Landscaping for Birds
Attracting birds into our landscapes and gardens is an activity that can bring much enjoyment over the cold, dreary winter months. Bringing birds as well as other pollinators and wildlife near your home also helps manage unwanted insect populations and maintain the ecological balance of outdoor environments. Now is a great time to start your landscape design to have a yard welcoming for birds.
Birds needs three basic things to survive; food, water, and shelter. These elements can easily be supplied in your backyard. One of the main elements for attracting many species of birds is a wide variety of plants arranged into sheltered areas of shrubs and trees, open areas, and wet areas around ponds or streams. Start your bird landscape by observing what plants and other elements you already have. The predominate habitat type in the area will determine which bird species can be attracted to your yard. Next determine what needs to be added to your area, to make it a better environment for birds.
Diversity is key when landscaping for birds. Use a wide variety of plants to provide food and shelter for birds. Fill the yard with fruit or seed bearing plants for the best habitat development. A great example is evergreen holly, this plant has berries which are attractive, feeds the birds, and also provides shelter in winter. Whenever possible use native plants. Our native birds are adapted to native plants, which are often drought resistant, cold and heat tolerant, and many are proven bird attractors. It is best to supply plants that will have some food or shelter during all seasons. Don’t forget about the fall when birds are migrating and incorporate some winter berry plants for non-migratory species preparing for winter. Be careful using pesticide in landscapes where you are attracting wildlife. Use them as a last resort, and remember that birds are often predators of insect pests.
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