Bird-friendly gardens are easy to create and make a lovely visiting space for all of the local birds around your area.
Many people think that this process will be too long for them to be bothered with, but you can actually make a bird-friendly garden with just a few simple steps.
Below are a few of the best ways to make your backyard more bird friendly.
Remove the bird catchers
One of the main concerns for birds when visiting gardens is their ultimate nemesis - cats.
That’s right, birds won’t rest anywhere that they think a cat can come and pounce on them. We know, why would they want to protect themselves from danger?
Of course, you can’t go around banishing all cats from your garden. For one, they won’t understand you.
Plus, cats don’t really care what humans say and do what they want anyway.
So, to prevent cats from coming along and pouncing on the bird visitors, avoid putting bird food on the floor.
Otherwise, the birds will be in the optimal position for a cat to sneak up behind them and ruffle some feathers.
Instead of having the food on the ground, place bird feeders around your garden where cats can’t get them.
This means that they shouldn’t be near a wall or fence that a cat could climb. Instead, the feeders should be high off the ground with nothing around them.
You can also use a bird table to feed birds, but make sure that it isn’t too low for cats to be able to jump up on it.
Birdbaths are also a good option as cats who jump onto them will immediately get spooked by the water.
Plant bird-friendly wildlife
Birds like to rest in places that have shelter, especially in bad weather.
Wildlife-friendly vegetation can be a great and quick way to entice birds into your garden.
Prickly bushes and thick climbing plants are popular, as well as plants with broad leaves and brightly colored flowers.
Plant these close to the bird feeders so that the birds have a resting space between feeds. You can also make bird habitats for them to rest in during the bad weather.
What makes a good bird habitat?
Having a range of habitats in your garden can entice more birds and make it more likely for them to stay.
A good bird habitat will have a number of things included within it, such as food, shelter from bad weather, nesting materials, and sites.
If you know what birds are common around your area, you can cater especially to them rather than the general population of birds.
For example, Hummingbirds are often found nestling in gardens full of bright flowers.
Hummingbirds are attracted to bright colors, so if your habitats are bright and loud they will be more likely to attract this type of bird.
A simple wooden habitat will be more likely to get ignored by the Hummingbirds.
Making your garden into a good bird habitat means that you’ll have a number of features for the birds to enjoy.
They’ll be able to eat from the bird feeders, provided that you have the right food for their species.
They will then be able to have a drink and bathe in the birdbath, before resting in the shade of the plant vegetation and shelter that they enjoy.
Birds aren’t going to visit your garden and never leave.
They’ll come and go, but making your garden into a good bird habitat will increase the likelihood of them coming back and staying for longer.
What berries attract birds?
Almost every berry will attract birds to your garden. Berries are great sources of nutrients for them and make a difference from their usual seeds.
Below is a list of berry bushes to plant if you want to attract birds to your garden.
American Beautyberry Bushes
These berries are purple and don’t grow very tall, making them ideal for small gardens. They also attract many types of birds, such as northern bobwhites, robins, mockingbirds, brown thrashers, and towhees.
American Cranberry Bush
The rusty red berry flowers lovely during the spring before the berries grow in the summer, providing food for Songbirds throughout the winter.
Songbirds will enjoy the coralberry, such as cardinals, robins, and chickadees. These pink berries are also attractive to bees and other wildlife.
Currants are very popular among lots of bird species, none more so than hummingbirds. There are only a handful of species that won’t enjoy your currants.
From flycatchers to wrentits, elderberries are loved by many birds. Plus, you can also use them in the kitchen for your own dishes.
Not only do the holly berries make a great snack for birds, but the prickly leaves also work well for sheltering them in bad weather.
Similar to the blueberry, huckleberries are popular with lots of birds and will have them returning to your garden in no time. They might even bring their friends.
Sparrows and towhees enjoy a good raspberry. The thick leaves of raspberry plants also work as good shelters for the birds.
Snowberries are particularly enjoyed by thrushes, robins, and waxwings. However, lots of other birds love them. They also look gorgeous in the garden.
Do birds eat buckthorn berries?
Buckthorn berries are considered slightly poisonous to birds, causing diarrhea and other symptoms. And that’s when they’re eating the ripe berries!
If a bird was to eat unripe buckthorn berries, it could become rather sick and die.
However, many birds know that they shouldn’t eat buckthorn berries. If they do consume one, they won’t often get sick enough to die.
They’ll feel the adverse effects and steer clear from the berries again.
Buckthorn berry plants are not all bad for birds; however. The plant’s dense growth allows the birds to reside underneath it and use it as a shelter.
So, if you have buckthorn berries growing in your garden, don’t immediately remove the plant altogether.
Instead, make sure that there are plenty of other food sources in your garden for the birds and leave the buckthorn bush for a place of shelter.
Do birds like winterberries?
Yes, birds do like winterberries. Winterberry is a shrub that can grow from three to 12 feet tall as well as wide. As you can imagine, this is a large plant with thousands of red berries dotted all over it.
These berries grow throughout the entirety of winter, provided that they’re not all eaten before then. This bird is brightly colored and therefore will help to attract a number of bird species.
The most common species to be attracted to winterberries are the American Robin, Eastern Bluebird, Northern Mockingbird, Gray Catbird, Cedar Waxwing.
However, more birds might be attracted to them due to the likeness of other berries.
Even if a species doesn’t particularly like the winterberry fruit, they will enjoy the cover that the shrub provides. The leaves are very compact, making them ideal for a bird to wait out the bad weather within.
Another plus of the winterberry shrub is that it makes an excellent backdrop for bird photography. You might even be able to spot some birds making their nests within your winterberry bush!
What are the best trees to attract birds?
To attract birds using trees, your best bet is to use vegetation that is native to your specific area.
Birders have had the most success with this approach, so use your region to find the best trees to plant for birds in your garden.
Having said that, there are still a number of trees and plants that you can use to attract birds that work in almost every area.
We’ve listed these below for your convenience.
This type of tree loses its leaves every autumn and reflowers in spring. They’ll often hold berries or bright colors that birds are attracted to.
They might not be as attractive in the wintertime, but the bare stalks can be appealing to birds looking to make a nest in the warmer months.
- Mulberry tree
- Serviceberry tree
- Flowering dogwood
- Crabapple tree
- White oak
A coniferous tree, on the other hand, remains evergreen throughout the year.
They don’t lose their leaves and, as a result, can provide excellent shelter for birds during the colder months.
These trees can also be handy to you as they don't need as much upkeep as deciduous trees.
- Eastern red cedar
Birds love vines to nest and seek shelter in. Many vines also flower and hold berries, making them good food sources as well.
- Wild grape vine
- Virginia creeper
What small trees do birds like?
Not everyone has the yard space to hold lots of trees, shrubs, and vines.
However, this doesn't necessarily mean that you can't still make your garden a safe haven for birds in your area.
The main issue with planting trees is that they start small all but over the years get much larger and often overcrowd yards.
Luckily there are species of trees that remain smaller throughout their life cycle.
These small trees are still enjoyed by many birds and still allow you to enjoy your garden space. These are as follows:
- Creeping juniper
- Dwarf Canadian hemlock
- Dwarf Colorado spruce
- Dwarf mugo pine
- Dwarf Korean fir
- Golden eastern arborvitae
- Sawara false cypress
As you can see, most small trees that attract birds have the word dwarf in the name. Look for this if you are wanting smaller trees.
Bear in mind that berry trees will be best for feeding birds, while thick flowering trees will act as excellent shelters.