Create a bird-friendly habitat in your backyard and you’ll be rewarded with visits from the Eastern blue bird and other species. (Photo from UF Extension Service)

Where have all the birds gone? They are one of the reasons I like to garden. I have not seen nearly so many since this heat hit us.

Many birds felt the coming heat and took to their migratory paths among the clouds. They know far better than we do about protecting themselves from heat. But you will still find birds at your feeder or hanging upside down on a block of suet. You can still spot the Eastern blue bird, cardinal, downy woodpecker, pileated woodpeckers, crows and blue jays, just to name a few.

You are more likely to have colorful nature fluttering through your back yard if you create a natural habitat for birds. That means an environment that replicates nature’s life cycle, with many protected areas. Dead trees, or snags, where birds that seek out cavities for nests, piles of brush and anything offering good cover in between flight paths is a bird’s paradise. It is nearly as simple as “the more trees you have the more birds you will have.” You should also consider putting out the right food for the bird you want to see in your yard. If you put up a feeder, make sure it is not too close to the house. (I know you would like to get a close look, but it can be dangerous for the bird.) Put a decal on the window to protect them from smashing into the glass.

Water is a necessity for birds. And for bird enthusiasts, there is little else more glorious than watching a blue jay play in the bird bath. But there is a lot to consider when placing a bird bath. Provide nearby shelter, a place of safety for the bird that may be threatened by a feral cat. It might be cute to see a feral cat take a drink from the bird bath, but you should really block their path to the bird bath, or put something at the base that they do not want to walk on, like pine cones.

Clean your bird bath regularly with a weak solution of chlorine. Mold and mildew in the bath can be very dangerous for your feathered…