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Landscaping for Birds
Place your feeders in a quiet area where they are
easy to see and convenient to refill. Place feeders
close to natural cover, such as trees or shrubs, which offer refuge to birds as
they wait their turn to feed. Evergreens are ideal, as they provide thick foliage that
hides birds from predators and buffers winter winds.
Be careful not to place feeders
too close to cover with strong branches that can provide good jump-off points for
squirrels and cats. A distance
of about 10 feet seems to be a good compromise. You can provide
resting and escape cover for ground-dwelling birds, such as Song Sparrows, by placing
loosely stacked brush piles near your feeders.
Landscaping for birds
Nothing provides an easier or more dependable food supply than “birdscaping” your yard with native vegetation. Because habitat loss is the leading cause of population declines in many bird species, planting native vegetation in your community is one of the best ways you can help improve the environment.
If you decide to landscape your yard for birds, grow plants that bloom and provide fruit at different times, providing food throughout the year. Remember that a variety of plants attracts the greatest diversity of bird species. Some plants to consider include black-eyed susan and sunflowers for their flowers and seeds; tubular-shaped, nectar-producing flowers to attract hummingbirds; plants such as cinnamon fern and thistle to provide soft nesting material; small trees and fruiting plants such as crabapples, dogwoods, serviceberries, sumacs, and viburnums; conifers such as pines and spruces to provide cover, sap, seeds, and nesting sites; and deciduous trees such as oaks, chestnuts, and hickories to provide nuts and good nesting locations.
Download "Creating a Garden for Birds," a Lab of Ornithology BirdNote (pdf file), for more information. Or see a list of backyard bird feeding resources.