Wildlife Gardeners - North American Wildlife Gardening

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-   -   Attracting backyard birds (http://www.wildlifegardeners.org/forum/birds-including-raptors-hummers/13335-attracting-backyard-birds.html)

Zuni 12-14-2018 07:07 PM

Attracting backyard birds
 
Does anyone know the extent of the range used by backyard birds to find food, shelter and water? We are just starting a new garden which will focus on native and wildlife-friendly plants. However, currently there are almost no birds in the neighborhood (and few gardens.) If we build it, will they come?

dapjwy 12-14-2018 08:06 PM

I definitely think "if you build it, they will come" is true.

I don't know the range of birds in search of food,but I know that there are year round residents, summer/breeding residents, and birds that travel through during migration...and I think some from more northern climes may settle here during the winter.

We have two acres in the country...(especially when we first moved here) there is a lot of open space (as well as areas for a small woodland); the first year here, I saw bluebirds in the winter. Early that spring, I put up nest boxes; I have had a nesting pair of bluebirds every year since.

Also, I think (but I am not sure) that the same birds tend to come back each year. I have a resident catbird in the summer. Each year as my natives mature and I add more, I seem to get more varieties of birds and more of each variety.

Zuni 12-15-2018 01:09 PM

Neighboring birds
 
That's very encouraging. I just wonder if they might come to our feeders and flowers from the next neighborhood.

Podo 12-16-2018 03:22 PM

Somehow when I planted my Aquilegia canadensis, birds surrounded it. It was the first time I ever seen White-Throated Sparrows. They're pleasant little fellows. The plant wasn't in bloom, so I think they were attracted to the bugs on it. Pairs of Northern Cardinals also visit it from time to time. There's this flock of Goldfinches visits my Echinacea purpurea annually. Right next to it is a garden sheperd's hook, where the male goldfinch perches, with a windchime. They also like the Rudbeckias. I don't know what birds think of windchimes, but I'm sure a properly constructed bird bath that can supply water in winter and in drought would attract them. Some birds like the Goldfinch like high places to perch near food, too. As for shelter, I don't have experience. It might be worth trying a roosting box or a nesting box.

Here's a link to the National Audubon Society's garden stuffs:
Quote:

Originally Posted by The National Audubon Society
www.audubon.org/plantsforbirds
"Bring birds to your home today by growing native plants. With Audubon's Native Plant Database, you can find the best plants for the birds in your area. Growing bird-friendly plants will attract and protect the birds you love while making your space beautiful, easy to care for, and better for the environment. Explore all of our native plant resources here."

You don't need to put your email to use their plant index.
It may be useful to check a few bird watching websites. I think bringing a non-decorative bird bath or water source would bring good results. Lots of birds love to eat bugs, so there's got to be many bugs for them, too.
Good luck!:wave

havalotta 12-16-2018 06:28 PM

You know what works best as far as to what I've discovered is...If you plant a few trees and bushes nearby they tend to migrate on in. They seem to want or need the cover protection wise first against the elements and...the darn roaming cats you may have in a neighborhood. A water bath or a pond it also a GREAT addition. They'll come regularly for drinks and....bathing! Make sure if you add a pond there's a few floating logs should they fall in so they can climb on up and out otherwise you might find a few floaters. :(

katjh 12-22-2018 03:45 PM

If you build it, they WILL come. At least, it has worked that way for me. Our home is in a city neighborhood. I am surrounded by Lawn Farmers (Chemlawns) on all sides. My yard, planted with trees, shrubs and perennials (mostly natives) attracts all kinds of birds. It may take awhile, but they will come. The biggest draws in my yard seem to be the mixed hedge along the property line and the water features. I have a small bird bath/pond that is dug into the ground (it's not much larger than a typical bird bath). I keep a mister going back there in the summer. I also have a pond with a pump to recirculate the water. That one is filled with rocks/stones to keep it shallow enough for birds. In the front yard, I have a regular bird bath, on a pedestal, with a dripper going. The sound of moving water is like a bird magnate in the warmer weather. I only fill my feeders in the winter. There is enough natural food during the rest of the year.

rhauser44 01-17-2019 11:49 AM

As others have said "Build it and they will come". I haven't read anything on the size of the ranges of our backyard birds. But I do feel whatever you build or grow, birds will find. And the activity of these first visitors will attract other birds. And these birds will then add your location to their regular rounds of their territory.

Helianthus 01-23-2019 03:29 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Quote:

Originally Posted by katjh (Post 161185)
If you build it, they WILL come. At least, it has worked that way for me. Our home is in a city neighborhood. I am surrounded by Lawn Farmers (Chemlawns) on all sides. My yard, planted with trees, shrubs and perennials (mostly natives) attracts all kinds of birds. It may take awhile, but they will come. The biggest draws in my yard seem to be the mixed hedge along the property line and the water features. I have a small bird bath/pond that is dug into the ground (it's not much larger than a typical bird bath). I keep a mister going back there in the summer. I also have a pond with a pump to recirculate the water. That one is filled with rocks/stones to keep it shallow enough for birds. In the front yard, I have a regular bird bath, on a pedestal, with a dripper going. The sound of moving water is like a bird magnate in the warmer weather. I only fill my feeders in the winter. There is enough natural food during the rest of the year.

My experience is very similar to yours. We bought our home, which is just outside of Washington, DC in 2011. It was all turf with a few crap boxwoods from Home Depot literally just dumped in holes for show. I've filled the yard now with hundreds of native plants that have naturalized and spread throughout. I've documented 72 species of birds in the yard along with foxes, flying squirrels, salamanders, and tons of amazing insects. If you build it/ plant it they will come! Learn how to grow your own native plants from seed, so you don't end up spending money needlessly. If you pick natives that are suited to your site and soil, they will spread and do all the work for you given time.

dapjwy 02-02-2019 03:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Helianthus (Post 161217)
My experience is very similar to yours. We bought our home, which is just outside of Washington, DC in 2011. It was all turf with a few crap boxwoods from Home Depot literally just dumped in holes for show. I've filled the yard now with hundreds of native plants that have naturalized and spread throughout. I've documented 72 species of birds in the yard along with foxes, flying squirrels, salamanders, and tons of amazing insects. If you build it/ plant it they will come! Learn how to grow your own native plants from seed, so you don't end up spending money needlessly. If you pick natives that are suited to your site and soil, they will spread and do all the work for you given time.

Wonderful success story. Thank you for sharing. :)

katjh 02-03-2019 11:11 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Helianthus (Post 161217)
My experience is very similar to yours. We bought our home, which is just outside of Washington, DC in 2011. It was all turf with a few crap boxwoods from Home Depot literally just dumped in holes for show. I've filled the yard now with hundreds of native plants that have naturalized and spread throughout. I've documented 72 species of birds in the yard along with foxes, flying squirrels, salamanders, and tons of amazing insects. If you build it/ plant it they will come! Learn how to grow your own native plants from seed, so you don't end up spending money needlessly. If you pick natives that are suited to your site and soil, they will spread and do all the work for you given time.

Wow! Your yard sounds beautiful. I don't think I will ever have foxes here. At least deer aren't an issue, though, so that's a plus. I don't have an official yard list, so I can't say how many species we have seen, but there is a lot of variety, especially during the migration seasons.
I grow natives from seed by winter sowing every year. I have about 50 varieties in flats in my back yard this year. We shall see what spring brings!


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