Landscaping for Birds

Friday, September 8, 2017 4:41 PM

Birds are not only beautiful and fun to watch, but they also help manage insect populations and maintain an ecological balance in outdoor environments. To attract birds you are going to need three things: food, water, and shelter.

Many plants are beautiful but not all provide a food source for birds.  Filling the yard with plants that bear fruit or seed are best for habitat development. Native plants are always a good option as native birds are adapted to these plants which are often drought, heat, and cold tolerant as well as proven bird attractors.

Vines on fences are also prime real estate for food, nesting, and shelter. Clematis, honeysuckle, and grapes would fit in this category.

A healthy lawn can also contribute to attracting birds such as robins, mockingbirds, and flickers as they love to eat insects and worms.

You may want to consider supplemental feeding via a bird feeder, especially in bad winter weather. Just remember not to locate your feeder closer than 10 feet to shrubs and trees so birds have time to escape in times of danger. 

A source for water is often overlooked but is never the less an important component in your bird sanctuary. When we think water for birds we typically think birdbaths. However, a variety of water features or fountains may make for a more interesting water source. Whatever you choose, the water should not be more than two inches deep and have a clear area of ten feet in diameter to prevent predators from sneaking up on your birds while they are enjoying the water. A rock in the water for standing is also a good idea. Be sure to wash your water feature out every three or four days and disinfect with bleach once or twice a year.

Last but not least is shelter. Shelter can be provided in a variety of ways. A pile of broken branches or pruning clipping will attract cardinals, wrens, towhees, and sparrows. Trees and shrubs with dense branches, leaves, or perhaps thorns will also provide excellent shelter. In addition, birdhouses or nest boxes can be added to your landscape as well.