Don’t let your lack of a big yard keep you from feeding and enjoying birds. There’s no shortage of songbirds to feed and view, even in the heart of the city. These urban birding tips will help you unlock access to the wildlife that’s living and thriving right outside your front door.

Choosing a bird feeder

When it comes to getting a feeder for your small space, whether you have a small yard, a townhouse patio or apartment balcony, there are several options you can try.

  • Window feeders: These are usually made of acrylic and fasten to windows with strong suction cups. Fill with a seed mix and once birds discover it, enjoy the up-close look!
  • Tube feeders: These can be mounted on a pole even in the smallest yard or hung from an overhang of a patio or balcony. To reduce seed spillage, choose feeders with smaller perches to accommodate smaller birds.
  • Nyjer seed feeders: Nyjer seeds are a surefire draw for finches and other small birds, while (most) squirrels and larger birds, like Blue Jays, say "no thanks!"  
  • Rail mounted feeder: Platform feeders and hopper feeders sometimes come with attachments that let you secure it to a patio or deck railing. Both of the feeders are ideal for attracting the widest variety of birds. A hopper feeder, however, can offer better protection against snow, rain and high winds.

Will they come?

This will depend on where you live, as well as the nearby habitat, so results may vary. Some people new to feeding birds see their first visitor on day 1, while others wait for weeks. Be patient, but change the seed every few weeks to prevent spoilage.

Keep it clean!

Clean feeders are essential to feeding the birds safely. Every few weeks, discard leftover seed, and wash the feeder in a bleach solution (two ounces bleach per one gallon of water) and scrub all surfaces with a nylon bristle brush. Rinse and allow to dry before refilling with fresh seed.

Avoid spills and messes with the right seed

Sunflower seeds attract a wide range of bird species, but the messy shells they leave behind on your deck or patio can make bird feeding a hassle. For a no-mess option, try Lyric Delite No Waste Mix. With shelled sunflower seeds, peanuts, pistachios, pecans and pumpkin seeds, you don’t pay for the shells, giving you more bang for your buck!