Plants and birds have a very special relationship in ecosystems and outdoor environments, including your backyard. Here are tips for making your garden more bird friendly.
Your Garden Should Provide Water Sources:
A simple birdbath will draw birds like a magnet. Make sure water is clean and filled frequently. Going further, a small pond can provide a home for amphibians and aquatic insects, and drinking water for all kinds of creatures. These insects and other animals are a good food source for birds, too.
Your Garden Should Provide Food Sources:
Not only do plants directly provide food for birds through their seeds and nectar, but plants also attract insects, a major source of protein for adult and nestling birds.
Choose trees and plants that maximize flowering and fruiting, and keep in mind that nectar-rich native wildflowers offer more to wildlife than showy cultivars. Plants like goldenrod, thistles and sunflowers are good nectar sources for butterflies and bees, and later form seed heads after the flowers are gone that attract goldfinches and other songbirds.
Supplement the “wild” food available in your landscape with bird seed and suet in feeders. Place bird feeders near larger trees and shrubs for more bird visits. If the feeder will be close to your house, place it within three feet of the window or home to reduce the likelihood and severity of window collisions; if the birds are close, they won’t gain enough speed to hurt themselves should they run into the home or window. Be sure to wash your hands after handling bird feeders, nesting boxes, or cleaning bird baths. Birds can carry pathogens that have the potential to cause illness in humans.
Your Garden Should Provide Shelter and Cover:
Although dense shrubbery, tangled vines and dead trees may challenge your image of an orderly yard, they mimic natural areas and create ideal nesting and foraging sites for wild birds. If your yard doesn’t have these, plant native trees and shrubs or make a hedge to provide the shelter, foliage, nectar, pollen, berries, seeds and nuts that many species require to survive and thrive. If you can, add nest boxes to your backyard habitat.
In early spring, set out nest-building materials for birds such as short lengths of yarn, thin strips of fabric or human or pet hair. The birds will get to work to make the nests they need.
Your garden can be a wild bird paradise that will be enjoyed by humans and wildlife alike. Fostering an inviting environment for birds and wildlife will promote a vibrant and healthy ecosystem in your garden, and will bring you hours of enjoyment as you watch, feed and identify the beautiful and entertaining birds.
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