Menu Close

How to Make a Bird Friendly Garden

How to make a bird friendly garden featured image.

Having a garden that is attractive to birds is a great thing to do for yourself as well as the environment. With habitat loss happening at an alarming rate, birds need safe havens where they can stop and rest. This is particularly important while birds are migrating. So how do you attract more birds to your garden? Read on to learn some of the easiest, yet most effective ways.

Pick the Right Plants

It is important to pick plants that are native to your area. There are native plant databases available online and at your local library to help you choose. It is a good idea to pick a mix of plants and flowers to keep your garden blooming year round.

One of the most important things your plants provide for birds is food. Plants that attract bugs, particularly caterpillars, provide birds with important protein. Birches, willows, and maple trees are all good for attracting bugs.

Trees or bushes that make berries are very useful, too. To be extra helpful, choose things that will bloom during different parts of the year. This way, you can help birds during the breeding season, while certain birds fly south, and those who stick around for the long winter months.

Seeds and nuts are particularly useful for getting birds through the winter, so choose sunflowers or coneflowers for your garden. The tiny seeds from them are ideal for sparrows and finches. Nectar for hummingbirds can help attract these lovely little birds to your outdoor area. Red tubular flowers are great for adding nectar to your plant line up.

Plant Plenty of Small Trees and Shrubs

It is best to plant trees and shrubs in same-species groups. This is necessary for pollination. Clumping also makes them easy for birds to spot from the sky. If you are striving for a natural look, avoiding planting your trees and shrubs in neat rows. Odd numbers of plants can also help give your garden a natural feel.
Evergreen conifers are popular among birds. They are a great place for them to seek shelter. As a bonus, they are great nesting and roosting. Conifers should also be planted in clumps to make sure they are healthy and visible.

Although it may seem counter-intuitive, leave a few dead branches on your trees. Birds like to perch on them. A tree that is entirely dead is attractive woodpeckers. They like to make nesting cavities in the soft wood. Although dead, these trees still make good anchors for any birdhouses you are wanting to add to your garden.

Give Birds a Source of Water

Water is important for birds, not only for drinking but for bathing as well. An open source of water can be a great way for a bird to cool off on a hot day. Whether you live in an arid area or a place with ample water, birds will be attracted to your garden if you provide fresh, clean water for them. During the summer, you will need to clean your birdbath every few days. A stiff brush will help remove any stains and hard water buildup.

If possible, have a dripping action with your water source. Birds will be especially attracted to this feature. The ripples are especially fascinating for them. You can buy several different devices in hardware or garden supply stores to accomplish this. If you don’t want to buy anything specifically for this no problem. Birds can find water dripping from a hose reel into a bowl just as much fun!

Leave Some Leafs

Certain species of birds are considered ground-feeders. They would very much appreciate it if you did not rake up all of your leaves in the fall. Instead, leave some strategically placed piles for them. You will still want to rake the piles, and should aim for 5-6 inches of depth.

These birds will appreciate if you leave these piles in shady areas, such as under hedges or trees. Species such as robins and thrushes will be attracted to your garden if you leave out some leaves for them.

Keep Your Cat Inside

Cats are a huge threat to birds in urban areas. If you want to let birds flourish in your garden, keep your feline friends inside. Cats face many dangers outside as well, so everyone will be safer this way. If you really want your cat to get some fresh air, consider giving them a small, fenced off area.

At the end of the day, if you absolutely let your cat roam outside, at least put a bell or two on their collar to help alert birds that they are approaching. If you don’t own cats but want to keep other cats off your garden check out this post.

Final Thoughts

With just a little time, energy, and planning, your garden can become a bird sanctuary. Not only can this help add beauty and peace to your life, but it can significantly aid the bird population in your area.

About the Author

logo The Gardenknow editorial team leverages the knowledge, enthusiasm and experience of its team of gardening fanatics to provide the websites content. If you want to learn more about who we are and what we do read more here.