Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Building a Bird Garden

Bird Gardens

Who doesn't love to listen to the birds throughout the spring and summer? Whether you are watching through a window or from a porch or deck, there is a certain peace that comes from looking into the world of our avian friends. If you really enjoy bringing the birds to your yard, you may want to think beyond just your feeders. Bring them in naturally with plantings that take their needs into consideration.
1.) Shelter
Baby birds Mitchells Nursery King North Carolina
Shelter does not have to mean a formal birdhouse. This can mean providing evergreen trees and bushes to provide shelter and protection year-round from weather and predators. Some birds do not winter over in certain areas. Migratory birds are often what you will find nesting in your birdhouses. Year-round avian residents tend to favor the warmth and safety of dense brush or shrubs. That is not to say that some strategically placed houses wouldn't bring in some beautiful birds for the season. When placing birdhouses, we all tend to want them where we can watch them. That's a great idea till the neighbor's cat starts watching them too. You want to try to be mindful of where you place the houses keeping in mind that most birds are somewhat territorial and like space. So, you don't want to hang a bunch of them together. If you are trying to attract communal birds such as purple martins they like to have their flock all together. Keep them from being easily accessed by predators. Make sure the houses are not in full sun all day long as the daytime temps inside the house can easily reach over 100 degrees.
2.) Food
Mahonia berries Mitchell's Nursery King North Carolina
Mahonia Berries
We are all familiar with our favorite bird feeder. We are often compensating where nature lacks in our yards. You can attract more birds with nature than with feeders. Planting bushes, trees, and flowers that provide seed and berries will attract a wider variety of birds than just a feeder alone. We as humans try hard to keep the birds out of our food so consider berries that are not favored by humans, such as hollies, certain junipers, and viburnum. Flowers that produce seed such as, sunflowers, black-eyed Susans, and coneflowers also welcome a wide variety of feathered friends. Mahonia also produces berries that the birds cannot resist.

3.) Water
Birdbaths are great. However, they are made even better if you have one with a solar pump as it helps to hinder the growth of algae and keeps the water cleaner for your birds. If you do not have a pump, be sure to keep the water as clean and fresh as possible to keep the birds coming back. If you are lucky enough to have a natural water source on your property, of course, that is optimal. Most of us don't have that option though. Garden ponds and birdbaths work very well when kept clean and filled with fresh water. Shallow water is best, not over 1 to 2 inches deep.  Birds enjoy bathing and preening in the water and you will enjoy the antics from your place of watch. No matter how you go about planning your garden, natural is always better. Combining natural and man-made elements together can provide a diverse selection that will attract an equally diverse bird population. With all of your ingredients in place, sit back, and enjoy what nature brings to your yard.

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