4 Tips for Landscaping to Attract Songbirds
Do you enjoy the sound of bird warbling nearby, or are you a bird watching enthusiast? If so, chances are you want your yard to attract more of these feathered friends. Attracting songbirds all depends upon having a bird-friendly design, which the following tips can help you create.
Tip #1: Provide a Local Watering Hole
Like all animals, water is one of the main things birds seek out for survival. Providing a comfortable place for songbirds to bathe and drink will make your landscape more desirable. You can do this by using a variety of birdbaths or water features, such as ponds, in your design. Stone or concrete decorative birdbaths can take the place of other types of yard art. Ponds with fountains or waterfalls that provide water of various depths are also both attractive and useful for birds. Make sure features sit off the ground to provide some safety for the birds if your yard isn't fenced against predators, like neighborhood cats. You will also need to empty, clean, and refill birdbaths regularly to guard against disease.
Tip #2: Supply Some Safe Cover
Cover is important. Even if your yard is fenced against predators, songbirds will feel more at ease if they have cover nearby. This makes them more likely to linger. You can do this by planting in layers. This means growing trees over an understory of both medium-sized shrubby plants and lower-growing flowers, sub-shrubs and groundcovers. For example, a small fruit tree with a large hosta growing beneath it, surrounded by annual pansies, provides cover for birds. It is also a delightfully textured look to enjoy. You can also create these layers with trellises and climbing plants, in addition to trees and shrubs.
Tip #3: Don't Overlook the Food
Birds need food, and they won't stay long of there is sparse offerings. You can begin by hanging a few feeders throughout the yard, placing them high enough that the birds are safe from any ground-based predators. Make sure to use feeders with anti-squirrel devices on them, like baffles. You can also grow food for the birds. Sunflowers, coneflowers, and black-eyed susans are just a few options for bringing birds to your yard. Fuchsias are an excellent choice if you want to attract hummingbirds.
Tip #4: Encourage Nesting
Keep the songbirds coming back year after year by encouraging them to start a family in your yard. Provide a selection of birdhouses, each made for a different species of songbird. For example, martins sometimes like to nest in specially made gourd houses. Also, provide materials to make nests. Leave some plant clippings out for birds to gather in spring. You can also hang small bags containing hair, yarn, and bits of string for the birds to use in their nest building.
Talk to a local landscape designer for more info and tricks to create a bird-friendly design.