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Tips to bring in the birds

By: Garden Gate staff
Have you ever watched a robin splashing enthusiastically in a birdbath? Or witnessed a young bird step from a branch for its very first flight?

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tips to bring in the birds

Have you ever watched a robin splashing enthusiastically in a birdbath? Or witnessed a young bird step from a branch for its very first flight? If you have, you know what a joy watching our feathered neighbors can be. What you might not realize is that there are some simple things you can do to make your yard a more enticing place to all kinds of birds. Here are some tips to make your back yard into an enticing haven for lots of these feathered treasures.

PROVIDE BERRIES OR SEEDS ALL YEAR —?Because they fruit at different times, grow a couple different varieties of plants like serviceberry, hawthorn and dogwood to extend the berry season. And if you grow berry plants, double the number of your favorite ones. You’ll insure that there’s enough for both you and the birds. Plant fruit-bearing plants away from sidewalks, driveways and patio areas to reduce the mess. And be sure to feed seed and suet, as well. Different birds have different tastes.

KEEP FOUR-LEGGED VISITORS OUT OF FEEDERS — Use baffles below feeders or wrap posts in aluminum flashing to thwart furry looters. And don’t grow plants close to feeders. (They can hide predators like cats!)

DON’T LET THE WATER RUN DRY — Keep birdbaths and ponds filled all season. Reliable sources of water, especially moving water, will attract more birds. Remember to rinse and refill birdbaths often to help prevent disease and mosquitoes. In winter, keep it ice free with a heater, or empty ice and refill the birdbath every day. Also buy a birdbath with a rough or textured floor or add small stones to the bottom to prevent injury to birds.

PLACE YOUR POND IN THE OPEN — Avoid chemical runoff from surrounding lawn areas by building on level ground. Make an area of the pond 2 in. deep or less so birds won’t drown.

PLANT EVERGREENS FOR SHELTER — Spruce, hemlock, cedar and pine are great for nesting for cardinals, sparrows, towhees and other birds. They’ll also give birds a little relief from nasty winter storms that can sap their strength, thus helping them survive cold temperatures.

VARY HEIGHTS OF TREES, SHRUBS AND OTHER PLANTS — You’ll fill the needs of different birds who prefer to nest and feed in tree tops, shrubs or on the ground. And because it’s hard to fly with wet feathers, grow shrubs within 10 ft. of ponds or birdbaths for safe places to dry off a bit before flying away.

Check out a couple of ways to pamper your feathered visitors at right!

Published: Nov. 10, 2009
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