Do you wish you had more feathered friends living near your home? Birds add color, life, and beauty to the natural landscape. Here are five simple tips for attracting birds to your yard.
1. Leave tree snags.
A tree snag is basically a dying or dead tree that is still standing. Tree snags are a great habitat for birds because they provide the bird a place to perch as well as a food source (insects are often found inside the trunk). One of my good friends has a tree snag on her property. Whenever I go to her house, I always see birds perched on the dead branches. Sure, it's a little unsightly, but it is hands-down the favorite place for birds to congregate in her yard. If your yard leans toward the wild and rustic or if you live in a rural setting, a tree snag would fit right into your landscape.
2. Be sure to provide the birds with enough cover to feel safe.
Birds need many trees and shrubs to provide shelter and safety as they eat, nest, and relax. In addition, birds need cover during a thunderstorm. Take a look around your landscape and be sure that the birds have enough places to take shelter. If not, try to see where you might add a shrub or even another tree.
3. Birds need access to water for drinking and bathing.
Adding a birdbath to your yard can increase bird sightings. Be sure the birdbath is placed near shelter (a tree or shrub) so that the bird can fly to safety if necessary. Don't forget to clean the birdbath and add fresh water regularly!
4. Plant native plants.
Both birds and the insects they count on for food prefer native plants. If invasive plants take over the landscape, birds will lose the variety that they need in their diet. I love the list of recommended species that is organized by state at the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center. PlantNative is another great source for native plants. Their plant lists include extra comments to let you know which plants offer additional benefits to birds.
5. Provide food, shelter, and nesting sites.
Before you add a new, native plant to your yard, consider whether it provides birds with food, shelter, nesting sites, or preferably, all three. Keep these three factors in mind when you head to the local nursery to buy a native plant for your lawn or garden.
Take a survey of your yard to see that it has a combination of evergreen trees (trees that typically keep their leaves year-round) and deciduous trees (trees that lose their leaves, typically before the winter) as well as shrubs and grasses that produce fruit/seeds at different times of the year. The more variety you have, the more birds you will attract.
How do you attract birds to your landscape?