Birds are beautiful creatures that can enhance your garden with their beauty, songs, and services. But how do you attract them to your garden? In this article, you will learn how to create a bird-friendly garden that provides food, water, shelter, and nesting sites for your feathered friends. You will also discover the best plants, feeders, birdbaths, and birdhouses for different types of birds. By following these tips, you can enjoy the benefits and pleasures of having birds in your garden.
The Best Flowers, Shrubs, and Trees for Birds:
I hope this table helps you to choose the best plants for attracting birds to your garden
|Plant Name||Plant Type||Bird Benefits||Bird Species|
|Cornflower||Flower||Provides seeds and nectar||Finches, sparrows, hummingbirds|
|Elderberry||Shrub||Provides berries and insects||Robins, thrushes, waxwings, woodpeckers|
|Milkweed||Flower||Provides nectar and caterpillars||Orioles, warblers, hummingbirds|
|Daisy||Flower||Provides seeds and nectar||Finches, sparrows, chickadees|
|Sunflower||Flower||Provides seeds and nectar||Cardinals, grosbeaks, titmice|
|Holly||Shrub or Tree||Provides berries and cover||Thrushes, bluebirds, mockingbirds|
|Coneflower||Flower||Provides seeds and nectar||Goldfinches, sparrows, hummingbirds|
|Cardinal Flower||Flower||Provides nectar and insects||Hummingbirds, warblers, tanagers|
|Buttonbush||Shrub or Tree||Provides seeds, fruit, nectar and insects||Ducks, waterfowl, butterflies|
|Dogwood||Shrub or Tree||Provides berries, fruit, insects and cover||Robins, bluebirds, thrushes|
|Grapes||Vine or Shrub||Provides berries and cover||Orioles, tanagers, grosbeaks|
|Juniper||Shrub or Tree||Provides berries, seeds and cover||Thrashers, waxwings, finches|
The Best Feeders, Birdbaths, and Seeds:
Feeders are devices that hold and dispense food for birds. There are different kinds of feeders for different types of food and birds. Some of the most common feeders are:
- Seed feeders: These are the most popular and can attract many birds. They fill with a mix of seeds, such as sunflower, millet, safflower, or peanuts.
- Peanut feeders: These are specially designed for peanuts rich in protein and fat. They can attract woodpeckers, nuthatches, chickadees, titmice, and jays.
- Niger seed feeders: These are made for niger seeds (also known as thistle seeds or nyger seeds), which are tiny but highly nutritious. They can attract finches, siskins, redpolls, and goldfinches.
- Squirrel-proof feeders: These are designed to prevent squirrels from stealing or damaging bird food. They have various mechanisms that deter squirrels, such as weight-activated shrouds, spinning perches, or cages.
- Fat/suet feeders: These are made for fat or suet blocks, solid animal fat mixed with seeds or nuts. They provide a high-energy food source for birds during cold weather. They can attract woodpeckers, warblers, wrens, starlings, and robins.
- Window feeders: These are attached to windows with suction cups or hooks. They allow you to watch the birds up close from inside your home. They can attract sparrows, finches, chickadees, titmice, and cardinals.
- Ground feeders: These are placed on the ground or a low platform. They offer easy access for ground-feeding birds that may not visit other types of feeders. They can attract doves, quails, thrushes, blackbirds, and juncos.
- Mealworm feeders: These are designed for live or dried mealworms, which are larvae of beetles high in protein. They can attract insect-eating birds such as bluebirds, robins, wrens, and thrashers.
Many types of birdbaths are available, each with different features and benefits. Some of the most common birdbaths are:
- Pedestal birdbaths: These are the most traditional and consist of a basin mounted on a stand. They are easy to install and move around. They can also add a decorative element to your garden. They can attract birds such as robins, sparrows, finches, and cardinals.
- Hanging birdbaths: These are suspended from a branch or a hook by a chain or a rope. They are ideal for small spaces or balconies. They can also prevent ground predators from reaching the birds. They can attract small, agile birds, such as chickadees, titmice, nuthatches, and hummingbirds.
- Deck-mounted birdbaths: These are attached to a railing or a post by a clamp or a bracket. They are convenient and easy to maintain. They can also offer a close view of the birds from your deck or patio. They can attract medium-sized and perching birds, such as finches, jays, woodpeckers, and cardinals.
- Ground-level birdbaths: These are placed directly on the ground or a low platform. They mimic natural water sources such as puddles or streams. They can also blend in with your garden landscape. They can attract ground-feeding and shy birds, such as doves, quails, thrushes, and wrens.
- Solar-powered birdbaths: These are powered by solar panels that convert sunlight into electricity. They have various features that enhance the water quality and appearance, such as pumps, fountains, misters, or heaters. They can attract more birds by creating movement, sound, or warmth in the water.
When choosing a birdbath for your garden, you should consider the size and depth of the basin, the material and design of the bay, the birdbath’s location, and the birdbath’s maintenance.
Some of the most popular types of seeds are:
- Sunflower seeds are the most popular seeds among people and birds. They are rich in oil and protein and can attract many birds. They come in two varieties: black oil and striped. Black-oil sunflower seeds have thinner shells and higher oil content than striped ones. They are easier to crack open and more nutritious for birds.
- Millet seeds: These are tiny round seeds that come in various colours, such as white, red, or yellow. They are high in carbohydrates and fibre and can attract ground-feeding and small birds. They are often mix with other seeds in birdseed blends.
- Nyjer seeds are tiny black seeds known as thistle seeds or niger seeds. They are high in oil and protein and can attract finches, siskins, redpolls, and goldfinches. They require unique feeders with tiny holes to prevent spillage and waste.
- Safflower seeds: These are white cone-shaped seeds that are high in oil and protein. They can attract cardinals, grosbeaks, chickadees, titmice, and nuthatches. They taste bitter and deter squirrels and unwanted birds like starlings and grackles.
- Peanuts are not technically seeds but legumes high in fat and protein. They can attract woodpeckers, nuthatches, chickadees, titmice, jays, and bluebirds.
- Cracked corn: This corn has been dried and broken into smaller pieces. It is high in carbohydrates and can attract ground-feeding and large birds. It can also attract rodents and other pests if not cleaned up regularly.
When choosing seeds for your garden, you should consider the quality and freshness of the seeds, the preference and diversity of the birds, and the availability and cost of the seeds.
The Best Ways to Prevent Predators, Pests, and Diseases:
Predators are animals that hunt and kill other animals for food. Some common predators of birds in the garden are cats, hawks, owls, snakes, raccoons, squirrels, and rats. Predators can severely threaten the birds in your garden, especially during the nesting season when the eggs and chicks are vulnerable. To prevent predators from attacking the birds in your garden, you can try the following methods:
- Keep your cats indoors or put a bell on their collar to warn the birds of their presence. Cats are responsible for killing millions of birds every year.
- Place feeders and birdbaths away from windows or fences where predators can ambush the birds. Also, avoid placing them under trees or shrubs where predators can hide or drop down on the birds.
- Use baffles or guards on poles or wires to prevent predators from climbing to the feeders or birdhouses. Baffles are cone-shaped or cylindrical devices that block the access of predators.
- Choose birdhouses with small entrance holes that only allow the intended species to enter. Also, make sure the birdhouses are sturdy and secure from predators.
- Remove any food scraps or garbage from your garden that may attract predators such as raccoons or rats. Also, keep your compost bin covered and away from bird-feeding areas.
- Encourage natural enemies of predators such as dogs, foxes, or coyotes to patrol your garden. However, be careful not to attract predators that may also harm the birds.
Pests are insects or other organisms that damage or destroy plants or animals. Some common pests of birds in the garden are mites, lice, fleas, ticks, mosquitoes, flies, ants, wasps, and bees. Pests can cause discomfort, irritation, infection, or disease to the birds in your garden. They can also reduce the quality and quantity of food available to the birds. To prevent pests from infesting the birds in your garden, you can try the following methods:
- Clean and disinfect the feeders and birdbaths regularly to prevent the growth of mould, algae, or bacteria that may attract pests or harm the birds4. Also, change the water frequently and remove debris or spoiled food from the feeders or birdbaths.
- Provide natural nesting materials for the birds, such as dried grass, straw, or moss, free of pests or chemicals4. Avoid using synthetic materials such as plastic, nylon, or polyester that may harbour pests or harm the birds.
- Inspect and clean the birdhouses periodically to remove any pests or parasites that may infest the nests or eggs4. Also, check for cracks or holes that may allow pests to enter the birdhouses.
- Plant herbs like lavender, rosemary, or mint around your garden that may repel pests with their scent. You can also sprinkle herbs inside the birdhouses or nests to deter pests.
- Encourage natural enemies of pests such as ladybugs, lacewings, spiders, or birds to control pest populations. Avoid using pesticides that may kill these beneficial insects or harm the birds.
Diseases are disorders or infections that affect the health or function of living organisms. Some common diseases of birds in the garden are avian influenza (bird flu), salmonellosis (food poisoning), trichomoniasis (canker), aspergillosis (fungal infection), conjunctivitis (eye infection), and pox (viral infection). Diseases can spread among birds through direct contact, contaminated food or water, or infected vectors such as mosquitoes or ticks. Diseases can cause symptoms such as weakness, weight loss, diarrhoea, vomiting, fever, coughing, sneezing, breathing difficulty, swelling, sores, or death. To prevent diseases from affecting the birds in your garden, you can try the following methods:
- Monitor the health and behaviour of the birds in your garden and report any signs of disease or mortality to your local wildlife authority or veterinarian. Also, isolate or remove any sick or dead birds from your garden to prevent the spread of disease.
- Provide clean and fresh food and water for the birds in your garden, and avoid feeding them spoiled or mouldy food that may cause disease. Also, avoid feeding them bread, rice, or other processed foods that may lack nutrition or cause digestive problems.
- Maintain good hygiene and sanitation in your garden and dispose of any waste or litter that may harbour disease-causing organisms. Also, please wash your hands and tools after handling the birds or their equipment.
- Vaccinate your domestic animals, such as chickens, ducks, or pigeons, against diseases that may affect or transmit to the birds in your garden. Also, keep them separate from the wild birds to prevent cross-infection.
Support the immune system and health of the birds in your garden by providing them with various natural foods such as seeds, fruits, nuts, insects, or worms rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. You can also supplement their diet with probiotics, garlic, or apple cider vinegar that may boost their resistance to disease.