If you want to attract birds to your garden, you need to provide some or all of the things that the birds need to survive. Birds need food, water and a place to build their nests. If you provide these three things, you have a good chance of attracting birds to your garden.
Water is easy to incorporate into your garden. All you need is a birdbath where birds can get a drink or clean themselves. If you want to go with something fancier, you could design a water garden to attract even more birds. You can also incorporate plants that attract birds into your water garden.
The types of food that birds prefer varies with the season. In the winter time, most birds will eat wild bird seed or sunflower seeds. When the weather is warmer, many birds prefer insects, nectar from flowers, fruits and berries. You can attract birds by putting out bird seed in the winter and planting trees, flowers and shrubs that produce the foods birds like to eat in the warmer months.
Besides planting things that attract birds, you can attract the insects that birds like to eat by giving them a place to hide. Areas where leaves have fallen on the ground are favorite places for birds to look for insects. You can help provide the insects that birds like to eat by keeping the leaves unraked in part of your yard.
Putting up birdhouses provides a place for the birds to build a nest. Birdhouses come in a wide variety of styles and sizes, and some kinds of birds will be more attracted to different types of birdhouses than others. Not all birds will make their nests in birdhouses though. Some prefer to build them in the branches of trees. You can encourage these birds to hang around by planting trees for them to build their nests in.
Besides planting trees, make sure your garden includes flowers that will produce seeds for the birds to eat. To attract hummingbirds, plant flowers that produce a lot of nectar such as columbine and bee balm.
To keep from scaring away the birds you worked so hard to attract to your garden, it´s best to keep the garden free of cats. It will be hard to keep the birds coming back if your cats are trying to catch them and eat them for lunch.
Different types of birds have different preferences for food and shelter, so if you are trying to attract a certain type of bird you´ll need to do a little research to determine how best to attract that species. If you provide the type of food and nesting area that they like, as well as some type of water source, you are very likely to find them hanging around your garden year after year.