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What Is in a Bird Habitat?

By Robert Ferguson
Updated Jun 04, 2024
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A bird habitat can be a natural or manmade area providing numerous bird species an environment that supplies food and water. Safe nesting locations and shelter from weather and predators are the main requirements for a bird habitat. Whether regulated by wildlife commissions or created in a backyard, a well-equipped bird habitat is an oasis for birds in all parts of the world.

Natural bird habitats are most commonly found where there is an ample supply of water for drinking, swimming, and bathing. Water dwelling birds require water-based habitats as a source for drinking but also as a place to teach their young. Birds that hunt for food in the waters of lakes, ponds, or the ocean require access to available water sources.

Several environments are suitable for bird habitats. Marshes, wetlands, and fresh water lakes provide birds with the necessities of life and a variety of nesting resources. Arctic bird species can make their habitat near the ocean and rocky coastal areas. Other types of bird species, such as birds of prey, may exist in natural habitats near cliffs and mountainous regions.

A manmade bird habitat may be designed with the focus of conservation and protection for local bird species. Endangered species may be placed in manmade regulated habitats in an effort to promote mating. Safe nesting areas in a protected environment help strengthen and maintain bird populations.

The advantage of an established bird habitat is that it provides a sanctuary throughout the seasons. Birds raising their young in a designated habitat will most likely return the following year. The offspring of these birds, at maturity, will likely to return to the same habitat to begin the process of mating, nesting, and raising hatchlings.

An officially protected bird habitat, whether natural or manmade, is a regulated site. The responsibility of maintaining the habitat may fall to regional organizations or government officials. Regulated habitats also provide useful information on migratory patterns and bird populations through observation and tagging.

Food availability is crucial within the habitat. Natural and manmade habitats need sufficient provisions to attract bird species. For backyard habitats, it is necessary to provide adequate landscaping for shelter, fresh water for drinking and bathing, and assorted fruit, nut, and berry trees and bushes for food. Supplemental feeders can be used and filled with an assortment of food to attract multiple bird species.

Nesting areas in bird habitats are specific to the species. Some species prefer to nest in high tree tops or utility poles, while other species nest directly on the ground. Other birds prefer hidden nests among tree branches, within tree cavities, or in canopied locations. Water-dwelling birds may nest directly on a beach to be near food sources. Backyard habitats need adequate options for nesting birds including hedges and vines, or manmade nesting boxes.

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Discussion Comments
By irontoenail — On Feb 16, 2014

@umbra21 - The problem is that mammals can carry more diseases that affect humans than birds do. I'd rather have lots of birds in my yard and fewer other kinds of animals, particularly as the birds will often do me the favor of clearing away all my insect pests.

By umbra21 — On Feb 15, 2014

@Iluviaporos - I'd also suggest that the bird feeders be proof against scavengers, as squirrels, chipmunks, and even larger birds will all steal from food holders if they can. Which might not be something you want to discourage. I know a lot of people enjoy watching squirrels as much as they like bird watching.

And if you're trying to build up a natural habitat, then you are going to have to just accept that all wild things need to have a place in it.

By lluviaporos — On Feb 15, 2014

If you want to build a bird habitat in your backyard, the first thing you'll want to do is research the birds you want to attract. There's no point in putting in pine trees if you are hoping to attract hummingbirds (which might be an obvious example).

The next thing you need to do is make sure that you aren't just leading the birds in to their deaths. Most neighborhoods have a cat or two somewhere in the vicinity and if you put a lot of food out for birds they will quickly learn where to hide in your yard.

There are lots of different bird feeders that will keep the birds safe from predators, so make sure you get one that is going to do that.

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