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Photo by Ehpien

Are you one of the estimated 40.5 million people who participate in backyard birding? If so, you nerd! Just kidding. If so, make sure you're doing all you can to draw in those feathered friends and keep them healthy during these dry times.

This post comes to us from two Washingtonians—John Marzluff, wildlife sciences professor, wild bird expert and author of the new book, Welcome to Suburdia—watch the fascinating trailer to his book—and Ed Mills, expert birder and co-founder of Audubon Park Wild Bird Food

1. Lose the lawn or go organic with lawn care

Perennial planting beds are far more diverse (and thus have more habitat and food) than a large swathe of grass. Alternatively, mow it less often, and skip the fertilizers and pesticides which can be toxic to birds. Organic lawn translates to more absorbent soil. Translation? You'll save on water, too. use less water, too.

A male red-wing blackbird makes a quick meal out of an insect on a rainy winter afternoon in Ridgefield, Washington. Photo by Rick Cameron.

2. Lay off of the chemicals

Forgo insecticides and embrace bugs and insects, an important food source for wild birds.

3. Provide food

Supplying food helps support birds as they are raising their young, plus it mitigates the effects that drought, severe weather, and human development has on their natural food supply. You can always make your own bird feeder.

Photo by Chiot's Run

4. Add suet

Suet is a cake of hard fat from the kidneys of cattle and sheep, mixed with seeds, grains, nuts and fruit. It's incredibly nutritious for birds. Be sure to refrigerate or freeze suet prior to placing outside and don't place suet in direct sunlight.

5. Clean up

Clean feeders every week to prevent the spread of illness. Summer rains and humidity can cause mold and bacteria build up.

6. Limit portions

Don’t overfill your feeder. Offer what your freathered friends can finish in one week.

7. Careful with glass

Don’t place feeders too close to windows to help prevent deadly collisions.

A simple recirculating fountain. Photo by Thomas J. Story.

8. Don't forget the water

Having a dish of water or a recirculating fountain is so important in dry times. Be sure to  replenish often!

9. Make foodie birdies

Do choose high-quality seed, nectar and suet that is made-in-the-USA to keep our wildlife healthy.

10. Be a good host

Find the birds in your region using this map and feed them their favorite foods.

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