If you enjoy birds, you can attract birds to your yard by following a few simple design principles and choosing plants for your landscape that birds like.
Placing birdfeeders in your yard can help attract more birds. Make sure the feeders are large enough to hold two to three days’ worth of quality bird food and place them conveniently. However, to encourage birds to think of your yard as home, the birdfeeders should serve as only assupplements to the plants in your yard that provide food and shelter.
The first thing to remember when landscaping for birds is to provide shelter to protect them from the elements and predators. Evergreens are great, as they often have plenty of space for a bird to crawl into but are difficult for predators to penetrate. Other woody plants also provide good shelter to birds, as do features such as decks and birdhouses.
Next, use a variety of plants that offer seeds and fruits at various times of the year so that the food supply lasts for extended periods. Excellent choices include holly plants (if you use blue holly, you will need both a blue boy and a blue girl to produce berries), crabapple trees, sunflowers, and other plants that produce berries and seed.
Another landscaping principle to keep in mind when selecting plants that attract birds is to select plants that attract insects. Most scented flowers attract insects, which will bring in birds that eat insects. Among your choices for insect-attracting flowers, choose some that bloom during the spring migrations. Then you will get birds on their way through town, headed north. Birds also provide natural insect control for the insects you don’t want in your yard.
Finally, consider water features. Birds like to have places where they can bathe and drink. You do not need a big water feature; a small birdbath or basin is sufficient. Birds do prefer moving water, so small features that circulate water, or even water in gently sloping basins or troughs can be attractive to birds.
Your carefully designed landscape can not only attract birds for your enjoyment but also increase your property value with attractive landscaping.
Visit the Hummingbird Guide for specific information on attracting hummingbirds.