The Bird Garden - Creating a Bird Friendly Habitat

By Charles Hopkins Published 04/23/2006 | Hobbies
Are you delighted by the natural show of birds? Flocks of sparrows descending to the ground for a feast, or a lone blue jay making his noisy calls against a winter backdrop - birds offer the observer and listener both pleasure and entertainment.

If you want to enjoy the company of birds in your yard you can do so by creating a garden suited to their needs. Planting a variety of trees, shrubs and natural grasses can make your yard a desirable destination. There are four needs that you can provide for that will encourage birds to your yard: safety, shelter, food and home.


Birds have many predators. Thick trees, grasses and shrubs hide them from enemies and protect their young. Evergreens like pine, fir or hollies provide dense cover throughout the year while deciduous trees are welcome protection in the warmer months.


The trees and shrubs that offer protection from predators can also protect them from the elements. Even tall ornamental grass can be used as a refuge from inclement weather. Planting bushes close together will provide better protection for your birds.


Since most birds are not taught to find food from bird feeders you will attract more varieties of wild birds if you offer natural food sources. Berries, insects, nectar and nuts are preferred to seeds by some birds and will be abundant in supply if you choose these trees and shrubs to plant in your garden.

Plan your garden to offer food throughout the year, for example; blueberry and blackberry bushes in the summer, dogwoods in the fall and hollies in the winter. Oaks, pines and walnut trees will provide seeds and nuts during the year.

Shrubs and flowers can be planted to encourage visits from nectar-seeking birds like the hummingbird. Crabapple trees and azaleas provide nectar equally well as flowers. Shrubs and trees with winter berries will attract non-migrating wild birds throughout the colder months. By offering a varied selection of natural food sources you can enjoy the splendor of all your local birds.


You may create homes for your birds, or notice them being built in your eves, but providing trees will encourage even the most timid birds to your yard for nesting and rearing their young.

Different birds prefer different nesting sites. Some will nest high in a tree, some will prefer nesting in lower bushes, and others will nest on the ground amongst the tall grasses. The variety of planting you do will encourage more birds to nest in your yard.

Since some birds will only nest in your area for the summer, deciduous trees can provide equally well for their nesting needs as coniferous trees. They can also be a desirable home if they provide an easy source of food to feed their young.

A beautiful garden is well complemented by the company of birds. Provide for their needs and they will surely provide the gift of beauty, melody and entertainment to your garden. function SubmitRating(btn) { ratingchecked = false; if (btn.form.aRating0.checked) ratingchecked = true; if (btn.form.aRating1.checked) ratingchecked = true; if (btn.form.aRating2.checked) ratingchecked = true; if (btn.form.aRating3.checked) ratingchecked = true; if (btn.form.aRating4.checked) ratingchecked = true; if (ratingchecked) { btn.form.btnRating.value=btn.value; btn.form.submit(); } else { alert("Be sure a rating value has been selected to continue."); } }