Happy October!

Sparrow

Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.

-George Eliot

 

Make Your Own Homemade Bird Feeders

Would you like to have bird feeders in your yard but don’t want to buy them? Here are some ideas for you to make your own homemade bird feeders.

Orange Feeder

1. Use an orange, lemon or lime citrus skin for a bird feeder. Don’t throw away your citrus skins. You can use these to make a bird feeder. Hollow out the citrus skin and nail it or hang it from a tree trunk. Then fill the skin with seeds. You can also put the citrus skins on the ground or on a wall or fence and then mix peanut butter or suet with seed and put that in the hollowed out citrus cup. Mixing the peanut butter with the seed will prevent the citrus skin from tipping over and spilling out all of the seed.

Pine Cone Feeder

2. Take a pine cone and spread peanut butter on it. Then roll the pine cone in birdseed. You can do this with any size pine cone and then you can hang them from a tree branch.

3. Empty plastic milk jugs make great bird feeders. Cut a hole in the side of the milk jug about 3 inches from the bottom. Tie some string to the jug handle and then hang it from a tree branch. Fill the bottom of the jug with birdseed.

Water Bottle Feeder

4. You can also use the plastic 2-liter soda bottles in place of the milk jugs. Just cut a hole in the side of the empty 2-liter bottle, tie the string around the neck of the bottle and tie it to a tree branch. Put the cap back on the bottle to secure the string. Fill the bottom of the bottle with birdseed.

5. You can hang suet cakes in mesh holders from tree branches or you can nail them to tree trunks. Just be sure that when using suet, you put them high enough that raccoons cannot get to them. Raccoons love suet cakes.

Suet Cake Feeder

6. You can also use paper, plastic or Styrofoam cups to make bird feeders. Take some yarn and wrap the one end around the middle of a small stick or craft stick to secure it. Put a hole in the bottom of the cup and put the yarn through the hold. Pull the yarn through until the craft stick is against the bottom of the cup. Tie the yard to a tree branch and then fill the cup with seed. If you have a really tall cup instead of filling it with seed, spread peanut butter on the outside of the cup and then roll it in birdseed.

7. You can also make bird feeders out of plastic containers, like the ones that come with cream cheese in them. Make the feeder like you would using the plastic cup and then fill this plastic container with birdseed, suet or make your own peanut butter and bird seed bird cakes.

These are just a few of the ways that you can make your own homemade bird feeders. You don’t have to spend a lot of money at the store buying bird feeders. Make your own and come up with your own unique variations of the ones listed above. Because these are so inexpensive to make, you can put quite a few of these out and feed a lot more birds.

 

Catherine is an expert writer on the subject of Green Living. For more information on how you can live the green lifestyle and save money, go to her website, http://trimthehome.net.

Article Source: EzineArticles.com

7 Fun Fall Bird Feeding Tips

Bird house and bird feedDid you know that your backyard birds like to start gathering food for winter during the autumn months?

If you don’t feed birds year round, fall is a great time to set up your bird feeding station. Birds like Blue Jays stash seeds just as chipmunks and squirrels do. Science has shown that they also have excellent memories, and have demonstrated their skill at locating their hidden treasures all winter long. Nuthatches and woodpeckers are some of the many birds that hide food for later consumption.

1. Correct placement of your feeders will insure your birds do not crash into your windows. Sadly, approximately one billion birds die in the U.S. each year from glass window and door collisions. The best way to prevent fatal collisions is to place your feeders within 3 feet, or more than 30 feet, from windows. Placing your bird feeders that close to glass ensures birds do not have room to gain a lot of speed, greatly reducing the number of fatal collisions.

That placement also gives you a great view of their antics and interactions with other birds. Besides being very entertaining, studies have shown that bird watching can reduce stress and lower blood pressure. Next time you need a time out, try watching your backyard birds. You will be amazed at the calming affects bird watching can produce.

2. Another great tip is to locate your feeder about 3 to 5 feet from a large shrub. This gives your birds plenty of opportunity for perching while waiting their turn at the feeder. Birds will also use the branches as leverage to help them open the seeds, which will not hurt the shrubs at all. Bushes can be evergreen or deciduous, and they will provide shelter from winter winds and snow, as well as predators. A feeder placed near a shrub helps birds feel more secure, and gives them a place to ‘hang out’ and socialize.

3. When the nights turn colder in the fall I begin hanging suet for my birds to enjoy. It helps them to store fat for the upcoming winter months. That extra layer of fat makes a great deal of difference in how well they survive frigid temperatures. If your weather is still warm during the day, choose ‘no-melt’ suet cakes.

4. I like to use peanut butter combined with cornmeal to smear on pine cones. Fashion a hanger by measuring approximately 12 inches of wire, and winding one end around the top of a pine cone. Make a wide loop in the other end, and secure by twisting the wire together. Hang the cones on tree limbs and enjoy watching your birds savor this very helpful treat.

Besides helping birds stay warm, food sources that contain high fat concentrations also help maintain birds’ feathers in optimum condition for flying and evading possible predators.

High-fat Food Sources Include:

  • Peanut Butter
  • Suet
  • Black Oil Sunflower Seeds
  • Peanuts
  • Walnuts, broken into small pieces

5. When you are out shopping for pumpkins and gourds, remember your birds. They enjoy gleaning the seeds from inside these vegetables. To give them easy access to the seeds, use a sharp knife to cut a rectangular hole in the front and back of the pumpkin. By the way, Northern Cardinals are nuts about pumpkin seeds!

Place on a flat platform feeder so your backyard visitors can enjoy all the pumpkin innards! Once they have cleaned out the pumpkins seeds, you can remove any excess strings and add sunflower seeds, cracked corn and any other bird goodies you have to offer.

6. Gourds can be hung by drilling a hole in the neck of the gourd and inserting a piece of wire, leather shoe lace or thin rope. Carefully cut a round hole in the front of the gourd, about 2″ from the bottom, for birds to enter and find any meat and seeds. Again, once the gourd is cleaned out, you can add sunflower seeds, dried fruit pieces or nutmeats.

7. Be sure to have a camera on hand to snap some fun pictures of your feathered friends enjoying their autumn bounty. It’s a great way to get your child or grandchild interested in an enjoyable and educational hobby. Start a scrapbook to include pictures you or they have taken, articles about birds, bird feathers they have gathered, and notes on their favorite bird or birds.

Autumn is such a colorful and wonderful season. Make sure your backyard birds are included in the fun, and you will be rewarded with their songs and visits all winter long.

 

Connie Smith is the proud owner and manager of Grandma Pearl’s Backporch, LLC, and the expert author of many online articles about easy and unique ways you can create the best bird-friendly habitats to help wild birds survive and thrive. Discover how to create fun and safe backyard habitats for wild birds using their preferred plants and foods, while adding color, fragrance and beauty to your landscape. Find simple how-to projects for making your own unique bird feeders; and learn how easy it is to attract a variety of birds to your yard and gardens. Visit today!

http://grandmapearlsbackporch.blogspot.com

Article Source: EzineArticles.com

Selecting the Best Evergreens for a Bird Sanctuary

Cute bird on coniferous branchMy Mom and Dad had the best backyard. It not only provided a park-like setting that looked amazing, but it included a variety of trees at differing heights that offered food, shelter and a multitude of nesting opportunities for the plethora of birds that enjoyed that diverse area.

These are the non-deciduous trees my parents planted in our backyard (which do well in most regions of the country):

  • Firs
  • Cedars
  • Hemlocks
  • White pines
  • Green, Black and Blue Spruces
  • Holly

It is always best to consult with your local county extension office, or nursery center to find the best varieties for your region and climate. Your birds are familiar with the natives, and will recognize them more readily than non-natives. Once established, these trees are almost maintenance free. Oh, you might have to trim out the occasional winter-kill branch, or pinch out the centers of the clusters at the ends of the white pine branches to help them grow more densely, but that’s about all.

Evergreens are the most efficient at sheltering your avian friends year round. Their dense foliage remains throughout the year, and repels snow, sleet and rain. Birds can nestle among the branches during the coldest days and nights, and in the wildest windy weather. Snow-covered evergreens not only look pretty, but they provide insulation your birds can use to their benefit.

Inside the pine cones of these evergreens are little seeds coveted by birds like pine siskins and red crossbills. Pines and evergreens in general attract a ton of tasty insects that in turn attract the likes of brown creepers and woodpeckers, to name only a few.

You can let your American Holly trees grow to 40 feet or more, or you can trim them to maintain a beautiful shrub or hedgerow. Be sure to plant at least 4 holly trees so that they will cross pollinate and produce an awesome array of bright red berries for a multitude of birds to enjoy. Holly berries attract catbirds, thrushes, thrashers, robins, blue jays, cedar waxwings, mockingbirds and bluebirds, to name a few.

Every year a robin nests in one of the blue spruces at the front of our property here in the woods. She builds her nest atop branches nestled right next to the center of the tree. Unless you move the branches, her grass and mud abode is nearly impossible to spot. That’s one of the main reasons birds use evergreens for housing their babies. Besides the prickly pine needles, the denseness of the tree makes it difficult for potential predators to reach little nestlings.

In the very top of one of our giant white pine trees there is a platform nest belonging to a red-tailed hawk. That nest has been used for as long as I’ve lived here. Every year I watch as the parents coax their offspring from that lofty aerie. Their first halting, tipsy flights are soon replaced with confident soaring, as they find the thermals across the hilltops.

It’s such an awesome sight to see a hawk riding a thermal. I have enjoyed that sight ever since I can remember. My brothers and I would recline on the warm grassy lawn, watching the clouds and listening to the wind talking in the high tops of the fir trees in my grandparent’s front lawn. On the warmest days we would see the most hawks searching for those swirling spirals of air currents that would carry them higher and higher. We used to wonder what it would be like to fly so high, and then just stretch out our arms and relax on the wind!

Evergreens are a bird’s best friend, and pack a triple punch when it comes to bird-safe habitat, providing food, shelter and nesting materials and sites. These trees appeal to humans as well, because of their textures, and variations in color and height. If you are considering a change to your landscape, I don’t think you can go wrong when it comes to these beautiful and versatile plants.

 

Connie Smith is the proud owner and manager of Grandma Pearl’s Backporch, LLC, and the expert author of many online articles about easy and unique ways you can create the best bird-friendly habitats to help wild birds survive and thrive. Discover how to create fun and safe backyard habitats for wild birds using their preferred plants and foods, while adding color, fragrance and beauty to your landscape. Find simple how-to projects for making your own unique bird feeders; and learn how easy it is to attract a variety of birds to your yard and gardens. Visit today!

http://grandmapearlsbackporch.blogspot.com

Article Source: EzineArticles.com

Plant a Variety of Trees and Bushes for Your Bird Sanctuary

The Blue Tit (Cyanistes caeruleus) feeding her young one.

The Blue Tit (Cyanistes caeruleus) feeding her young one.

My secret to a successful bird haven is selecting a variety of native tree and bush species in these three categories – deciduous, coniferous and fruit – to attract the most birds and provide resources for them all year round.

Consulting your local plant nursery or your county extension office will help you find the best varieties of native plants for your area. These are my preferred trees and bushes that work well for my region and climate here in the northeast:

  • Sugar Maples
  • Winterberries
  • White Birch
  • Quaking Aspen
  • Sour Pie Cherries
  • Green and Black Ash
  • Wild Roses
  • Witch Hazel
  • Sycamore
  • Tulip Poplar
  • Hickory Nut
  • Beech Nut
  • Oak

I like to use these plants in my landscape as well, because they attract a wide variety of fruit-eating birds like orioles, red-breasted grosbeaks and cedar waxwings, to name a few:

  • fox grapes
  • serviceberries
  • soap berries
  • chokecherries
  • mulberries
  • blueberries
  • blackberries
  • maple leaf viburnums
  • crab apple trees
  • American holly

Coniferous trees and bushes add so much to your landscape, and also provide great shelter year round, as well as pine cone seeds and cozy nesting places for your birds:

  • Firs
  • Cedars
  • Hemlocks
  • White pines
  • Green, Black and Blue Spruces

The different heights and leaf textures of these plants and trees add so many nesting places to a bird haven. They attract all kinds of bugs and beetles that your wild birds just adore. The leaf litter created beneath these bushes and trees is an awesome source that birds can take advantage of in the fall. Their demanding migratory journeys require lots of fuel, and the insects and berries provide loads of the proteins, fatty oils and antioxidants they need.

A number of these plants edged my parent’s property on 2 sides. The other side was host to wild currant bushes and a huge wild blackberry patch. We all enjoyed those areas as much as the birds did! My hands were berry stained most of the summer, but there was still plenty of fruit to feed the birds and our neighbors.

I have always said that birds are like people. That is, they have different personalities and preferences. Some birds like to nest up high, others prefer certain types of plants in which to nest, and still others like to make their homes right on the ground.

It is the same with food. Some birds appreciate fruits, while others enjoy seeds, and still others like bugs and creepy crawlies. And then you have those birds that will eat any or all of these foods, depending upon what’s available. So, choose trees that will grow to a variety of heights, shapes and thicknesses to add diversity to your bird-friendly landscape. Adding fruit trees and bushes, as well as seed-bearing evergreens and trees, gives them the full dining experience. Your bird sanctuary will be the most popular place for miles around!

 

Connie Smith is the proud owner and manager of Grandma Pearl’s Backporch, LLC, and the expert author of many online articles about easy and unique ways you can create the best bird-friendly habitats to help wild birds survive and thrive. Discover how to create fun and safe backyard habitats for wild birds using their preferred plants and foods, while adding color, fragrance and beauty to your landscape. Find simple how-to projects for making your own unique bird feeders; and learn how easy it is to attract a variety of birds to your yard and gardens. Visit today!

http://grandmapearlsbackporch.blogspot.com

Article Source: EzineArticles.com

10 Rules for Choosing the Best Bird House

BirdhousePurchasing a quality bird house is money well spent, and represents a good investment in the future of your backyard birds. Look for these features to determine the best one to buy:

1. The inside floor base should be at least 4″x4″ to accommodate a bird nest. Most small to medium backyard birds can use this size for nesting. Larger birds will of course need a bit larger bird house base to accommodate bigger nests, say 6″x6″ or so as an average.

2. Look for vent slots or a space where the roof overhangs the sides to allow proper air exchange to keep baby birds comfortable. If you are choosing one made from reclaimed antique barn boards, some checking and natural cracking will provide a measure of ventilation automatically, without letting moisture in.

3. A way to clean out the house is essential. See if there are screws holding the bottom or one of the sides of the structure. These can be removed when the time comes to eliminate old nesting material, any accumulated dirt, leaves, etc., before the next nesting season. Keeping their house clean is of the utmost importance to the survival of baby birds.

4. Make certain there is a good roof overhang. About 1″ wide in the front of the bird house is enough to help protect baby birds from wind, rain, and snow; plus it will provide shade from the sun.

5. A well-constructed bird abode will have nails or screws rather than short staples, which tend to pull out as the wood expands and contracts naturally through the seasons.

6. The wood used for construction should be at least ½” to ¾” thick. This ensures insulation of the interior, keeping baby birds comfortable.

7. Contrary to popular belief, a standard type of perch is not essential. In fact, birds will cling to the outside wood of the bird house. This is particularly true when naturally-textured woods are used.

8. Bird houses do not need to be painted. If the wood used is reclaimed barn wood, it has already been seasoned through many years of the temperature/humidity cycle. It has weathered all kinds of inclement conditions. Chances are that any paint used years ago has long since faded away.

9. Natural-looking constructions will blend in with the surroundings. Birds look for holes in tree trunks and branches to use for nesting sites. I truly believe that nesting boxes should mimic those natural nesting areas. It is, however, fun to add a few ‘decorative’ bird houses to your landscape, particularly if they are whimsical and adhere to these rules.

10. Assure there is a strong, sturdy roof that has no holes or places where rain or snow could enter and harm the baby birds inside. It would not do for the next generation to die from pneumonia because of a leaky roof.

These are the 10 rules I have used for many years for finding quality, long-lasting bird houses. I have had good success with birds choosing them for their homes, as well as places to shelter from bad weather. Quality wooden nest boxes are well worth the investment. My older bird houses are still in use today!

 

Connie Smith is the proud owner and manager of Grandma Pearl’s Backporch, LLC, and the expert author of many online articles about easy and unique ways you can create the best bird-friendly habitats to help wild birds survive and thrive. Discover how to create fun and safe backyard habitats for wild birds using their preferred plants and foods, while adding color, fragrance and beauty to your landscape. Find simple how-to projects for making your own unique bird feeders; and learn how easy it is to attract a variety of birds to your yard and gardens. Visit today!

http://grandmapearlsbackporch.blogspot.com

Article Source: EzineArticles.com

Creating Your Own Hummingbird Sanctuary Garden

Ruby Throated Hummingbirds Attract to a Trumpet Vine

Ruby Throated Hummingbirds Attract to a Trumpet Vine

The essentials of a Hummingbird Sanctuary Garden start with rich, organic soil and colorful blooms they love. Plants designed to give them nesting materials and sites, along with a fun water feature will bring these tiny flying jewels to your hummingbird haven.

1. Plant a patch of your yard with red flowers. You can intermix other colors with the red blossoming plants to add interest and eye candy. Passing hummers will be attracted to the bright red color, and come to explore your yard. Don’t forget to add a few red garden accents or ornaments as well. These serve as additional signposts for hummingbirds who, just like real-life detectives, love to investigate! They have a poor sense of smell, so fragrant blooms don’t do anything for them. They use their eyes to find important food sources.

  • Fill your garden with soil that drains well and is rich in organic material for vigorous plants.
  • Choose both annuals and perennials to ensure continuous bloom all season long.
  • Be sure to dead head blooms that have passed their prime. This will keep the energy flowing inside your flowers so they will produce more blossoms longer.
  • No toxic pesticides or herbicides! Hummingbirds use spider silk to line their nests, and they pluck tiny insects from webs as well. Use the best natural garden materials available, and let the birds take care of the insects. You and your environment will be a lot healthier for it!

2. Hummingbird-attracting Shrubs and Flowers to try:

  • Korean Spice Bush
  • Trumpet Vines
  • Cardinal Flower
  • Butterfly Bush
  • Old-Fashioned Lilacs
  • Foxglove
  • Agastache (hummingbird mint)
  • Delphiniums
  • Larkspur
  • Azaleas
  • Flowering Quince
  • Indian Pink
  • Bleeding Hearts
  • Mexican Sunflower
  • Bee Balm
  • Lemon Balm
  • Day Lilies
  • Coral Bells
  • Honeysuckle
  • Impatiens
  • Columbine

Plant any of these beauties in your gardens, and don’t be surprised when the hummingbirds find your yard. They will return year after year as long as food is abundant. By the way, hummingbirds choose their nesting spots based on the availability of food. If you provide food plants and/or feeders, their offspring will also come back to your yard and gardens each year.

3. Don’t forget hummingbird nesting material plants:

Use trees and shrubs of varying heights and diverse leaf textures. Small trees and shrubs may shelter perfectly camouflaged hummingbird nests in the forks of their branches. Hummingbirds use lichens and mosses to ‘glue’ their tiny quarter-sized nest to the tree. This way the nest virtually disappears and becomes part of the branch on which it rests.

Witch hazel, poplar, birch, mulberry, willows, cottonwood and alders are examples of the catkin bearing trees hummers prefer to use for downy nest-lining material.

Foliage that is soft and fuzzy will attract hummingbirds as well. Think about planting milkweed, or ornamental grasses that produce soft plumes. They also love Lamb’s Ear with its fuzzy leaves, blanket flowers and honeysuckles, which are prized by hummingbirds for the silky balls of fuzz that are a natural part of the seed heads.

4. Nectar Feeders that have red feeder ports will call to any hummers in the area.

  • Keep them filled with nutritious sugar water.
  • Be sure to discard nectar that has spoiled. Hummers remember their food sources and return year after year. But they also remember the bad ones and avoid them.
  • Install inexpensive ant moats to keep ants away from the nectar.

5. Add Water!

Misters and Drippers: Hummingbirds love to fly through fine sprays of water. Traditional bird baths are far too deep for these little jewels, so a mister is a much better way for them to clean the sticky stuff off their feathers.

Water drippers set to a slow drip will also beckon hummers. Both of these devices are available at your local bird supply store, or online. It’s another good way to call them to your yard, especially if they are located near red flower-covered bushes or plants!

 

Connie Smith is the proud owner and manager of Grandma Pearl’s Backporch, LLC, and the expert author of many online articles about easy and unique ways you can create the best bird-friendly habitats to help wild birds survive and thrive.

Discover how to create fun and safe backyard habitats for wild birds using their preferred plants and foods, while adding color, fragrance and beauty to your landscape.

Find simple how-to projects for making your own unique bird feeders; and learn how easy it is to attract a variety of birds to your yard and gardens. Join the fun and visit today!

http://grandmapearlsbackporch.blogspot.com

Article Source: EzineArticles.com

I Love to Listen to the Mockingbird

Northern Mockingbird (Mimus Polyglottos)

Northern Mockingbird (Mimus Polyglottos)

When my sister was young and still going to school, a mockingbird decided that the chimney on my parents’ house was just the high platform needed for practicing its broad list of tunes. The trouble was that my sister’s window was in close proximity to that chimney.

At 6 am our intrepid mockingbird began to sing almost nonstop, flexing its vocal prowess for all to hear and enjoy (except my sleepy sister)! Both males and females sing, but the males sing the most. Depending upon their age, mockingbirds may learn more than 200 songs. Each year they add new tunes to their extensive repertoires.

I am reminded of a time several years ago. I was walking through the beautiful annual Lilac Festival in Rochester, New York. My Mom and I were enjoying the fragrance of all the wonderful lovely flowers, bushes and trees in Highland Park, along with many other people. Nearby we kept hearing a robin and finches and all kinds of birds, but we couldn’t see any of them. We thought that was odd, until I realized there was a mockingbird perched atop a tall maple tree. He had fooled all the people in that area, and seemed to be reveling in his deception!

Lure Mockingbirds to Your Yard

A flash of white + a big grey bird = an awesome Northern Mockingbird. Their uninspired coloring belies the beauty of their songs. Lure these accomplished songsters to your yard by planting their favorite nesting material: grapevines. They use the grapevine bark strips to skillfully weave into their sturdy constructions. They prefer to nest in dense shrubs fairly low to the ground, so a mixed hedgerow that includes berry bushes would be a tempting feature as well.

Mockingbirds do come to bird feeders if softer treats are offered. Because their beaks are thin, they are not very good at cracking hard seeds, so supply some or all of the following:

· Grapes

· Suet

· Peanut butter suet

· Sunflower hearts

· Crumbled baked goods

Another great way to entice mockingbirds to your yard is to plant roses that produce lots of small rose hips. Their choice in roses is the non-native Multiflora, but that tends to be a bit invasive. I prefer to use Robin Hood climbing roses planted as a shrub grouping or hedgerow. They bear tons of small rose hips, which fuel mockingbirds in the fall before they begin their migratory trek southward.

Just a friendly note of warning: mockingbirds are dive bombers! Territorial and fearless, if you should venture too close to their nesting site, watch out. You are liable to be the target of this feisty behavior; although, if you are the one that provides them with nesting materials and locations as well as food, they will be reluctant to attack.

These birds provide hours of ever-changing musical entertainment for free. Their serenades are soothing to me, and they test my bird song identification skills. I love to listen to the mockingbirds.

 

Connie Smith is the proud owner and manager of Grandma Pearl’s Backporch, LLC, and the expert author of many online articles about easy and unique ways you can create the best bird-friendly habitats to help wild birds survive and thrive.

Discover how to create fun and safe backyard habitats for wild birds using their preferred plants and foods, while adding color, fragrance and beauty to your landscape.

Find simple how-to projects for making your own unique bird feeders; and learn how easy it is to attract a variety of birds to your yard and gardens. Join the fun and visit today!

http://grandmapearlsbackporch.blogspot.com

Article Source: EzineArticles.com

Choosing Bird-Friendly Lawn and Garden Accents

Two small birds sitting at a birdbath on a summer day.

Birdies sitting at a birdbath on a summer day.

Think Like a Bird!
Remember, your vantage point is from overhead as you fly and perch. We humans often forget to look up, but tend to deal with the realm that is directly ahead or below our line of sight. Do a little experiment and pretend you are hovering over your own yard, as if you were traveling in a low-flying balloon.

Colorful Not Shiny
What might catch your eye? Maybe some brightly colored flowers punctuated by a green or blue gazing ball. Stay away from ‘metallics’ like silver and gold because they produce mirror-like reflections. Our little feathered friends might see the ‘other bird’ in the reflective surface as an enemy. Following natural instincts would lead them to attack the gazing ball!

Birds Love Music
Another great addition is a set of lovely sounding garden chimes. I also enjoy the tones of chimes. Testing them out in the store before I purchase them assures me of a musical result I can live with, and so can the birds. Again, consider the materials used. Shiny metallic surfaces are not ones I recommend when it comes to being bird friendly.

Perches
It’s natural for birds to use various levels of perches to hunt for insects and look out for possible enemy intruders. Fence sections make a great backdrop for your garden plantings, and they give birds excellent resting, preening and socializing spots as well.

Add Water
Water features and fountains are sure-fire bird lures. Taking baths and sipping clean water frequently is not only enjoyable but necessary for their health and well-being. There are many choices, but my preference is for a more natural-looking water feature that seems like it belongs in my yard; not something that sticks out like a sore thumb!

Keep it Natural
You might like to choose a fountain or bird bath that mimics the look of stones. A feature that looks like part of your flower garden, or is in the same color family would be a welcome sight to your feathered visitors. I have seen some beautiful baths that incorporate pretty glass and ceramic mosaics, and some that look like red poppies or yellow sunflowers.

Small garden statues of animals like squirrels, deer and rabbits add interest while also adding familiar but non-threatening elements that your avian friends will appreciate. Charming and whimsical garden accents such as figures of cherubs and children, especially if they incorporate bird feeders in their design, are sweet and fun.

I try to avoid installing lawn ornaments too close to feeding stations. Instead, scatter them throughout your gardens and flower beds to create an integrated and cohesive environment. Also wind socks, whirligigs or anything that might startle or distract a bird with sudden and unpredictable movements would not be good choices.

Follow your own special design aesthetic, whether it be formal or casual, traditional or modern. Stay away from shiny, non-natural looking garden accents, and have fun decorating your outdoor rooms with wild birds in mind!

 

Connie Smith is the proud owner and manager of Grandma Pearl’s Backporch, LLC, and the expert author of many online articles about easy and unique ways you can create the best bird-friendly habitats to help wild birds survive and thrive.

Discover how to create fun and safe backyard habitats for wild birds using their preferred plants and foods, while adding color, fragrance and beauty to your landscape.

Find simple how-to projects for making your own unique bird feeders; and learn how easy it is to attract a variety of birds to your yard and gardens. Join the fun and visit today!

http://grandmapearlsbackporch.blogspot.com

Article Source: EzineArticles.com

3 Easy Steps to a Delightful Bird Seed Garden

A red robin (Erithacus rubecula) foraging on the ground in an ecological garden. This bird is a regular garden companion.

A red robin (Erithacus rubecula) foraging on the ground in an ecological garden. This bird is a regular garden companion.

Wild bird habitats have been shrinking rapidly, but it’s easy to help restore some of that essential area right in your own backyard. So let’s get started!

1. Make a Plan

Decide on the size and shape of the area you will be planting. For a backdrop and built-in bird gathering area, a section or two of picket fencing will help define the area.

Keep it flexible and fun!

It’s best to keep the taller plants in the back next to your fence, and the medium heights in the middle, with the shorter flowers around the front of your birdseed garden area. Check the tag on each plant for information like how tall the plant will get, space requirements, and how much light is essential for optimum growth. Also, take note of when it will flower to make sure there is something in bloom all season long.

2. Choose Your Site and Mix Your Soil

You’ll need a sunny location with well-drained organically enriched soil. Add your own compost, or buy one of the many commercially available products at your local garden center. I have access to sawdust that I add to my mix, as well as a little sand (horticultural sand, not builder’s sand), or perlite to guarantee good drainage. Adding peat moss will help strengthen the root systems.

If you start with a good garden soil, and then mix in organic components, your plants will reward you with lots of beautiful flowers and seeds. Make sure to water your plants every day until they become established. Using a slow-release plant food will ensure your plants get the nutrients they need all summer long.

Once your garden gets growing, it shouldn’t need as much water. The plants will provide their own shade, and will naturally crowd out weeds. However, if a weed happens to crop up, don’t worry. They also provide a great food source for the birds!

3. Go Shopping

When your garden is ready for planting and your backdrop is in place, it’s time for the fun stuff. Grab your list of annuals and perennials, and let’s go shopping!

Plants Suitable for Your Bird Seed Garden:

  • Sunflowers, Cosmos, Zinnias, Ornamental Grasses
  • Purple Coneflower, Bachelor Button, Mexican Sunflowers
  • Tickseed Sunflowers, Daisies, Love Lies Bleeding, Garden Balsam
  • Coreopsis, Aster, Marigold, Helianthus, Phlox, Anise Hyssop (Agastache)
  • Blanket Flower, Brown-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia), Globe Thistle
  • Echinacea, Blackberries, Elderberries, Gaillardia, Bee Balm (Monarda)
  • Gloriosa Daisy, Amaranthus, Blazing Star (Liatris),
  • Festuca Grass, Miscanthus Grass, Indian Grass
  • Barberry, Guara, Mulberries, Viburnums, Hollies,Salvia
  • Ornamental Millet, Sage, Fennel

It’s important that you leave the seed heads standing so that your birds can enjoy searching their own special garden for little tidbits all fall and winter.

Also, some of the seeds will replant themselves automatically for next season.

Job well done. The important habitat you have created will go a long way toward helping wild birds survive and thrive. As a bonus, you’re sure to have a garden full of colorful singing feathered visitors!

 

Connie Smith is the proud owner and manager of Grandma Pearl’s Backporch, LLC, and the expert author of many online articles about easy and unique ways you can create the best bird-friendly habitats to help wild birds survive and thrive.

Discover how to create fun and safe backyard habitats for wild birds using their preferred plants and foods, while adding color, fragrance and beauty to your landscape.

Find simple how-to projects for making your own unique bird feeders; and learn how easy it is to attract a variety of birds to your yard and gardens. Join the fun and visit today!

http://grandmapearlsbackporch.blogspot.com

Article Source: EzineArticles.com