One of the main goals of any cultivated garden is to attract a variety of birds that can then be enjoyed as people watch them feed and interact with their environment.
The most common means of enticement are no doubt the ubiquitously popular bird houses and feeders that can be found just about anywhere. But these are not the only ways to guarantee bird sightings in your backyard.
In fact, they’re not even the most efficient.
A common complaint among backyard birdwatchers is only getting sporadic activity. This is due primarily to a lack of available cover, which essentially means that a large number of birds will be unique visitors, as there is little incentive for them to stick around.
In order to be attractive for birds, an area must provide ample food, water, and shelter. To achieve this in the most efficient manner, there must be ample flora.
Investing in a well made birdbath can be useful as well, giving your feathered friends a place to drink and bathe. Check out our post for more information on the usefulness of birdbaths as a focal point in the garden, with review of some of our favorite models.
Trees are a must, as well as shrubs and flowers that produce berries and seeds. The foliage of deciduous plants will provide excellent cover, and if there is enough food to be had, the birds may even decide to nest in your garden.
The key to providing food is to grow trees and plants that can maintain a year-round supply. Basically, you want seeds and berries for the summer, and nuts and cones for the winter.
Good trees to have in the summer are those that produce fruit, such as dogwood and crabapple. For the winter, conifers are needed. Spruce and pine trees are good examples, and their familiar cones contain an abundance of seeds.
As far as plants go, there is an almost endless variety available for summer feeding. You’re also given the opportunity to attract particular species of birds with whatever you plant, depending on where you live, of course.
For example, orange and red flowering plants are great for attracting hummingbirds, like sage and the ever-popular honeysuckle.
For most types of birds in general, sunflowers are a veritable beacon. They will attract everything from blue jays to chickadees. Snapdragons are popular as well, and even in the winter these will attract birds if they are left to wither.
Another strategy is to take advantage of wildflowers that are native to your area. Chances are, birds naturally feed from them anyway. And of course wild plants are usually more hardy than their more prim cultivated cousins.
Finally, don’t forget berries. Hollies are excellent sources, along with viburnums. In the autumn, try rugosa roses.
These Siberian flowers are the most disease resistant roses in the world, and they thrive in cold temperatures. During the fall, they produce rose hips and provide an excellent supply of food for the birds.
How are you attracting wild birds to your garden? Do you have any tips to share? Let us know in the comments!