For some of us, the desire to attract birds and other native wildlife is among the top reasons to begin gardening. Though birds can frequently be found foraging through lawns and flitting about shrubberies, it’s usually not until gardeners begin planting bird-friendly landscapes that they begin to notice a true difference in the various species that come to visit. Gardening for birds is just one way to bring more interest to your yard, as well as provide a valuable resource for our feathered friends.
What Is a Bird Garden?
Bird friendly gardens are specifically curated to meet the needs of birds. This can include growing certain plants, as well as the addition of structures which provide food, water, and/or shelter. While manmade feeders, bird houses, nesting boxes, and bird baths are frequently used, you can meet these needs through the incorporation of natural materials and plant based design elements.
Regardless of the garden size, the creation of a safe and inviting habitat for birds is key in attracting birds to the yard.
Bird Garden Plants
Bird garden plants will vary depending upon the species you wish to attract. However, most birds are delighted to find annual and perennial flowers, which produce large amounts of seed from mid-summer into fall.
Among the best options for bird garden plants are native wildflowers, echinacea, sunflowers and zinnias. Other plants that produce berries or nuts may further offer nutritional value to foraging birds. Incorporating evergreens, large shrubs, and even thorny vines is an ideal means of protecting birds from predators.
Bird Garden Maintenance
Growing a bird garden should be an enjoyable experience, so it’s important to plan accordingly. Gardening for birds is not without some maintenance. General tasks related to bird garden care include refilling feeders and bird baths, as well as implementing routine cleaning practices. Thoroughly cleaning feeders, baths, and houses will help to reduce the incidence and spread of various bird diseases in feathered garden guests.
Gardeners should also make certain to avoid the use of pesticides, herbicides, and other chemical products to ensure that no harm comes to species which feed on the ground or on insects.