Landscape Features

Well-stocked bird feeders and clean bird baths will always attract wild birds to your garden, but there are lots of other ways you can make your yard more appealing to the local bird population.

Birds are usually quite skittish and won't feel comfortable visiting feeders if there are no trees or bushes around. Wide-open spaces may seem logical at first to give birds room to fly and maneuver but without potential hiding places nearby, birds won't visit a bird bath or feeder. To please the different species of birds in your area, try to have different types of landscaping in your yard. Flowers, shrubs, rocks, trees are all appealing features for a bird. Arrange things so that there are shady spots and sunny spots. Shrubs with edible berries make natural feeders that won't require any work on your part. Dogwood and sumac both produce berries that birds like, not to mention the obvious blackberry or raspberry bushes.

If your area has a problem with free-roaming cats or other predators, try to make your yard as bird-friendly as possible. Keep feeders high off the ground and even put up a fence to keep the animals out.

Another safety concern may be your house windows. Birds have been known to fly straight into a glass window and be injured or even killed. Keeping curtains drawn will keep birds from thinking the glass is really an opening but you might not want to keep your drapes closed all the time. How would you watch the birds then? You can also try decals shaped like hawks to scare them off, or even mount a screen on the outside to cushion the blow. Keep your feeders and bird baths at least 20 feet from the windows of your house to minimize the distraction of the windows.

Other distracting items may keep the birds from your yard, like flags, loud wind chimes, decorative windmills or other garden decorations that have moving parts. These things won't bother all birds, however some smaller birds will be scared by the noise and movement they create.

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