Thursday, March 27, 2008

Bird Brain Gardening!

As gardeners we love to see company enjoying our garden as much as we do. From those neighbors who peer into our gardens with envy, to the mail man who pauses to enjoy the blooms near the mailbox. But how often do we get the satisfaction of seeing people enjoying our garden? Not nearly enough. That's why many of us become obsessed with the other visitors to our gardens: The BIRDS! Most gardeners end up enjoying the birds almost as much as they end up enjoying they're gardens. And I'm no different! Just this week I plowed over small children as I ran from room to room trying to capture a picture of a Cardinal! Our first ever! With that in mind I thought it was high time to address birds in the garden because any garden can be a sanctuary for birds. All your yard needs to do is supply is some very basic bird needs: adequate cover, food, and protection from enemies. And chances are you have most of these basic needs already covered. For the biggest variety of birds try dedicating 10% of your plantings to insure the safety and well being of your bird population.

Bird Brain Gardening

  1. Trees! Evergreens provide bird shelter year round and this is extremely valuable to your winter birdies (songbirds enjoy red cedars & other pines while Balsam firs attract chickadees, nuthatches, and finches~among others). Shade trees~even a young tree~is loved by most birds (oaks can attract mourning doves, jays, and flickers and maples are a favorite for evening birds like grosbeaks and purple finches).

  2. Shrubs! The single best way to invite birds into you yard is to have shrubby hedges. In addition to providing shelter they can be an excellent source of food for your winged friends. Honeysuckle, currants, gooseberries, and wild blueberries (if you're willing to share) are fantastic for the birds.

  3. Flowers and Herbs! If we love them then chances are our feathered friends will too. But just in case you really aren't sure here's a list of birdie favorites!
  • Asters
  • Cosmos
  • Forget Me Not
  • Foxglove
  • Lavender
  • Lobelia
  • Marjoram
  • Petunia
  • Poppy
  • Sunflower
  • Thyme

Did I cover everything? Ooops! Looks like I forgot our hummingbird friends. Look for ways to invite them into your garden in my next post.


Nancy J. Bond said...

Cardinals are so beautiful! And though, while Northern Cardinals are year round residents in Nova Scotia, I have yet to have one to my feeder, so I can imagine your excitement. :)

GardenJoy4Me said...

CJ .. small children would be in harm's way with me too .. I'd be tripping over Sophie to get a picture of a Cardinal!

There is another issue .. cats .. I am a cat person. My cats have always been indoor cats. That is where I believe they should be for their safety and the owners sanity.
I went to war with irresponsible neighbors down the street .. their cat HUNTED birds in my garden ..
I was NOT having it.
I phoned every time that cat was in the yard .. I'm sure they must have laughed hearing the screaming harpie on the message machine about that cat. I won though.
They finally gave the cat to friends who lived in the country because I said I would have them FINED financially .. we have a "By-Law" officer as another neighbor .. they added 1 + 1 and that hurt their wallet .. Because I couldn't reach their brains, I had to hurt them there to get them into action. This subject makes me crazy .. and I didn't even touch on cats using the garden as a litter box ! .. How ironic, it has to be another cat owner to point this out ??

CJ said...

Nancy~it only stayed for a few minutes. :( Maybe because it felt my hawk-like stare and flew away to safety.

Joy~I live in a very rural spot and we have 1 cat (a drop-off that my husband saved from a nearby creek-people are so mean). I am not a cat person by nature but am a softee at heart and if you stick around long enough I'll feed and love you...eventually. He is a very outdoor cat but he is very well behaved too. He laid on the back porch asleep while my back yard was littered with 50 or more birds yesterday. He sooo didn't care and he doesn't use my gardens for anything more than an occassional napping place. He's a true gentleman...gentlecat? You know what I mean!

GardenJoy4Me said...

CJ .. yes, I know what you mean LOL
Sorry about the rant CJ .. I just got all worked up thinking about that long incident last year .. Being in a city (albeit.. residential) cats just aren't safe on the streets .. and a lot of people just don't GET THAT .. I understand your kindness for the poor little thing .. and I'm glad you guys have big hearts .. it makes me sick to think what people do with what they consider disposable entertainment.
Thanks for being so sweet !

CJ said...

Joy~Feel free to rant here anytime! It makes things interesting. Don't you think?

Melanie said...

some of the best bird photos I have from my garden were taken by my daughter Emily when she was 10 and 11. I would let her take my digital camera out into the garden. She's sit quietly in the bushes and take shots of the birds.

It kept her happy and busy and I was able to get lots done! Now I have those neat shots to look at as a reminder of those days.

WiseAcre said...

I'm lucky living in the country. I can leave the dead trees standing on the edge of the woods. The dead basswoods seem to be a favorite of the Pileated woodpeckers who return each year to raise a family.

You did forget one thing - water. A simple bird bath with fresh water will do but I prefer to build small shallow ponds (glorified birdbaths) There's something about sneaking a peek at a bird frolicking in the water that makes me happy.

shirl said...

Hi there, great to see someone else enjoying the birds in the garden too :-D