Birds are a wonderful and fascinating addition to a backyard ecosystem. While backyard birds can be seen during most seasons, they will be particularly active during the spring when they are nesting. Nesting birds are especially vulnerable to predators. Many animals, including cats, snakes and squirrels, will eat bird eggs and babies if they are not properly protected. If you want to make your yard into an attractive nesting place for local birds, put some thought into their protection. Many birds nest in the same place year after year so, if you provide them with a safe and attractive nesting spot, you can watch generations grow up right outside your window.
Provide birdhouses for the birds to nest in. Birdhouses are available at most hardware or gardening stores and provide a safe enclosed area in which birds can build a nest. Birdhouses can be mounted on poles or hung in trees.
Install predator guards on birdhouses and trees with nests. A predator guard is a metal or wooden device that can be nailed to the tree, pole, or birdhouse itself to prevent predators from reaching the nests. Predator guards, also referred to as baffles, can protect nests from cats, raccoons, squirrels, snakes and other small animals. They are available in a variety of materials, sizes and designs from hardware and gardening stores.
Keep cats indoors. If you own cats, keep them indoors during nesting season. If you cannot keep your cats inside, attach bells to their collars to warn birds of their approach.
Rub cayenne pepper on birdhouse poles to prevent snakes from climbing them.
Coat the insides of birdhouses with bar soap to prevent insects from laying eggs inside them. Do this before nesting season. Birds should not be disturbed in birdhouses while they are nesting.
Plant native plants and trees in your yard. These will provide cover and protection from predators and also add nesting space and materials for birds.