I returned this week from a birding FAM trip for almost 2 weeks in Guatemala, where I saw some amazingly beautiful birds and got to visit some of the coffee fincas and preserves that are working to protect, preserve, and create habitat for birds so that they can attract international birders to come and visit this beautiful country.

On several occasions I was asked for my advice about how they can make their farms more attractive to birds (and to birders by extension).

My advice? The same thing I’ve been teaching wildlife gardeners around the US: plant your garden to supply all of the essential elements for birds and other wildlife, and learn to create welcoming habitat for birds so that you will attract more of them to take up residence in your yard.

This means going beyond bird feeders and adding those plants to your garden that supply food and shelter to birds.

Bird feeders require a lot of maintenance, which for these fincas (farms) can add up to significant labor costs as well as the cost of bird seed, food, and sugar to make nectar for hummingbird feeders.

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