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Imagine that tomorrow morning you woke up and discovered that the familiar sound of birds outside your window was gone. The silence would probably alarm you.
Just sitting in your garden listening to birdsong is a wonderful way to spend an afternoon. Depending on where you live, you may have wrens chirping overhead, goldfinches swooping from plant to plant, or mourning doves cooing in the grass.
Inviting Birds into Your Backyard and Garden
Birds offer us an important connection to nature. They are a tremendous help around the garden, as well. Doves eat weed seeds and a single swallow will consume hundreds of bugs in one afternoon! Birds are also efficient pollinators.
Who wouldn’t want to have more birds singing in the backyard?
Below are four easy ways to invite more birds into your garden.
1. Diversify Your Plantings
The more diverse your plantings, the more kinds of birds will flock to your garden. Gardens offer birds natural foods such as seeds, nectar, berries, and fruits.
Birds recognize native plants, trees, flowers, shrubs, and grasses as rich food sources. Plant a variety of these in your garden to encourage a greater diversity of bird species in your backyard.
2. Add Water Features and Nest Boxes
Water features, bird baths, feeders, and nest boxes are a sure way to invite birds into your garden. If you are hiring landscapers, let them know you wish to attract birds and work closely with them to design appropriate bird habitats.
Be sure to use only natural and organic fertilizers. If you are going to use chemicals in your garden, remove your feeders and wait a day or two before you put them out again.
3. Create a Safe Environment for Birds
Reduce opportunities for predators like cats and sparrow hawks. You can do this by placing feeders, nest boxes, and bird baths in places where birds can spot danger easily.
Avoid using garden netting, especially during the breeding season. Be sure to place feeders away from your house to minimise the risk of birds colliding with windows.
4. Provide Natural Nesting Places
In addition to a supply of food and clean water, birds need places to hide and nest. Pines and densely needled conifers block the wind, supply cover in bad weather, and offer protection from predators.
Trees like oak, cedar, birch, maple, choke cherry, and serviceberry provide insects, seeds, and fruit along with shelter and nest sites.
Let Your Garden Grow a Little Wild
Let your backyard grow a little wild to provide areas of shelter. Delay pruning if a family of robins decides to nest in your forsythia.
Instead of diligently deadheading every fading flower, allow seed heads to stand for the birds to eat, says Robin Sweetser for the Old Farmer’s Alamanac.
If you there are periods when there are few birds in your garden, think about what you can do to make your space more attractive at that time of year.
Don’t be impatient – activity generally builds up as more birds get into the habit of visiting your garden.
All you have to do is to make your garden a welcoming place for birds.