Although they may be the majority, pigeons are not the only birds that can be found living in big cities. If you live in a city-setting you can attract many of the same birds that visit your suburban and rural neighbors. You don’t need an intricate garden or lots of acreage to provide the basics for the birds. Birds need food, water, shelter, and protection and you can offer this from a small balcony or terrace, courtyard, or even from your windowsill.
Birds Species in the City
What birds should you be on the lookout for in the city? Perhaps you’ve recognized the common “city bird” species that include pigeons, sparrows, and European starlings. These birds are commonly found in cities all around the country and are easily spotted.
Pigeons were originally from the coasts and made their nests on and in cliffs. Having made their way to the city, you can now spot pigeons using buildings just as they would centuries ago with the cliffs – perching and looking over the city from a high viewpoint. With the abundance of food and other resources, such as the general warmth of a city compared to the countryside (caused by the dense population and plenty of artificial light), pigeons are able to lengthen their breeding season in cities.
Sparrows made their way into towns and cities when the main form of transportation was horse-drawn. Using the advantages of horse stables and grain, these birds found all their necessary resources where people started to populate areas. These birds are great at foraging, and love seeds as well as kitchen scraps. Sparrows are very adaptable birds, which makes them well suited for city life. You can spot sparrows today in the city singing and searching for crumbs of food.
Starlings found their way to the city because of the warmth that it provides. In 1890, a man released a hundred of these birds in New York City’s Central Park, and from there, the birds adapted to the city life. Much like the other city birds, they are found in nests on buildings or scavenging for food. These city birds adapted to the loud noises of the constant movement of the city as they aren’t easily frightened.
Part of the reason why these birds are so likely to be seen in cities is that the environment is the perfect eco-system for them to survive in. In fact, these species among the most successful birds to adapt and thrive in an urban setting.
Despite these birds being the most common species found in concrete jungles, you can spot other bird species with the following tips!
With limited space, one of the best ways to incorporate a bird feeder to your outdoor space is with a window feeder. Perky-Pet® offers both nectar and seed feeders that are very easy to install and mount to your outside windows with suction cups.Window feeders offer the great benefit of allowing you to view birds from up close. Plus, they can be implemented even if you have no outdoor space at all.
If you have even a small amount of backyard space, you might also want to start with a more traditional tube feeder. There are a wide variety of feeders that hold smaller quantities of seed and will take up less space. If your backyard space does not have a lot of trees to hang your feeder, a simple mounting pole will do the trick, without overwhelming your yard. Our convenient mounting brackets also allow you to hang most small feeders from a window. You can even mount it to a wooden post or railing.
If you do not have the space to hang multiple feeders, it's best to pick a bird seed with universal appeal, in order to attract many different species of birds. Black-oil sunflower seed is one of the most popular seed types and will attract cardinals, chickadees, Blue Jays and nuthatches. Just be sure to clean up any seed and debris that falls out of your feeders so they do not become a buffet for squirrels or rodents.
Stop By for a Drink
A fresh water supply is crucial for birds, not just as a place to drink, but also to keep them clean. For this reason, a water supply will draw in birds that do not eat seed, and that you might not normally see with a bird feeder alone.
If you have the space available to hang a bird bath, this would be the perfect addition to your backyard or balcony. But you can use any large shallow container (such as a pan or bowl) instead. Bird baths, like your bird feeders, should be cleaned regularly to keep a safe, disease-free environment for your feathered friends. Bird waterers are another great option for those with limited space. While they will not provide a place for birds to bathe, waterers provide birds with much-needed refreshment.
Birds are naturally attracted to flowers, so adding some brightly colored plants and flowers in planters, window boxes, or hanging baskets is another excellent way to draw them in.
Hummingbirds, in particular, are attracted to deep orange and red blossoms. Many other birds are attracted to plants that grow small berries. Additionally, birds will use shrubbery and plants for shade, shelter, and protection from predators.
Are You a City Birder?
Like many of us, birds are creatures of habit. Once they learn that you have food, water, shelter to offer them, they will continue to return, bringing with them a little bit of nature to big city living. Want to join in on the fun? Share your pictures, stories, and advice with us on Facebook or our Birding Community. You can also subscribe to our e-newsletter to stay up to date with our birding advice, new products, and exclusive offers.