Attracting birds to your garden is as easy as 1, 2, 3 – it is all about food, water and shelter!
Planning for a wide variety of fruiting shrubs and trees, perennial flowers , grasses and seed and nut producing plantings provides natural food sources for birds. Evergreens, shrubs, compost and brush piles are homes to insects that birds need in their diet. You can supplement these natural foods with birdseed mixtures, fruits and nuts. This can be done year round, but is most important in the winter when naturally occurring foods become scarce.
Water draws birds to your garden, especially if it is moving or trickling. Fountains and birdbaths will attract our feathered friends and enhance the bird-watching opportunities in your garden. Regular cleaning of these receptacles is important for mosquito prevention and to reduce the spread of avian disease. Site your birdbaths and fountains near tall shrubs and trees where your garden visitors can wait their turn and preen after bathing. In winter, a small electric or solar birdbath heater keeps water available when natural sources may be frozen.
Birdhouses are just one way of providing shelter for your wild birds. Fun to collect and attractive garden accents, birdhouses aren’t always the first choice of residence for wild birds. Brush piles, deciduous and evergreen trees and shrubs are the preferred nesting spot for some birds. You will find that the birds will decide where they want to live, and it can change year to year. Cleaning out and disinfecting the birdhouses once a year keeps your nesting families healthy. I do this at the end of summer so the birdhouses are ready for birds who overwinter and early spring nesters.
Attracting birds to your garden can be a wonderful year round hobby for young and old alike. Watching birds prepare a nest, hatch out young and seeing the fledglings flutter out on their own is another way to appreciate nature in your own backyard!
For more information :
National Audubon Society http://www.audubon.org/
About.com Birding/Wild Birds http://birding.about.com/od/birdfeeders/a/What-Winter-Birds-Eat.htm
FOOD ~ provide food sources for birds year round with plantings and supplemental seed , suet, fruits and bread
WATER ~ water sources attract birds to the garden, especially moving water in fountains.
Shelter ~ provide birdhouses as well as shrubs and trees for nesting and overwintering birds.