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robin in winter

Attracting Birds To Your Garden

Published Date: Oct 16, 2014

While most people think of attracting birds to their outdoor living space during the spring and summer months, it is actually during the winter months that birds need the most help. With some basic planning, your outdoor living space can become the perfect spot for birds to get the nourishment they need to make it through the winter. Here's how:

Selecting The Right Products and Plants

Since birds will be seeking shelter during these colder months, the key is to consider the hardscape products and landscape vegetation that provide just that- shelter. There are actually trees and shrubs that offer the best protection from the elements as well as the food and nutrients birds need including American Beech and White Oak trees, Wild Black Cherry plants or American Holly. When it comes to products in your outdoor living space, naturally a pergola is going to be the best option for birds. While pergolas may not provide a source of food, they without a doubt provide ample space for shelter.

Birds are constantly on the hunt for food, especially during the winter months so make sure that your yard has both seeds and nuts available through the varying plants. Evergreens, especially conifers-from pines and junipers are a must for any bird-friendly outdoor living space. The seeds from pine cones are a valuable source of winter food for many types of birds. Fruit-bearing trees are also an important source of food for birds. Select a variety that will hold their fruit throughout the winter months. Some examples of shrubs with berries are winterberry holly or chokecherry bushes. Native roses to the area are also a very good choice to add to your garden, they will provide a fleshy red or orange fruit, known as rose “hips”, during the cold months. Another tree to consider is the crabapple trees, they features small, bright red fruit that the birds can swallow whole.

Other Ways to Attract Birds

On cold, snowy days, most birds fluff up their feathers to create air pockets to help insulate their bodies. They also sometimes perch on one leg to draw the other leg up for warmth. And most backyard birds eat rich, energy foods such as insects, seeds or suet. Birds are usually not prepared for drops in temperature or an unexpected winter storm, while these times consider putting out feeders, making sure they are full and the food can be easily found. Hang feeders away from the wind to make it easier for the birds to access the food. Birds also need a source of water during the winter months, this is critical for their survival. Don’t let your birdbath freeze over or put it away. Instead, invest in a portable warming device and change the water regularly. It is ok to start out small with some of these changes to your outdoor living space. The changes will have a big impact on your bird population and you will enjoy seeing a new bird visit your garden providing you with hours of enjoyment in your outdoor living space.

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