Forget the Feeders! Plant These Bird-Friendly Flowers Instead
Bird feeders always seem like a good idea– a way to add a little bucolic charm to your home– but that novelty often wears off after a week or two, when the squirrels, rats, and raccoons start to close in on them.
Fortunately, there are other ways of attracting birds– and only birds– to your garden. With Winter in full-force, now is the perfect time to plan out some bird-friendly plants for Spring (if for no other reason than that there’s nothing else to do for your garden). While the specifics will vary from zone to zone and from bird to bird (birds: they’re just like us!), there are some sure fire plants that will always be an enticing attraction. Fruiting trees like crabapples and bushes with berries (like Northern bayberries) will always be popular with flighty friends, as will more compact plants (especially ones with seeds) like allium and sedum. Look to add a variety of sizes to create a dynamic space for different species, as the colors and textures will also be alluring to bees and butterflies.
Your best bet for attracting birds, as the Audubon Society advises, is to plant native plants– which are, generally speaking, the best choice for your garden anyways. As they are adapted to your area, native plants typically require less care and pesticides, which makes for an over-all healthier garden. (If you’re not feeling the work of a carefully-planned garden, try tossing out seed bombs made with wildflower seeds.)
While on the subject of pesticides, cutting down on pesticide use in your garden can also help support your local bird community. Pesticides often eliminate insects birds feed on– once again, a point in favor of native plants, which are typically less vulnerable to the insects they have evolved alongside.
If you don’t have one already, consider creating a space for birds to drink and bathe, be that in the formal form of a bird bath, or a rock with a bowled center. Also be sure to take it easy on raking– birds enjoy the natural landscapes created by fallen branches and leaves. In short, gardening with birds in mind involves a lot of un-gardening, restoring the native habitat of the land and honoring the ecosystems that naturally form there.