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Creating a Bird Garden

Are you looking to attract birds to your garden?  Birds are the feathered flowers that add color, movement and music to the garden.  They also provide a natural form of pest control. What could be better? Follow this simple formula to attract birds: water, shelter and food.


Water – Nothing will attract more birds to your garden more than clean water.  Birds need water for drinking and bathing. You can use a simple saucer, a birdbath or build a small pond.  Make sure that shelter is within several feet so they can flee from predators.


Shelter – The more the better for birds.  Trees and shrubs provide protection from weather and predators.  Consider including evergreen shrubs and trees in your planting plan. In addition to their value as a food source in winter, they offer year-round cover from the weather as well as providing birds with secluded nesting sites. Scrubby hedge rows are also very important to some birds. They provide shelter from predators and weather extremes and can be a good source of fruits and insects.


Food – Bird feeders are the first thing you think of as a food source, but native shrubs can also provide food like seeds, fruits, and nuts.  Some native trees also provide food such as dogwoods, junipers, serviceberries, and hawthorns. Bird feeders are obviously great to use for feeding the birds, and there are so many styles to choose from.  Remember to place the food sources near shelter so they can fly away from predators.


Also,  don’t forget about the hummingbirds.  They too can use a source of nectar, be it from a feeder or from flowers you have in your garden.  There are many to choose from. Tubular flowers such as Bee Balm, butterfly weed, coral bells, hosta, cardinal flower, beard tongue, and garden phlox seem to attract them.


Here is a list of some trees, shrubs, perennials that can get you started:


Ash trees – Quince – Sunflowers

Beech trees – Cotoneaster – Echinacea

Cedars –Inkberry – Rudbeckia

Filberts – Winterberry – Bleeding Heart

Conifers – Junipers – Lupine

Oak trees  –Rosa rugose – Joe-Pye-Weed

Serviceberry – Viburnum – Petunia

Summersweet – Blueberries – Fuchsia


You can always add a bird house or nesting box or two for a little added help for the birds.  It can also add a bit of color or whimsy to your garden.