Search Articles

How to Attract Bug-Eating Birds

Rose-breasted grosbeak

Rose-breasted grosbeaks eat caterpillars and beetles.

Bluebird

Bluebirds eat grasshoppers, crickets, beetles, larvae and moths.

There are lots of great reasons to make your yard and garden more welcoming to birds. But here's one more: pest control.

Most backyard birds eat a combination of seeds, berries and insects. But in late spring and early summer, birds are busy filling the mouths of their hatchlings, and baby birds like nothing better than freshly caught bugs.

That's good news for gardeners, because garden pests are usually at their peak in late spring and early summer. Our bird friends can save us lots of headaches by combing our gardens for cabbage worms, whiteflies, aphids, earwigs, grasshoppers, cucumber beetles and grubs!

At right is a list of common backyard birds and the pests they eat. But first, a few tips on how to make your yard bird-friendly during the spring and summer months.

Bug Eaters

Below is a list of common backyard birds and some of the insect pests they eat. Next time you see or hear a bird in your yard, you can breathe a sigh of relief, knowing that they're on your side, helping you keep your garden healthy and looking good.

  • Bluebirds: grasshoppers, crickets, beetles, larvae, moths
  • Cardinals: beetles, grasshoppers, leafhoppers, stinkbugs, snails
  • Chickadees: aphids, whitefly, scale, caterpillars, ants, earwigs
  • Grosbeaks: larvae, caterpillars, beetles
  • Nuthatches: tree and shrub insects such as borers, caterpillars, ants and earwigs
  • Oriole: caterpillars, larvae, beetles, grasshoppers
  • Sparrows: beetles, caterpillars, cutworms
  • Swallows: moths, beetles, grasshoppers
  • Titmice: aphids, leafhoppers, caterpillars, beetles
  • Warblers: caterpillars, aphids, whitefly
  • Woodpeckers: larvae, beetles, weevils, borers

Cover: When designing a landscape to attract birds, it's important to provide places where they can hide or take cover from the weather. During the spring and summer, birds also need nesting sites. Twiggy shrubs and small trees offer many appealing nesting options. If your landscape is always tidy and well coiffed, you might consider designating one area that can be allowed to develop more naturally. Remember that more nesting birds means more hungry mouths to feed and more doting parents combing your yard for food.

Water: Birds are attracted to water for drinking and bathing — especially if that water is moving. If you already have a birdbath, consider adding a bubbler to it. If you don't already have a birdbath, think about an outdoor fountain instead. You'll provide the attraction of moving water, while adding an appealing sculptural feature to your garden as well. Installing a small pond with a solar-powered fountain or a re-circulating waterfall will draw birds from blocks away.

Food: Most people, who feed birds, put their feeders away once warm weather arrives. But even birds that spend most of their time eating insects enjoy the occasional snack. Keep at least one feeder filled with a quality seed blend that will appeal to chickadees, grosbeaks, cardinals and sparrows. Also consider non-melting suet cakes that will keep titmice and woodpeckers coming to your yard. While they're in the area, they'll munch on insect larvae and other delicacies.

Share This Article

Related Products

$34.95
$99.95 - $119.95
$12.95

Sign Up for E-mail

Get the latest news, tips and gardening info!

Sign Up
Looking for Product Instructions?

Assembly instructions, diagrams and other types of product information are available on product pages. To find it, search for the product, go to the product page and click on the "How-To and Instructions" tab.

We're a B Corp!

Gardener's Supply is pleased to be part of a class of companies called B Corps. With this certification comes a dual mission that combines bottom-line success and social responsibility. In short: Do well and do good.

Learn More

Learn and Share

Our website is packed with how-tos and inspiration, as well as opportunities to share with fellow gardeners. Check back often to view new articles, videos, blog posts and Facebook updates and join our online community.

Learn & Share

Satisfaction Guaranteed

We stand by the quality of our products and our service. If for any reason you're not satisfied with your purchase, you can return it to us for an exchange, refund, or credit.

Learn More