Creating a Bird-Friendly Garden

Many home gardeners wonder how they can attract more birds to their garden. Basically, you need to make sure your yard is bird-friendly and goes beyond just offering a birdbath or bird feeder to our feathered friends. While a bird feeder will encourage birds, landscape with plants that attract them by providing a food and shelter source.

 

In addition, your garden needs to provide safety and cover for birds. It needs natural food sources like seeds, nectar, and insects, suitable nesting sites, a consistent water source, and areas where birds can find shelter from rain, wind, and cold.

 

Many native plants provide food in the form of seeds, nuts, or fruits and also provide protective cover. Plants native to the local area will attract wild birds since they provide the food and shelter they are used to. Birds can also help the landscape by distributing these native seeds for future generations. While you don’t have to plant all natives, adding just a few can increase the number and variety of birds to your garden.

 

Since I am an LA girl, I have a few favorite bird friendly California native plants and grasses that I like to recommend. These include sage (attracts Anna’s and Allen’s hummingbirds), artemisia (attracts Sage Grouse), Manzanita (attracts Blackheaded Grosbeak), bush penstemon (attracts Anna’s and Allen’s hummingbirds), milkweed (attracts Hooded Oriole), yarrow (attracts Goldfinch), buckwheat (attracts Blue Grouse, California Quail and others), and toyon (attracts Western Bluebird).

 

If you don’t live in California, or you want to find more natives that will thrive in your garden, look for those that have developed naturally in your area and at local botanic gardens. A good resource is a native plant nursery.

 

Besides natives, if you want to lure songbirds to your backyard, choose annual plants that have an abundance of seeds, like those in the sunflower family. And, all birds will be attracted to an area mixed with annual and perennial wildflowers, low-growing shrubs, and native grasses.

 

Ideally, you want to provide a diversity of plants that fruit at different times of the year to provide the birds with a continuous food supply. If your goal is to attract a wide range of birds, you also want to be sure to have a good mix of plant sizes, shapes, and foliage textures.

 

And remember, insects are one of the biggest food sources for birds so the plants you grow become a source of insects for them. In turn, the birds will help keep the insects under control. You will also increase the appeal of the garden for birds by eliminating the use of pesticides and gardening organically.

 

You will also need to provide some other creature comforts for your feathered friends. Birdbaths with a consistent fresh water supply are a necessity for birds to drink from and bathe in. Providing water throughout the year increases the number and variety of birds that will visit your garden.

 

There are so many designs and styles that they can also add beauty to your garden. Beware though if you have cats or other animals that might hurt the birds. You will need to consider where to locate the birdbath and the type of birdbath you use. A pedestal birdbath provides some protection from cats. Just put it out in the open away from cover that a cat might hide in like shrubs or hedges. Even if you don’t have a big yard and have a small space, just one tree, some flowers, a birdbath and bird feeder will entice birds to your yard or patio.

 

 

19 comments

Julie Botsch
Julie Botsch2 years ago

Thank You.

Cheryl B.
Cheryl B4 years ago

thanks for the info

Chris Ray
Chris R5 years ago

Thanks Judi!~

Jo Asprec
Jo Asprec5 years ago

thanks for sharing! I love the birds to come to our garden!

Cindi N.
Cindi Nickle5 years ago

I plant huge sunflowers every year so the birds can eat whenever they want without haing to wait on me to fill feeders. I put the feeders out in the winter.

Marie W.
Marie W5 years ago

More birds less grass.

Jeramie D.
Jeramie D5 years ago

My birds really love the sunflower seed kernels out of their shell. That way there is no waste to pick up off the ground. Heated birdbathes help in the winter up here in Idaho. Nyger seed stinks on the ground and when it gets wet, but it is so important to clean and disinfect the bird feeders and birdbathes. I learned the hard way a few years ago when some died from salmonella.

Marilyn Hiltner
Marilyn H5 years ago

I'M IN ND AND I EVEN HAD PILEATED WOODPWECKERS THIS YEAR AND OF COURSE MY BACKYARD RAPTOR I BELIEVE A SHARP SHINNED OR COOPERS HAWK.AND I'M A 50 BY 150 FT YARD BUT HAVE MATURE TREES AS WELL AS SHRUBS AND VINES AND COME SUMMER THE WHOLE YARD WAKES UP WITH PERRENIALS OF ALL SORTS AND I PLANT VEGGIES. THIS WINTER I HAVE SEEN A RARE CARDINAL,CEDAR WAXWINGS,HOUSE FINCHES,RARE ROBIN...BUT NOW FEB HAS BEEN UNUSUALLY COLD AND HARDLY ANY BIRDS. THERE IS FEED ALWAYS AND OPEN WATER. I ALSO LEAVE MY GRASSES OVER WINTER AND A FEW OTHER PLANTS FOR VISUAL INTEREST AND BIRD NESTING MATERIALS. HUNG A NEW WREN HOUSE SO HOPE TO HAVE ONE OF THOSE AGAIN THIS YEAR. HE WAS HERE TRYING TO BUILD NESTS LAST YEAR AND WHAT A SONGSTER,JUST GORGEOUS. ACTUALLY I HAVE ANOTHER HOUSE I WILL PUT OUT AND HOPEFULLY HE WILL CONVINCE THE FEMALE TO TAKE ONE OF THEM. BETWEEN ME AND THE BIRDS AND BUGS WE MANAGE A PESTICIDE FREE YARD. CANT WAIT FOR THE STRAWBERRIES!

Vicky H.
Past Member 5 years ago

Yes, and this year my son is putting in a butterfly garden too :-)

Love those birds!

Helen T.
Helen T7 years ago

I don't have a yard. :(