Plants to Attract Birds
Baffles and Poles
Squirrel Corn Feeder
Bird Bath, Heated Automatic
National Audubon Societys Field Guide
Think of this project as landscaping for birds. Your goal will be to
plant an assortment of trees, shrubs and flowers that will attract
birds. If you plan carefully it can be inexpensive and fun for the
whole family. The best way to get started is to follow these
Set Your Priorities
Decide what types of birds you wish to attract, then build your
plan around the needs of those species. Talk to friends and
neighbors to find out what kinds of birds frequent your area.
Attend a local bird club meeting and talk to local bird watchers about how they have attracted birds to their yards.
Use Native Plants When Possible
Check with the botany department of a nearby college or university or with your state's natural heritage program for lists of trees, shrubs, and wildflowers native to your area. Use this list as a starting point for your landscape plan. These plants are naturally adapted to the climate of your area and are a good long-term investment. Many native plants are both beautiful for landscaping purposes and excellent for birds. If you include normative plant species in your plan, be sure they are not considered "invasive pests" by plant experts. Check out the bird books in your local library
Draw a Map of Your Property
Draw a map of your property to scale using graph paper. Identify
buildings, sidewalks, power lines, buried cables, 'fences, septic
tank fields, trees, shrubs and patios. Consider how your plan
relates to your neighbor's property-will the tree you plant shade
out the neighbor's vegetable garden? Identify and map sunny or
shady sites, low or wet sites, sandy sites, and native plants that
will be left in place.
Get Your Soil Tested
Get your soil tested by your local garden center, county extension
agent or soil conservation service. Find out what kinds of soil you
have and then find out if your soils have nutrient or organic
deficiencies that fertilization or addition of compost can correct.
The soils you have will help determine the plants which can be
included in your landscaping plan.
Review the Seven Plant Habitat Components
Review the seven plant components described previously. Which
components are already present? Which ones are missing?
Remember that you are trying to provide food and cover through
all four seasons. Develop a list of plants that you think will provide
the missing habitat components.
Talk to Resource Experts
Review this plant list with landscaping resource experts who can
match your ideas with your soil types, soil drainage and the
plants available through state or private- nurseries. People at the
nearby arboretum can help with your selections. At an arboretum
you can also see what many plants look like. Talk with local bird
clubs, the members of which probably are knowledgeable about
landscaping for birds.
Develop Your Planting Plan
Sketch on your map the plants you wish to add. Draw trees to a scale that represents three-fourths of their mature width, and shrubs at their full mature width. This will help you calculate how many trees and shrubs you need. There is a tendency to include so many trees that eventually your yard will be mostly shaded. Be sure to leave open sunny sites where flowers and shrubs can thrive. Decide how much money you can spend and the time span of your project. Don't try to do too much at once. You might try a five-year development plan.
Implement Your Plan
Finally, go to it! Begin your plantings and include your entire family so the can all feel they are helping wildlife. Document your plantings on paper and by photographs. Try taking pictures of your yard from the same spots every year to document the growth of your plants.
Maintain Your Plan
Keep your new trees, shrubs and flowers adequately watered,
and keep your planting areas weed-free by use of landscaping
film and wood chips or shredded bark mulch. This avoids the use
of herbicides for weed control. If problems develop with your
plants, consult a local nursery, garden center or county extension
And Finally ...
Make sure to take the time to enjoy the wildlife that will eventually respond to your landscaping efforts.