You can easily provide a bird sanctuary right in your own backyard! All it takes is some research, patience and elbow grease. You can begin cultivating your garden and landscape to lure in lovely song birds, who will call your garden home within the season.
Check out your Current Plantings
You can begin transforming your landscape into a bird paradise by grabbing a pencil and paper. Walk through your landscape and begin to identify the plants and flowers that are currently there. If you don’t know the name of some of the plants, consult a comprehensive gardening book.
After you have inventoried all of the plants, you can then consult a horticulturalist or bird book to find out if your particular plants are bird and butterfly-friendly. A good indicator is a plant has flowers, seeds, cones, nuts and berries. If you have a wide variety of food, birds of many different varieties will surely make their way to your backyard.
Consider the food supply in your garden
Which brings us to the next point: is the food supply in your garden year-round? It is important to provide food for your birds throughout the year, so make sure that your plants are varied according to the time they seed or produce berries. In general, deciduous plants (those that drop their leaves in the winter), provide the most fruit, nuts and seeds for wildlife.
Evergreens are also a good source of berries and seed-filled cones. Many birds may also use evergreens as protection, shelter and breeding sites.
Eliminating pesticides throughout your garden and landscape serves many purposes. First, it keeps beneficial insects and microorganisms in your garden, which are then fed on by birds. Second, it provides a safe environment for many types of wildlife. Lastly, it is good for the environment and keeps chemicals out of our soil and water systems.
If you aim to kill every insect in and around your home, remember that the ecosystem has its own set of checks and balances. In other words, if insects are a problem, encourage birds into your garden to help control the insect population.
Choosing native plants makes it easy to go organic in your garden, as they require less maintenance and fewer pesticides. Consider native grasses, for example. These plants are beautiful, easy to grow and maintain, require very little supplemental water and provide a safe haven for birds. In addition, the seeds of native grasses are often eaten by birds.
Ask a horticulturalist which native plants are best for your yard.
Provide a Water Source
Birds love water, and the quickest way of starting a bird party is to introduce a shallow pool of still water. Bird baths work great, as do shallow ponds with protruding rocks. A rough, outer area or a rock border for your water source gives smaller birds and butterflies a safe place to land.
Do not, however, create a water source that is more than three inches deep, as birds are often wary of deep water.
These small changes in your garden can not only raise its aesthetic appeal, but also its attraction to beautiful song birds.