How to Attract Wild Birds to your Garden

baby birdFor the second year in a row, a pair of flycatchers built their nest at the top of a column on the porch outside the front window.

That means the birdie show is in full view from the comfort of the living room. We’ve watched as the couple slowly built the nest, one thin stick at a time, and then feathered it with fluff.

As soon as the female took up permanent residence tucked inside the nest, we knew she was keeping tiny eggs warm. A lot of feeding action in the last two weeks meant the eggs had hatched and there were some hungry baby birds in there.

On Sunday I watched as the parents both stood on the edge of the nest looking down inside, just like two proud human parents looking into a baby’s bassinet.

And yesterday we saw the first two tiny heads peek up over the edge of the nest!

Bringing birds into my landscape is one of the joys of gardening and one of the reasons my garden is a National Wildlife Federation certified habitat.

I’ve laid out the welcome mat by planting shade trees and evergreens as cover, growing beautiful perennial flowers and shrubs for food and nectar, and making sure the birdbath is filled with fresh water.

But I can’t take credit for the small ledge where the flycatchers have built their last two nests. It was here when we moved in.

While the flycatchers prefer miller moths and other flying insects, my fine-feathered hummingbird friends prefer the brightly-colored tubular flowers found on Sunset hyssop or trumpet vine. Others birds appreciate the fresh berries on shrubs like the Nanking cherry and Nannyberry viburnum or the dried fruits that form on honeysuckle and Virginia creeper vines.

One day I watched a young robin strip a small Western serviceberry of every ripe-red berry by jumping up from the ground, snatching a berry in its beak, and landing back on the ground to eat it.

One of the benefits of keeping the bird feeders stocked with a wild-bird seed mix is that sunflowers magically appear each year. These self-sown sunflowers appear in all shapes and sizes, making for perfect bird magnets, too. In August I look forward to seeing Evening Grosbeaks perform amazing acrobatics to get the seeds hidden deep inside.

But for now, I’m happy to watch these flycatcher babies grow into fledglings, stand on the edge of the ledge and take flight one day soon.


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Plant a few blueberry bushes, that seems to do it around here 🙂

I am just kidding with that suggestion of course and am only writing it because the birds seem to have fallen in love with the fresh blueberries we are growing.

Hi Mike:

Well I guess that’s what you get for being LUCKY enough to be able to grow blueberries!

We have a tough time growing blueberries in the highly alkaline soil around here, so gardeners need to do all kinds of things to get them to grow. I wrote about it on the Denver master gardener’s blog, in case you’re interested:

Thanks for keeping in touch,

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