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Landscaping is More Than Just Plants – It’s Birdlife, Too

Sunday, October 29, 2023

While the obvious elements of a landscape are trees, shrubs and flowers, these elements can serve a dual purpose. Landscaping to attract birds provides year-round enjoyment.


The cooler weather is settling in, and the garden-growing season has come to a halt for now, but homeowners still can enjoy birds in the off-season. There are several elements that need to be supplied to attract these feathered friends to the area.


The three key factors are food, shelter and water. A water source can be natural, such as a creek or stream, or it can be man-made such as a water pond/garden or a bird bath.


Food and shelter are provided by using a mixture of plant materials. When planning a landscape, choose plants that contain berries or fruit as they provide a great source of food for birds. Also consider plants that will bear fruit and berries at different times of the year so food will be available all year long. Selections such as pyracantha or firethorn can serve double duty in the landscape as a food source with their berries in the fall and as a shelter plant.


Other good options for shelter include conifers. They provide excellent shelter because they keep their leaves all winter and provide protection from the winter elements.


Trees that bear nuts or acorns will provide food and good nesting places. Don’t forget about herbaceous plants. Ornamental grasses and many native perennials can provide shelter for ground-nesting birds. In the summer, these plants provide seed for food.


Just as water is essential for humans, it’s also vital for bird life to have easy access to clean, fresh water. The birds will drink it and bathe in it. If you opt for a birdbath, be sure to clean it on a regular basis. In winter, a bird bath heater may be warranted to keep the water from freezing; however, ensure the water doesn’t get above 40 degrees Fahrenheit.


Birds bathe as a way to keep their feathers in good condition. A bird’s feathers help insulate it from temperature extremes, and they also help provide the power of flight. Feathers get replaced once or twice a year, so it is important the birds take care of them.


Even though the landscape may not be full of vibrant colors in the fall, it still is an interesting place when birds and other wildlife visit.

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