Attracting Birds in The Garden

attracting birds
Happy Hummingbird feeding on Honeysuckle flowers

The easiest method of attracting birds into the garden is to create a habitat that provides for their essential needs; food, shelter and water. Gardening for the birds, as crazy as that sounds, is the best way for attracting birds and retaining birds in your garden.

Nothing beats native vegetation to feed the birds of your area. While native plants are ideal sources of food, they aren’t always the first choice for gardeners when designing a landscape. Fortunately most good independent garden centers offer a wide variety of ornamental shrubs, trees and perennial plants that also offer your feather friends a buffet of treats to feed on. Bird friendly habitat offers opportunities for food and shelter for birds, while attracting bees, butterflies, and other critters into the garden.

Plants For Attracting Birds:

 Type of Food Plant Source Birds Attracted
NectarVarious flowers, especially red tubular flowers, such as Columbine, Lobelia, Penstemon, Azalea, Fuchsia, Trumpet Vine, Bee Balm, Catmint and native HoneysuckleHummingbirds, Orioles
 Nuts Oak, Hickory, Buckeye, Chestnut, WalnutWoodpeckers, Nuthatches, Jays
 Seeds Pine, Spruce, Fir, Maple, Alder, Sunflowers, Coneflowers, Echinacea, Asters, Goldenrod, Grasses and other perennials Woodpeckers, Grosbeaks, Finches, Bobwhites, Cardinals, Chickadees, Crossbills, Jays, Nuthatches, Junco, Sparrows
 Fruit Holly, Dogwood, Serviceberry, Cherry, Elderberry, Red Mulberry, Hackberry, Bayberry, Raspberry, Blueberry, High-bush Cranberry, Virginia creeper, GrapeThrushes, Cedar Waxwing, Bluebirds, Sparrows, Woodpeckers, Tanagers, Junco, Grouse, Thrashers, Wren, Flickers, Yellow-rumped Warbler

Attracting birds into your garden also includes providing habitat at the edge of your property by planting shrubs native to your area. In addition to providing an abundant natural food source, habitat plantings also attracting birdsprovide shelter from predators and will support wild bird nesting, increasing the varieties of bird that visit your yard year after year.

Tips for Attracting Birds in the Garden:

1.    Provide a food source adjacent to your home in the form of perennials planted in your garden that produce seed heads supplemented by bird seed in feeders.
2.    During the summer, keep deadheading flowers to promote repeat blooms and sturdy stems, but once fall has arrived, leave spent flowerheads alone, and let them go to seed for winter birds.
3.    Provide shelter near food sources by planting shrubs such as Red twig Dogwood, Viburnum, Dogwood and Blueberry plants.
4.    Offer a water source near food and shelter. In cold climate areas, use a birdbath heater that has a built-in thermostat to warm the water up to just above freezing. In warmer climates place a birdbath in an area where it is easy to clean and refill as needed.
5.    Place feeders away from domestic predators such as cats to encourage bird visits.

attracting birds
Juncos feeding on ornamental grass seeds in the winter.


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