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.
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.
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.
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