Birds: Their songs wake me each morning with a smile. Their personalities and antics keep me company as I work in my garden. Their wings lift my spirits each day - and their appetites help empty my pocketbook each week.
Black oil sunflower seed, black niger (thistle) and peanuts are the foods of choice for the seed-eating birds, but the vittles cost a bundle. To help me stay within a reasonable budget and to keep the birds coming back for more, I've planted an array of bushes, vines, trees and flowers to attract and feed them.
Tall, berry-producing trees and bushes line the edges of my backyard. Red-berried toyon, native elderberry, currants, blueberries, mulberries and pyracantha lure in the hermit thrushes, robins, bossy mockingbirds and vociferous cedar waxwings throughout the fall and winter.
Beds of seed-producing plants, such as cosmos and sunflowers, entice sparrows, juncos, scrub jays, Steller's jays, mourning doves (they eat the seeds that fall to the ground), chickadees and goldfinches, which eat not only the seeds but also make "salads" of succulent green leaves.
I keep several hummingbird feeders filled for our year-round resident hummers, but also include heuchera, hollyhocks, fuchsia, abutilon, 'Painted Lady' runner beans, trumpet vine and cuphea for a steady supply of natural nectar. The hummers thank me by nesting and raising their young in my garden.
A steady supply of seeds and peanuts, water and carefully considered plantings have given me the gift of birdsong and wings. I couldn't wish for more.
How to Attract Birds
- Plant low-growing shrubs, tall bushes, vines, trees and flowers, especially sunflowers.
- Use a variety of feeders, including tube feeders, platform feeders and window feeders to attract many species of birds.
- WATER! Place fountains, saucers, birdbaths and special drippers or misters throughout your yard. Water is critical.
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