Water in a bird bath or other container often attracts birds in spring and summer, but the costs of maintaining open water through the winter are not justified. Birds survive on water derived from foods they eat and from eating snow. Seed_eating birds, like crossbills, are sometimes attracted by salt and other minerals that can be supplied by a salt block. Plantings for Wildlife: If your yard has few trees and/or shrubs, birds will probably not be attracted to a feeder. Their need for shelter and protection from predators is often stronger than their attraction to an artificial food source. Also, because birds will not normally visit your yard in search of natural food if there are no trees or shrubs, they would be unlikely to detect food in your feeder. Don't despair, however! Start planning to landscape your yard for birds.
While it is okay to paint the outside of a bird house, do not paint the interior surfaces or the inner rim of the entrance hole. Furthermore, use only environmentally safe paints, stains or varnishes on the outside and avoid any lead_based paints that can poison birds from fumes or ingestion. Choose a bird house design with the proper interior dimensions for the desired residents: Too small of a house may cause growing birds to smother, while too large of a house will not be attractive to nesting parents. Smaller birds could also become too chilled in a larger house if they are not huddled together when needed.