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Gardening For Birds
Gene

Creating the perfect garden for birds begins by understanding the needs of birds.
Birds, as with other wildlife, require certain elements in the garden to survive.

These elements include:

Food

Water

Shelter

Planting for birds can add beauty as well as function to your backyard.

Food:

Begin by surveying your yard. You may already have some of the ingredients
needed for a bird friendly backyard.

Many flowers you already enjoy provide food for the birds. Coneflowers are
a favorite summer and fall food source for Goldfinches. Sunflowers offer
the seed that attracts the greatest variety of birds.

Consider tubular flowers for attracting Hummingbirds. Favorites include
Trumpet vine, Cardinal flower, and Scarlet runner.

Annuals can also attract these tiny hummers, try including mass plantings of
salvia, impatient, and containers of geraniums.

Adding some of the ornamental grasses will also provide late summer feeding
for birds, while providing beauty in the landscape. Those tall plumes provide
seed Goldfinches, Black-capped Chickadees, and Purple Finches love.

Shelter:
Trees and shrubs in the landscape not only provide beauty but offer the birds
a place to hide and raise their young.

Flowering Dogwoods, and the small fruited crabapples, not only provide a valuable
food source, but will attract Robins and others to nest in spring. Select varieties
that hold their fruit well into winter.

Favorite shrubs include, Service Berry, Honeysuckle, and American Holly. Plant
these and you are sure to be visited by Robins, Thrashers, Mockingbirds, and more.
Shrubs are also a favorite nesting site of the Northern Cardinal.

Evergreens are an essential part of the bird garden. Providing important shelter
and berries during winters cold. In spring, you'll be rewarded by nesting birds
by planting a few varieties of tall evergreens.

Water:
How you provide water isn't important. Whether you add a full backyard pond or
a simple bird bath, just be sure to add water. Birds need water not only to
drink, but also to keep their feathers in tip-top shape.

Even in winter, a water supply is needed. Consider purchasing a bird bath heater.
A heated bird bath will not only keep an open water source available for the birds,
but will offer you a greater variety of birds to watch. Without a winter source of
water, birds will have to use energy used to keep warm and survive to find water.

Allow your plants to remain in the garden through the winter. This allows the birds
to feed on seed heads and insects much longer.

Consider placing feeders and birdhouses in your yard. Once you've watched House Wrens
scouring the soil for insects in your vegetable and flower gardens, you'll be
convinced, gardening for birds is in your best interest.

Visit Wild-Bird-Watching.com for bird watching information on the nesting, mating, and feeding habits of backyard birds.

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