Birds are one of the most fascinating creatures to watch and their chirps are often the first sign that spring has arrived. As a gardener, there are several ways to create an environment that will both attract and help our winged friends. By planting a garden that provides food and shelter for birds, you will create a beneficial, lively habitat in your own outdoor space.
When planting wildflowers that will attract and benefit birds, you will want to plant varieties that have larger seeds that form in the heads. This enables birds to get to the seeds easily when they ripen and not have to struggle with breaking seed pods open. Plant wildflower varieties such as Sunflowers, Echinacea, Black Eyed Susan, and Daisies. Once they have finished blooming for the season, mow or cut everything down and leave the debris on the ground. This will provide material for birds to use in building shelter and nests.
Perennials provide better materials for the birds as their stalks are normally thicker and heavier, giving birds better support for their nests. Wildflowers will provide both nourishment and shelter for birds, as well as provide a gorgeous show for you – Both with their beautiful blooms and having the delight of watching the birds outside your window.
If you are planting a perennial garden for the birds, there are many choices that will create a beneficial habitat. If possible, try planting varieties that are native to your area. If you aren’t sure which plants are native to your region, check in with your local university or ask a knowledgeable gardening friend. Native plants will better attract birds in your area because they are familiar and recognizable to them. Another trick to planting a bird-friendly habitat is to create a layered garden – Mix larger, denser plants with smaller varieties to provide birds with a sense of shelter and safety. Try planting shrubs such as Butterfly Bushes, Hydrangea, and Hibiscus with Ornamental Grasses like Fountain Grass, Maiden Grass, or Pampas Grass. Finally, finish off your layered, bird-friendly habitat with bird-attracting flowers such as Bee Balm, Gaillardia, Sedum, Spiderwort, and Yarrow. Planting perennials with different heights, densities, and foliage will help to not only provide birds with shelter and nourishment, but will attract a wider range of bird types.
When creating your bird-friendly habitat, remember to only use organic fertilizers with no pesticides – the birds will certainly appreciate it! Also, instead of trying to prevent bugs in your garden, welcome them as delicious food for your winged friends. Try adding elements such as water baths or bird feeders to complete your “Bird Oasis.” Gardening for the birds not only provides gorgeous blooms for you to enjoy, but makes a positive imprint on the environment by providing a healthy, helpful environment for our winged friends. Happy Gardening!