Just because you live in the heart of the city doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the joys of backyard bird watching. If you have a small yard or even an apartment balcony or patio, you can create an inviting space for the birds in your neighborhood.

1. Green up your outdoor space: Whether you opt for annuals or perennials in a garden bed, in flower boxes or create a container grouping, plants provide an inviting place for small birds to find shade and refuge as they flit to and from your feeder. If you want to make your urban garden even more inviting, up the ante and choose plants that produce bird-friendly seeds or berries. Winterberry plants, sunflowers, cosmos, cone flowers, chokecherries and blueberries are all good choices. Many birds love to hide among tall grasses too.

2. Choose the right feeding setup: A feeder filled with Lyric Fine Tunes No-Waste mix is a winning strategy for urban birding. This premium blend is ideal because it attracts a wide variety of birds, is a great value and is a no-waste, no mess mix.

3. Become a citizen scientist: Visit Celebrate Urban Birding for a handy bird identification guide and record your observations to help bird researchers understand how birds adapt to city life. Simply watch your outdoor space on three different days in 10-minute increments and you’re done.

4. Provide a water source: Even a shallow dish of water gives birds a place to grab some sips and maintain their plumage.

5. Add a birdhouse: If your space allows it, the benefits of a birdhouse will go beyond the nesting season. When it gets cold or windy, these can provide ready shelter for your feathered friends.