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Want to make your backyard a welcome haven for birds? Putting up a feeder is an easy way attract birds. But if you'd prefer a more natural approach or you want to satisfy more than birds' nutritional needs, consider landscaping your yard—even just a part of it—to be more bird-friendly. Even a small yard can provide vital habitat. All it takes is a little time and effort, made all the easier if you already enjoy gardening. The rewards are many—beautiful birds that add color and music to your life year-round. Creating and preserving habitat for birds has never been more important—as the human population grows, suitable bird habitat is disappearing rapidly, gobbled up by housing developments, roads, shopping malls, and airports.

There are three basic things that all birds need from their habitats:

  • FOOD: Your yard can be landscaped to provide the fruit, seeds, beneficial insects, and other small animals that birds feed upon.
  • WATER: Birds need water, too. To learn about birdbaths, visit our Other Attractants: Water page.
  • SHELTER: Whether it's protection from the elements, safe places to hide from predators, or secure locations to hide nests, providing shelter is one of the best ways to make your property bird-friendly.

Take a look at your property from a bird's perspective. Does it provide these things? If not, consider adding some or all of them. Below are useful tips about the best plants to grow, and other ways to enhance your backyard for birds.

Landscaping Tips for Bird-friendly Backyards
Strategies for getting started, ways to attract more birds, and how to keep them coming year-round.

Seven Important Plant Groups for Birds

The most valuable plants for birds provide shelter, nest sites, and nest material, as well as food. Try to include some or all of these plant groups in your backyard landscaping plan.

Bird-friendly Deciduous Trees
Favorite deciduous trees for birds—what they provide and birds they'll attract.

Coniferous Trees and Native Vines for Birds
Evergreens and trailing vines of particular value to birds—what they offer and birds they'll bring in.

Shrubs to Bring In the Flocks
A sampler of super shrubs for birds—why birds relish them.

BirdNotes--Creating a Garden for Birds

Additional information on gardening for birds is available in this issue of BirdNotes (PDF format).