Here's how to attract colorful and happy songbirds to your yard
Part of the beauty of any landscape is the fascinating wildlife that inhabits it, including beautiful songbirds. Wrens, cardinals, swallows, nuthatches, and more are some of their favorite native plants and will fill your garden with their sweet songs if you provide some water for bathing or drinking. You don't have to follow all these tips to please your winged visitors; Choose what works best for your landscape (some of which you may already be doing), and in no time your garden will become a wonderful birding spot.
1. Plant a varied landscape
Attracting songbirds to the garden means creating a hard-packed, multi-layered landscape that contains a variety of plants to provide texture and food year-round. When designing and planting beds and borders, think both horizontally and vertically. Includes annuals, perennials, herbs, vegetables, and grasses.
2. Choose the best foods for birds and butterflies
To attract birds, find a seed or food specific to the birds you want to attract. Plus, you'll draw more interesting birds than the typical wild bird feeder. For starters, try an assortment of seed- or nectar-producing plant species known to please the palates of songbirds, including black-eyed Susan, coneflower, coreopsis, and salvia. Or fill bird feeders with sunflower seeds, which are good for attracting songbirds to the garden (and a favorite of most seed-eating birds).
Soot and mealworms attract insectivorous birds such as nuthatches and woodpeckers; Popped corn attracts pigeons and doves. For goldfinches, indigo buntings, and towhees, a handful of mixed finches love niger seeds. A common songbird seed mix attracts cardinals, titmice, blue jays, and white-throated sparrows, while saffron attracts songbirds but is less attractive to greedy squirrels, starlings, and grackles. Hummingbirds visit feeders with sugar and water, as do orioles, house finches, and red-bellied woodpeckers; You can also set up new fruiting areas for orioles, tanagers, and grosbeaks.
3. Replace non-native plants with more nutritious natives
To attract songbirds to the garden, native plants provide a balanced diet of seeds and fruits that ripen at critical times. The more natives you grow, the more insects you draw, and the more species of songbirds will visit.
4. Add birdbath
Birds love to splash in the water, so a bird bath is a good way to attract birds to your yard. Place the birdbath in an open area so the birds can monitor their surroundings and watch for potential predators; Change the water every few days.
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5. Add trees and shrubs to your wildlife garden
Trees and shrubs provide shelter from storms and hide places from predators. Additionally, trees and shrubs provide a place for birds to nest, which is how songbirds are attracted to the garden. Trees that bear fruits and berries, such as flowering crabapples, also provide food for many songbirds. Include as many samples for as many different types as possible. Add at least one thorn species, such as hawthorn or rose, to provide protective perches.
A few dense evergreens (juniper, spruce, yew) provide winter cover; A variety of berry-producing species such as dogwood, serviceberry, chokeberry, and viburnum provide fruit at different times of the season. Bonus: Many trees are also attractive to butterflies.
6. Reduce the size of your lawn
A yard with a less square footage of lawn and more space with wildlife-attracting plants will naturally have more songbirds. For native grasses, good choices to attract songbirds to the garden include switchgrass and little bluestem; Cut them back annually in early spring.
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7. Stand the stems this winter
Instead of cutting perennials to the ground in the fall, leave the stems to help harbor insects over winter that songbirds can eat. You can leave brush piles from cleaning jobs. These fallen branches make an excellent ground-level shelter for birds.
Test Garden Tip: Leaving brush piles can attract and provide a habitat for other wildlife, such as rodents, so make sure to keep them away from your home.
8. Maintain bird feeders and birdhouses
Feeders and birdhouses are easy ways to attract songbirds to the garden, but you need to keep them in good condition. Clean and repair boxes before nesting season begin in late winter. Feeders should be cleaned weekly and free of disease-causing bacteria. This is especially important for hummingbird feeders. Empty the feeders, then soak them in a solution of 1 part bleach to 9 parts water. Rinse thoroughly with warm water and allow to dry before filling.
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9. Avoid herbicides, pesticides, and fertilizers
Any of these ingredients can be dangerous to birds and other wildlife. A better bet for attracting songbirds to the garden is to rely on biological controls for insect pests and to reduce weeds by pulling them when they are small and before they go to seed.
10. Keep cats indoors
Your cats may love to roam around, but cats cause the deaths of millions of songbirds every year. Your best bet for attracting songbirds to the garden is to separate the two.