from southern British Columbia down to central Mexico and from the Pacific to west Texas) is entirely insects, especially grasshoppers! Beetles, weevils, crickets, and caterpillars—sprinkled with the occasional ant, fly, centipede, sowbug, and snail—are the meals of choice for most bluebirds.
They prefer to nest in sunny, open areas. Their perfect nest box would be mounted on a post within 50 feet of a tree (facing it, if possible), fence, or other structure away from bushy hedgerows.

5. Woodpeckers

These well-known woodsy dwellers are more easily coaxed into your backyard than vireos. Of the 21 species found in North America, the downy, hairy, and red-bellied woodpeckers are most likely to drop by for a meal. The downy and hairy woodpeckers get up to 85 percent of their food by chowing down on wood-boring beetle and moth larvae, ants, caterpillars, adult beetles, millipedes, and aphids.
Woodpeckers might use a nest box packed with wood chips in a clearing along the edge of the woods. But they’re even more likely to nest in old dead trees (or “snags”)—so if you have one on your property, trim off most of the branches, and leave the trunk for woodpecker nests. These snags also attract and house other native creatures.
Woodpeckers will eagerly venture into your yard for suet or sunflower seeds in the off-season and eat your pests spring through fall.

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