As wildlife habitats are threatened by ongoing development, the creation of a bird-friendly environment, or “birdscaping,” is crucial to the existence of our wild bird population. A well-planned birdscape will provide our fine feathered friends with a dependable source of food, water, and shelter while affording an enjoyable and educational activity for the entire family.
Penobscot Blend™ Organic & Natural Planting Mix
Planting various trees and shrubs, especially those with berries, seeds, and nectar-producing flowers, is the perfect way to provide food and safe shelter for wild birds. Ensure the health of new additions to the backyard birdscape by amending your soil at planting time with a liberal amount of Penobscot Blend™ Organic & Natural Planting Mix. This ideal soil amendment is formulated from compost, aged bark, oyster shell, and mycorrhizae for optimum plant health.
BENEFITS OF WILD BIRDS
Birds, the perfect backyard guests, provide more benefits than many homeowners realize. Wild birds can…
Control insects by feasting on flying and crawling pests such as mosquitoes, slugs, and snails.
Pollinate plants by flitting from flower to flower as they seek out insects and seeds to eat, spreading pollen amongst the blooms.
Manage weeds as they consume copious amounts of weed seeds before the seeds ever have a chance to sprout.
Control rodents when raptors visit the yard searching for mice, rats, gophers, voles, or other unwanted pests.
ATTRACTING BACKYARD BIRDS
Fortunately, it is easy to attract a wide variety of backyard birds when you offer them what they need most – food, water, and shelter.
Wild birds rely on both natural and supplemental food sources, so it is essential to consider both when birdscaping. Feeding the birds is most important in the winter when natural food is scarce, but they visit feeders any time of year. Migratory birds require additional food in the spring and fall as they pass through the region. Nesting birds rely on full feeders in the summer.
- Provide a variety of natural foods for birds by planting berry bushes, seed-bearing flowers, and nectar-rich flowers.
- Leave imperfect and fallen fruit on the tree and ground for birds to nibble.
- Minimize pesticide use so birds can count on insects as a secure food source.
- Add supplemental feeders to your yard, such as seed, platform, suet, and nectar feeders. Clean all types of feeders regularly to avoid mold that can be dangerous to birds, and be sure feeders are full when birds need them most.
Improve your backyard bird habitat by adding water. Birds require a constant supply of clean water for drinking and bathing. This is especially important in late summer when water is generally scarce, and in the winter, when it is frequently frozen.
- Place bird baths in a protected location safe from predators, and keep the baths filled at all times so a fresh water supply is constantly available.
- Thoroughly scrub algae off of bird baths as soon as it appears. Clean your bird bath weekly to minimize bird waste contamination.
- Use a bubbler, wiggler, dripper, or fountain to provide motion for more significant attraction. Birds will see the sparkles and hear the splashes of the moving water, encouraging them to visit.
- Use a mosquito larviced containing Bacillus thuringiensis subspecies israelensis to safely prevent mosquito larvae in warm weather. A clean bird bath with moving water will also harbor fewer insects.
- Add an outdoor-safe submersible heater to the bath in winter, or consider using a fully heated bird bath to keep the water from freezing.
It is important to offer safe and comfortable shelter for your wild birds to nurture their young, protect them from predators, and shield them from the elements.
- Landscape with both deciduous and evergreen trees and shrubs to offer birds different types of shelter in all seasons.
- Minimize pruning to give birds denser, more secure shelter to take advantage of when they feel threatened.
- Plant in layers and create thicket-like pockets or corridors in your landscape so birds can move freely without feeling exposed.
- Supplement the shelter in your yard with good quality birdhouses, winter roost boxes, or nesting pockets to give birds more options to stay safe and secure.
When you meet birds' food, water, and shelter needs, your birdscape will soon be home to a fun and friendly flock of backyard birds.