HOUSTON – If you’re looking for a way to entertain your kids without leaving you home, we ‘re here to remind you that spring is one of the best times for bird watching.
And if you need advice on how to attract birds to your backyard, Anna Vallery, conservation specialist and Mary Anne Weber, education director with the Houston Audubon, shared tips and showed us some beautiful birds you should know aboout.
The first thing you need to know when trying to attract birds to yards is that you must plant native plants.
“Native plants host native insects which then birds rely on and helps support them right in your own backyard,” said Vallery, who wants people to take advantage of the privileged position of the Houston area.
“Our location on the Upper Texas Coast is incredibly important for migratory birds. Birds are coming up. They’re flying up from Central and South America, up north every spring and flying back down every fall and along that journey in the spring, they’re crossing the Gulf of Mexico. And if they hit bad weather our area is here to help support them so they can rest and refuel on their journey and continue on safely to their summer breeding grounds,” said Vallery.
Other ways to attract birds include getting bird feeders and bird baths, limit the use of pesticides and keep cats indoors.
In our area, some of the birds you can see in porches, yards or parks include cardinals, blue jays, mockingbirds, downy woodpeckers and chickadees.
“These are birds that, if you get familiar with them, you’ll start to see them everywhere and start to really enjoy them, even your own home,” said Vallery, who also mentioned how easy it is to welcome in your own backyard screech owls, the most popular species of owls in Houston.
“No rat poisons and put up a nest box,” said Vallery, who encourages everyone to go online for instructions on how to put up a screech owl nest box.
Vallery also shared some fantastic news about the Bird City certification Houston received from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
“It’s a new community-focused certification program to help cities protect birds and their habitats within these urban environments. We are one of the first four cities to receive this designation,” said Vallery.
To see Vallery’s complete interview and the Houston Audubon animal ambassadors, watch the video above.
For more bird-friendly tips and a list of native plants for your yard, visit Birdfriendlyhouston.org
And if you want to check out live bird cameras at Bolivar Flats Sanctuary & Edith Moore Sanctuary, you can click here.