Backyard Birding Tips

Helpful tips for backyard birding in March and April.

Q. Is it okay to give birds dryer lint during nesting season? What else can I provide?

A. Dryer lint isn’t ideal, as it’s composed of torn fibers that can fall apart easily when wet. Instead, let your yard do the work for you. Leave feathers, pine needles, bark strips, dead twigs, and leaves on the ground. Give yourself a break from lawn mowing for a few weeks: dry grass that hasn’t been treated with pesticides is great for birds’ nests. You can leave any of these materials in piles on the ground, draped over vegetation, in clean wire-mesh suet cages or mesh bags hung on tree trunks, or even in crevices of trees.

Q. I found a baby bird, what do I do?

A. It is quite common for chicks to venture from their nest before they are capable of flight, or the parent birds may have ejected the baby bird because it is time to leave the nest. Young birds may be seen scrambling around low branches of shrubs and trees, or hopping on the ground calling for their parents to feed them. The parents still take care of the chick during this time, so be patient and observe the baby bird for a minute or two; you’ll probably see the parents swoop down to feed it. If a nearby animal is clearly watching a chick, you can try to shoo the animal away and herd the chick off to some nearby shrubbery where it may find protection. Placing a chick back in its nest is not recommended. If you’re out of options, you can locate a licensed wildlife rehabilitator at www.ncwildlife.org/Injured-Wildlife.

Q. What are some bird-friendly plants I can add to my yard this planting season?

A. Native plants that occur naturally to your area are the best bet for birds, especially those that produce berries in the fall. There are literally hundreds of options to choose from when adding bird-friendly native plants. To start, contact your local plant nursery and ask about our “2018 Bird-Friendly Plants of the Year,” including creeping phlox, sweet azalea, wild quinine, and star tickseed. For more ideas, visit nc.audubon.org/birdfriendlynativeplantslists.

Audubon North Carolina protects our birds and the places they need. Learn more at nc.audubon.org.