Help me attract birds to my balcony
August 13, 2007 12:11 PM   Subscribe

Help me attract birds to my balcony

I live in the middle of the concrete jungle in São Paulo, Brazil. Amazingly though, there is a large population of birds that live on a couple of large trees next to my building. These are mainly a couple kinds of hummingbirds and tirivas (don't know what they're called in English).

They are delightful, I adore them. I noticed the hummingbirds are attracted to a colorful decorative hanging I have on the balcony, so I just added today a hummingbird feeder with the special sugary water they like. I expect lots of visitors.

The thing is, I want to attract the tirivas too. I hung a little feeder with one of these seed and honey bars. The question is: how are they going to find MY balcony in the middle of the virtually hundreds of balconies all around?

I'd like to avoid a new plant, as I am a true brown-thumb and will surely kill it. What are the alternatives? Any specific color they like? A scent? Little reflective beads and mirrors? Please tell me there is a special kind of bird-attracting incense out there...

posted by AnyGuelmann to Pets & Animals (7 answers total)
I had hummingbirds come by my balcony this summer and I was entranced! They are territorial with the feeders, however, so if there are a number of them in the area, you might want to put up more than one feeder, otherwise they fight over it. Also, be sure to clean out the feeder frequently so that mold doesn't grow in it, and change out the sugar water every few days.

Have fun!!
posted by la petite marie at 12:59 PM on August 13, 2007

If it's food for them, they'll find it! Give it a few days. The best way to attract birds is food, and you've got that. I agree that adding a second feeder might help.

I'm very sorry to tell you that there's no special bird-incense out there (at least not for getting them to come to your balcony).
posted by gingerbeer at 1:00 PM on August 13, 2007

Second the hummingbird feeder. If not that, research and see what flowering plants attract the little guys and put a few containers of plants out on your balcony. They'll eventually find them.
posted by Thorzdad at 1:06 PM on August 13, 2007

Best answer: I second "give it a few days." Can you set up a tray for seed on your balcony? I'm always impressed with how quickly birds notice the seed I scatter on my third story window ledge. Once one bird finds the food, others quickly follow. As for the incense, birds generally don't have a good sense of smell.

You might want to check out São Paulo's Centro de Estudos Ornitológicos. It has links for birds of the city of São Paulo, how to attract birds to your yard, and much, much more. According to this information at, they have a monthly meeting: Os associados se reúnem todo segundo sábado do mês, às 14:00 horas, no Anfiteatro do Instituto de Biociências da Universidade de São Paulo, na Cidade Universitária. As reuniões são abertas a todos os interessados.

Have fun!
posted by dmo at 3:08 PM on August 13, 2007

Thirding the "patience and persistence" approach. Also, consider putting out a balcony-sized birdbath as well. Water can be even more attractive than food.

As dmo says, have fun—and take pictures!
posted by vetiver at 4:22 PM on August 13, 2007

On non-preview—I meant to strongly endorse dmo's links. It's important to get advice specific to your location.

And since I'm posting again anyway — I'm a total non-expert on birds but your photo of a "tirivas" looks, to me, like a parrot. (Scroll down to see how they've adapted to North American locales.)
posted by vetiver at 4:32 PM on August 13, 2007

Response by poster: The second feeder idea is great, I'll add one more for the hummingbirds and one more for the tirivas.

I do have a nice tall bamboo and some potted plants. I had actually been wondering for some time if I should get some kind of red or orange flower to catch their attention, but really, I usually kill flowers so fast (I seem to alternate between drowning the poor things and letting them die of thirst) it's cruel.

dmo, great links! Thanks so much!

I love the birdbath idea but unfortunately it's not an option, as we have a serious Dengue problem down here in Brazil and the mosquito's larvae would thrive on that.

vetiver, you're right, kind of. Tirivas are related to parrots, but they are about half the size and are more adapted to urban environments. Also they're one color all over, while parrots have blue, turquoise, yellow, red feathers.

Oh and I am so sorry to hear there are no bird-attracting incenses out there. Someone should definetely invent one! Afterall, there are love- and money-attracting incenses, it only seems right to have one to attract birdies. ;-)
posted by AnyGuelmann at 7:15 PM on August 13, 2007

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