To increase the likelihood that birds will come and hopefully nest in your yard, add certain natural features that appeal to them. Hedgerows, for example, are more likely to attract nesting birds than that “golf course” green look many homeowners try to achieve each year. Twiggy or thorny shrubs like holly or virburnum are attractive to many birds as are briar patches, brambles and brush heaps.
Every section of our country has unique climate and soil conditions that will determine your choice of what to plant. As much as possible, try to incorporate varieties of trees and shrubs that are indigenous to your region. These native plants have had centuries to adapt to local environments and will prove hardier and more disease-resistant than exotic varieties. Look around at the conditions in which your natural vegetation grows. Then, choose plants appropriate to your property. For instance you would want to plant willows in wet areas and pines in the open, sunny areas.
The time you invest in research and planning before you turn one shovel of dirt assures that the tallest trees don’t wind up in the center of your yard. Diverse plantings, placed on different levels, will provide greater attractiveness to both birds and birders. Minimizing problems with plant disease and pest control are also important contributing factors when a site plan is developed. Tall trees, large shrubs, small bushes and ground cover create natural layers to supply the proper habitat in small spaces.
By varying the height of growing things, you accommodate bird species that spend most of their time on the ground as well as those that prefer low, bushy cover or treetops. Plant variety also helps to meet wildlife needs through all four seasons of the year.
As a main element of your habitat plan, trees and shrubs provide food, cover and nesting sites. However, you can’t rush Mother Nature. Patience is more than a virtue when it comes to creating a backyard habitat, it is a necessity. But over time, with careful attention, you will find your property has come alive with the sights and sounds of birds and other wildlife.
Enjoy your birds!
Wild Bird Depot is located on Rt 11 in Gilford, NH. Steve is a contributing author in major publications, a guest lecturer at major conventions in Atlanta and St. Louis as well as the host of WEZS 1350AM radio show “Bird Calls” with Lakes Region Newsday @ 8:30AM. Wild Bird Depot has donated over $5,000 to local rehabilitators and local nature centers since 1996. Be sure to check out our blog “Bird Droppings” via our website www.wildbirddepot.com. Like us on Facebook for great contests and prizes.