How to Show Wild Birds Some Love

bird seed heartLove is in the air and it can swoop into your landscape with a little creative planning.

All it takes to attract wild birds to your garden is a little creative planning, especially if you can think like birds and know what they like.

I can’t imagine my garden without wild birds hopping along the path, chirping from tall trees or flying full speed across the yard.

In addition to filling feeders with different kinds of wild bird seed, I’ve planted many fruiting shrubs and perennial flowers to attract my feathered friends.

Some gardeners try to prevent sunflower seeds from sprouting in the garden, but I encourage it. Once the weather warms, masses of sunflowers spring up practically overnight–the result of filling feeders through winter. The bright yellow flowers light up the garden all summer and when the flowers fade, birds appreciate the small dried seeds that are left behind.

The seeds, fruits and flowers I plant attract a diverse group of birds. Of course there are sparrows, but I’ve seen blue jays, blackbirds, doves, finches, flickers, rock pigeons, juncos and even hawks. But each time I catch sight of a hummingbird at the Sunset hyssops (Agastache rupestris), my heart simply soars.

The tube-shaped orange flowers are a main attraction from mid-to-late summer. These hardy perennials can tolerate a dry garden once they’re established and they offer a nice root-beer like fragrance, too.

Serviceberry is a favorite shrub for the birds, especially robins. This tidy shrub is one of the first to bloom in spring and the first to provide a feast of berries. Robins also fall for the dried berries on the Virginia creeper and honeysuckle vines, too.

Another shrub that grows beautifully in my Zone 5 garden is Nanking cherry. This cold-hardy shrub features fragrant white flowers that attract bees and other pollinators in early April. Later, after the shrub is thick with green leaves, the birds and squirrels enjoy all the small sour cherries that cover the branches.

Even if your garden is a small space, like a patio or balcony, you can plant a mini-backyard habitat. Simply fill containers with a high-quality potting soil, plant with several varieties of long-blooming, nectar-rich flowers, and add a small birdbath. It won’t be long until birds start stopping by.


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