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Attracting Birds to Your Garden

August 24th, 2011

A well kept garden is a great place to relax, enjoying all
the sights and sounds nature has to offer. One of those pleasures is birds,
nature’s little pets that come around showing their brilliant colors and
singing their sweet songs for our enjoyment. Attracting birds, particularly
specific breeds of birds, to your garden can be a hard task. Today, we’ll look
at some of the things you can do to turn your garden into a birding paradise
all year long.

 

Plants & Shrubs

Greenery is a natural feature of any yard and a  surefire way to have the birds flocking to your home. Use plants that have a lot of nectar in their blossoms, as birds just can’t resist coming to them. A  good mix of annuals and perennials will help you get a variety of birds in your
backyard. Shrubbery and trees are also a welcome addition, as they give birds a  shady area and spots to sit up off the ground away from predators. Keep in mind  that with any planting it’s best to use native species, as they’ll do the best  in your area. Native plants will attract birds native to the region as well, giving you a chance to get a good look at the birds from your region.

 

Bird Bath

One of the staples for attracting birds, a bird bath  serves as a great resting spot for them and a decorative accessory for the  home. They give birds a place to get cleaned up, get a drink, and play around  for a bit. They also give you a great opportunity to watch them – just take a  peek out your window or step out on the patio and you’re sure to see birds  frolicking in the water. While there are many styles of bird baths out there, look for one that has a fountain head in the middle that keeps a steady stream of water flowing. The moving water will entice more birds to come to it.

 

Bird Feeder

If you’re going to give your birds a drink, you should feed them too! Bird feeders are a natural companion to bird baths and a welcome
sight for any bird that’s passing by your home. All that flying takes a lot of energy, so they’re always looking for some extra nutrients. The types of bird  feeders available vary greatly, ranging from long tubes that hold seed to hummingbird feeders that only hold nectar to birdhouse style feeders with cages  to hold suet cakes. When setting up your bird feeder, make sure to place it high enough off the ground that pets like cats or dogs can’t reach it – you don’t want them scaring off the birds!

 

Seed Types

Finally, it’s important to keep in mind that different types of birdseed will attract different birds. Here’s a rundown of some of the more common types and the birds that like them:

Black Oil Sunflower – Cardinals, chickadees,
finches, and many other species

Thistle – Smaller birds, like buntings, finches,
and siskins

White Millet – Doves, juncos, and native
sparrows, among others

Cracked Corn – Blackbirds, jays, and pigeons

Premixed birdseed is also available at most home improvement stores. They often contain a mix of different types of seeds to bring different birds to your home.

Turning your garden into a bird sanctuary is easy if you  know what to do. Keep these tips in mind and you’ll have the birds flocking to your backyard in no time!

 

About The Author – Tina Foreman is a writer with Outdoor Living. She loves outdoor decorating, playing with her dogs, and working in the garden. For more on products like bird baths, planters, garden fountains, and propane fire pits,  visit OutdoorLiving.com.

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Backyard Conservation: Good for the Yard and Environment

April 26th, 2011

 

The word conservation has several meanings: 1. Prevention of injury, decay, waste, or loss. 2. Official supervision of rivers, forests, and other natural resources in order to preserve and protect them through prudent management. 3. A district, river, forest, etc., under such supervision. 4. The careful utilization of a natural resource in order to prevent depletion. 5. The restoration and preservation of works of art.

With backyard conservation each of these definitions can apply on some level, improving the environment, helping wildlife and making your outdoor living space beautiful and enjoyable.

Trees are great for backyard conservation for many reasons: they help reduce cooling costs by shading the home, they provide homes for different types of wildlife, they add beauty to the backyard, and they help clean the air. When selecting trees for your backyard take into consideration your geographical area, landscape, and native plant species. Wildlife love shrubs and trees that bloom and bear fruit or nuts, as these can provide food throughout the year.

Water is another important element in backyard conservation. Whether you incorporate a backyard pond with logs and rocks—for birds, butterflies, and turtles—or a bird bath, fresh water provides nourishment for wildlife. If you choose to incorporate a small backyard pond, it can create a relaxing and beautiful environment for you and your family to enjoy. Make sure to plant native plant species around the pond to provide habitat for birds, frogs, and other small animals.

Composting is very beneficial for backyard conservation. Composting provides important nutrients to your soil, encourages plants to thrive, and improves aeration, structure, and water-holding capacity. For more information on composting read our previous post: How to Make Your Own Compost.

And, finally, water conservation can be beneficial for the environment and your plants. Water conservation tips include: choosing native plant species, as they are acclimated to the soil and weather conditions in your area; collecting rainwater to water your plants via rain barrels; preventing water evaporation by deeply watering your plants early in the morning; and mulching around your plants to help retain moisture in the soil.

Backyard conservation is relatively easy, and with thoughtful planning you can help protect and sustain your backyard in beneficial ways. With backyard conservation, you can save money, nuture and protect your personal environment, and beautify your surroundings.

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