Birds and Iowa backyards. It's actually a match made in heaven! As of 2021, there's 430 different species of birds in the Hawkeye state. Call me a little old man, but nothing was more enjoyable to watch during the heart of the pandemic than various birds flocking to, and often fighting over, our bird feeder. I have about 733 pictures of 'em on phone if you don't think I'm serious. The one's we see at our house are usually sparrows, blue jays, and cardinals. We also have a few hummingbirds that come by and fight over the nectar we've set out for them.

So, knowing there's a good 430 different hungry winged birds flapping around out there, what's the trick to bringing them to your backyard or balcony? It's actually pretty simple, according to experts. Radio Iowa chatted with a conservation biologist named Ryan Brady and his tips are quite simple and inexpensive. First off, Brady says the best bird seed you can put out is actually black sunflower seeds. It's easy and he says most species are drawn to black sunflower seeds due to its high fat content.

Next, if possible, you should be sure to plant some sort of cover for the birds that’s close to their feeder so they can hide from predators. Even though you're not the birds next meal, there's likely one lurking somewhere nearby, and small birds are always watching their little backs. According to the report, Brady also says this cover should include a good amount of thick branches that can provide some cover from the elements.

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If you keep a bird bath for your feathered friends, Brady says you should also consider adding a dripper, bubbler or a mister to create motion in the water. This creates curiosity and will likely generate more birds coming to see what's going on. Good luck! Be sure to take lots of bird photos and spam your friends social media accounts. THAT'S how they'll know you're a true Iowan.

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