Many people mistakenly believe that to properly feed backyard birds, you must have a sizeable plot of land, extensive foliage, and a rural area suitable for many species, but nothing could be further from the truth. As my own landscaping endeavors demonstrate, if your backyard habitat features elements the birds need -- food, shelter, and water -- they will be happy to visit.
For example: while waiting for our planted seedlings to grow and provide adequate shelter, we have constructed an unobtrusive brush pile in an unseen corner beside our house that has become a favored hiding space for many small sparrows and finches. It may not look like much and the weeds have certainly flourished, but many times each day I see skittish flocks take wing directly to its ragged shelter. This is just one type of small and easy alteration anyone can make to help birds feel safe, secure, and welcome in the backyard.
If you have a favorite small green space for your urban backyard birds, share that idea with the Little Green Places contest sponsored by Celebrate Urban Birds. There are quite a few prizes available, and each entry offers a glimpse of different strategies that can be used to attract and shelter backyard birds, no matter where you live or what natural backyard features you may have. The contest runs through October 31, but the stories and ideas share can benefit backyard birds for many years.