With spring finally upon us it’s the perfect time to start your gardening plans. The element that we find adds the most to your complete backyard experience is incorporating the beauty and sound of summer birds. The question is how can you use plants and flowers to attract birds? And, what kind of bird feeder and food should you use? If you’re looking to create that perfect backyard oasis, here are a few helpful gardening tips to get started!
1. Optimize your garden layout to attract birds
Birds love multi-layer, diverse gardens. A layout with various plants, shrubs and trees of different sizes, heights, widths and structures help to provide bird species with sheltered locations and food options. And don’t forget about ground covers, or grasses and legumes – these are great for smaller, ground nesting birds.
A diverse garden also helps to improve the seasonality of your offerings. When you have plants fruiting, flowering and seeding at different times throughout the season, then you’re able to be a consistent source of food for your bird visitors – which keeps them coming back.
2. Flowers and plants that attract birds
Birds love plants that provide nourishment such as fruiting or nectar producing elements. Spring/summer fruiting plants such as the elderberry or honeysuckle, are great for attracting bright, vibrant birds to your yard. Nectar producing plants, especially nectar from bright red flowers for example, are very popular with birds such as orioles and hummingbirds.
Most importantly, when it comes to selecting your plants keep in mind that whatever is indigenous or most common to your area is what the birds in your area will be looking for.
3. Incorporating bird feeders and bird food.
When you’re building your backyard for birds, bird feeders should always be at the top of your to-do list. Some rules of thumb we like to follow are:
a) Location, location, location. It’s important to pick the right spot for your feeders. Try selecting a space for your bird feeder that’s off the ground and close to cover, should birds need to take shelter.
b) Success is in the numbers. When you have a number of feeders around your yard with a variety of feed, you’re more likely to get a greater assortment of birds from the area.
c) Prepare for predators. Other backyard visitors can scare off or harm your birds, and may also indulge themselves in your bird food. Some solutions are to use food deterrents or set up baffles which create a safeguard on your feeders.
Another appealing element – both for you and the birds – is incorporating a bird bath. Just be sure to set it up in a safe area, much like your feeding stations, and keep it nice and clean.
Gardening for birds can be fun, and try to learn from it. Watch how birds interact with your specific garden and learn from it each year – eventually you will have a garden oasis that both you and your feathered friends will love.
Additional resources to help when planning your bird garden this spring include: