Today’s Solutions: February 08, 2023

The warmth of spring and summer, also brings along with it the company of local and migrating birds. To simultaneously maximize your chances of viewing these beautiful creatures while supporting them and your garden’s ecosystem during this period, here’s five gardening tips to follow.

Ensure you have a variety of plants

To please as many species of birds as possible, make sure you have a wide range of plants. Just like us, birds have their particular preferences—some like the safety offered by a tall tree, while others think that shrubs and hedges make a cozy nest, as long as they can find a hard-to-reach spot. Even better if your low-lying plants have some thorny branches for added protection against predators like cats.

The Wildlife Trusts also notes that it’s best to trim your hedges in the autumn so as not to disturb any nesting birds in the springtime.

Go for native (or climate-appropriate) plants

Usually, planting native trees and plants is a sure way to provide nesting birds what bird-focused society Audubon calls a “stocked pantry of seeds, nuts, nectar, berries, and insects. Gardens that boast more native plants tend to have eight times more birds than gardens with grass lawns and imported plants, so it’s worth checking out which plants are native to your region. This site is a great source.

That said, it’s also important to take into consideration climate change, which is encouraging changes in migration patterns and could also shift which plant species are best suited for the weather.

Put up nesting boxes

Instead of prioritizing pretty, ornamental birdhouses that can sometimes leave birds vulnerable to predators and the weather, go for practical nesting boxes with different sized entrances and situate these on posts or in standing trees. As the saying goes, birds of a feather flock together, so try to group nesting boxes for the same species near each other instead of scattered among boxes meant for other types of birds.

Also, avoid removing dead trees, which make ideal, protected spaces for birds to nest and feed. There are 85 species of birds that nest in tree cavities in North America alone.

Provide birds with food and water

If you only have birdhouses and nesting boxes, then another attractive amenity you should consider is a birdbath. Just remember to change the water every two to three days in the summer to keep things fresh, and to place the birdbath away from areas where predators could be hiding.

Leaving bird food out for your feathered friends is also a welcome treat, however, make sure you don’t leave out too much so that the birds’ natural main course of insects from your garden doesn’t get overshadowed. Birdfeed should only be used in times of scarcity and the fall/winter months.

Also, make sure the birds’ natural food source is supported by not spraying your garden with insecticides. 

Leave them nesting material

Instead of getting rid of twigs, grass clippings, pine needles, or even your dog’s shed clumps of fur, leave them a pile of this optimal material to deck out their nests.

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