How to Attract Birds to You
Updated: Jun 16
If you live someplace where birds hang out (or you tend to hang out where birds live), it’s a treat to listen to their different songs, especially during mating season, late winter to early summer. You may even catch glimpses of them going about their business and learn to match the different tweets and calls to the different birds that make them, like the blue jay’s buzzy jeers or the robin’s five-note trills at sunset.
But if you hear a new or unfamiliar bird’s call in your backyard or out in the forest but you can’t spot the feathered visitor, you could try some loud “pishing” to coax it out into plain sight, according to Maine birder Nicholas Lund at Audubon.org. Pishing mimics the harsh scolding sounds that most birds make when there’s an avian interloper in the area.
“We call it ‘pishing’ because basically, you just go: ‘Psshhhh! Psshhh!’ like a ‘no-talking-in-the-library’ -style ‘shhhh,’ but with a ‘p’ on the front.” You can also add some “Chit chit chit!” sounds too -- everyone’s got their own style, according to Lund.
If you do it right, birds will come out of hiding to see what’s causing the ruckus and you’ll feel a bit like Dr. Doolittle magically attracting the birds. But the technique isn’t foolproof, cautions Lund. “When pishing doesn’t work, oh boy, you feel like a dope.”