Songbirds, like finches and warblers, can make your garden a more enjoyable place to relax. The best way to encourage their visits is to landscape in a manner that attracts these feathered friends to your yard. The following tips will help you create a songbird-friendly space tight outside your door.
Tip #1: Plant in Levels
A mixture of low-growing plants, tall-growing plants, and taller trees and shrubs provides the best landscape for a songbird. Many songbirds feed on the ground, so they require lower plants to provide cover and a sense of safety. Taller growing plants and trees provide a safe place for nesting and breeding.
Tip #2: Provide Diversity
You don't want your garden to only shine for one season. A three-season or year-round garden is the best option. Choose a variety of flowering and fruiting plants. Flowering plants attract insects, which some birds feast upon, while fruiting plants attract the herbivores. Select plants that flower and fruit at different times, so there is always a source of food. Adding grasses or plants with long-lasting seed heads, such as sunflowers or echinacea, will supply seed through winter. Talk with a local landscape professional, such as Landscaping by Porter Landscaping, to see which birds and plants are native to your area.
Tip #3: Add a Water Source
Birds need water to drink and bathe. Adding a birdbath or two may be all that you need to attract songbirds. Place birdbaths underneath trees, so birds have the safety of the tree along with its shade. Bird baths should be off the ground, such as on a pedestal, and shallow. You can place small, lightweight pebbles in a deeper bath. Avoid large stones, since these can trap a bird's foot. If mosquitoes are a concern, drain the birdbath each evening and refill it in the morning.
Tip #4: Provide Nesting Sites
Most songbirds nest in trees or bushes, but you can also hang up birdhouses or provide nesting baskets. The type of birdhouse depends on the type of songbirds in your area. Another idea is to provide nesting materials. Fill an empty suet cage or cage-style bird feeder with short yarn clippings. Birds can then use these materials to build their own nests.
Tip #5: Put Up Feeding Stations
Finally, don't forget to feed the birds. Many songbirds feast on seeds. Hang up several bird feeders around the landscape and fill it with a songbird seed mix. Suet, which contains fat, seed, and bits of fruit, is especially sought after by songbirds. Finches are attracted by thistle seeds, while millet appeals to a lot of different birds. Most seed bags list which birds eat the particular variety. Make sure feeders are hung up high so that the birds are safe from predators while they are eating.