There is no sweeter sound to be heard in a garden then that of chirping birds enjoying the environment. During the winter months, when a person is closed inside the house, nothing brightens up a day as watching birds enjoying a meal at your bird feeder. And this sentiment is shared by over 70 million people in the United States and Canada.
By providing food and shelter to these feathered creatures, these considerate humans are playing an important role in helping birds survive at a time when the bird population is taking a beating.
By knowing what plants satisfy birds, it becomes quite easy to attract them into a yard. Grosbeaks and cedar waxwings look for an assortment of berries. Goldfinches like their thistle, chickadees look for sunflowers, hummingbirds search for nectar and blue jays, of course, like to pick through compost piles. Birds, will, of course, hang out anywhere where they can find a good habitat and an assortment of feeders.
The most important thing for attracting birds is to provide a bird-friendly environment. Yes, birds will eat suet or seed from your bird feeders. But they, also, need to find shelter in a nice, perhaps, wooden, decorative bird house with a supply of water and natural foods close by.
A popular bird stop will have a wide variety of plants. Yards dominated by lawn will never attract as many birds as a yard filled with an assortment of perennials, trees and shrubs. What would work the best is determining what plants are favored by birds and including them into your landscape. For example, nectar-rich bee balm is a favorite of hummingbirds or berry-producing viburnums are treats for cedar waxwings. What works well is including trees and shrubs of different shapes and sizes because some birds prefer tall trees for perching. That enables them to scan their surroundings. Other birds prefer the cover of dense shrubs.
Also, important to keep in mind is that birds need access to water year-round for preening their feathers to ensure good insulation and drinking. An outdoor water fountain, bird bath or pond can be an attractive garden accent and, at the same time, an important habitat feature.
Another consideration that must be made is in the styles of feeders. An assortment of several types will provide you with more of an assortment of feathered visitors. For instance, chickadees will eat from almost any feeder, including the palm of your hand. Other types of birds will, only, eat from a specific type of perch, feeding port or roof. The more of a variety of feeders provided guarantees a wider variety of visitors.
Feeders come in three primary types: platform, suet and elevated perching feeders. Platform feeders, which are, generally, situated at or a little above ground level, will attract a variety of ground-feeding birds such as cardinals and sparrows. Suet is a rendered beef-fat that attracts insect-eating birds such as nuthatches, chickadees and woodpeckers.
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