Attract These 4 Birds to Control Garden Pests

Photo of Baltimore Oriole by Hagit Berkovich
I’m a mosquito magnet! In the short time it takes me to fill up a watering can from my rain barrel, I’m covered with half a dozen bites. Within a matter of hours, though, I forget all about the little bloodsuckers and the marks they’ve left behind.

Unfortunately, my plants can’t recover so quickly from an insect invasion. Fortunately, here are four birds that you can attract to your backyard to keep bugs at bay naturally.

Purple Martin: Attracting these mosquito-eating members of the swallow family can be as simple as providing a bird box. In the Eastern United States, purple martins nest almost exclusively in nest boxes, while west of the Rockies they often nest in tree cavities and building crevices.

House Wren: These birds range throughout most of the lower 48 states during parts of the year. House wrens aren’t picky about nesting sites and may nest in nest boxes, building crevices or even mailboxes. Include low-lying shrubs (such as American beautyberry) or brush piles in your yard for cover, nesting materials and food to attract them.

Photo of Common Nighthawk by Brian Meyer
Common Nighthawk: These nocturnal birds can be tricky to attract to a backyard unless you have a yard full of insects to eat. Because they’ve also adapted to nest on level surfaces, such as the ground or flat rooftops, they are the perfect visitor for urban gardens.

Baltimore Oriole: These songbirds range from the central Midwest to the Northeast and nest in hanging pouches in deciduous trees. Because they eat fruit and nectar in addition to insects, you can attract them by planting blackberry, serviceberry and cherry for food, as well as elm, sycamore, tupelo and other shade trees as nesting spots.

When you go above and beyond for the birds in your neighborhood, they’ll thank you by providing free pest control and even a beautiful song or two.

Plus, when you certify your yard as an official Certified Wildlife Habitat® site, National Wildlife Federation will thank you with additional benefits.