Birdscaping Your Backyard

How do you turn your yard into an inviting sanctuary where birds will come to nest, raise their families and seek shelter for the winter?

The way to start is to look at your yard from a bird’s eye view. Find a vantage point where you can see the whole front yard or backyard at once (try the back steps or an upstairs window). Then ask yourself these questions. (Your answers will help you plan your birdscape.)

  • Are there places for birds to hide? Songbirds need protective cover from potential enemies like cats, snakes and hawks.
  • Are there places for birds to nest? Birds will be drawn to your yard during the breeding season if you have inviting places for them to next, such as trees, shrubs, hedges, brambles and even vines.
  • Are there sheltered areas where birds can protect themselves from the elements? Evergreens, shrubs planted against walls and other sheltered areas will give birds a place out of the cold, wind and rain.
  • Is there food and water? Bird feeders and birdbaths are great helps to overwintering birds (in fact, a heated birdbath is often critical to winter survival). But during the rest of the year, it’s important to provide natural food sources–flower nectar, grass seedheads, fruits, berries and a diversity of plants to attract insects, since many songbirds are insectivores. You can landscape for winter by choosing plants that keep their berries or seeds well into the coldest months. You’ll find that the extra color and texture these plants provide really perk up your landscape, too! A small pond, pool or puddle will attract thirsty birds and an interesting assortment of wildlife, including frogs, toads and dragonflies.

Adapted from Birdscaping Your Garden, by George Adams. Copyright (c) 1988 by George Adams. Reprinted by permission of Rodale Press.
Adapted from Birdscaping Your Garden, by George Adams.

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Elisa F.
Elisa F.1 years ago

Thanks for sharing.

Angie V.
Angie V.2 years ago


Marcel Elschot
Marcel Elschot2 years ago

Thanks for sharing

Magdalen B.
Magdalen B.2 years ago

It's lovely to have the birds and the odd squirrel in the garden but I'm a bit speciesist against the cute little rats which enjoy my compost bin.Some visitors are less welcome and adorable than others.

Elizabeth M.
Elizabeth M.2 years ago

Thank You Annie for even more ideas. I love the birds so much, and for some reason of which I don't know, I don't get much of a variety. Mind you I live on the edge of a small town and not far from the railway tracks. I seem to get a lot of magpies which are pretty - but they rob the nests of the smaller birds and especially the robins.

aj E.
aj E.2 years ago

would be nice.

Fred Hoekstra
Fred Hoekstra2 years ago

Thank you Annie, for Sharing this!

Jeaneen Andretta
Past Member 2 years ago

I have water bowls and plenty of food, plus peanuts for birds, squirrels and deer. I have one orphan deer, her mom was killed by a car near my house and she came wandering into my yard, she still had her spots so she was only a few months old. So I gave her some bird seed and showed her the water, she has been coming to yard for two years now. She herself is now pregnant. I always tell the wildlife stay on my property and you'll be safe, they seem to understand.

Fi T.
Fi T.2 years ago

That's the best way to live

Jeannie Fuchs
Jeannie Fuchs2 years ago

UGH neighborhood of outside cats. So sadly I can't feed the birds, but on the plus side I do get to feed the cats & get them fixed, so no more kitties :)