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Bird Feeding Tips

Tips on attracting and feeding backyard birds.

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Plants that attract backyard wildlife

Posted by on in Attracting and feeding wild birds
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After beginning to feed wild birds with seed, nectar, insect and suet feeders, many people look for ways to enhance their backyard habitat by adding different types of plants. Improving your backyard plantings can involve as many components, simple or elaborate, as you desire.

American Robin

Fall: Fall plants produce seed and fruit which help non-migrating birds build up their fat reserves for winter. These same foods also may help migrating birds prepare for their long journeys. Chickadees and nuthatches are among the non-migrating species that will seek out the fruit of the dogwood, mountain ash and winterberry.

Black-capped Chickadee

Winter: Often, the presence of winter plants determines whether or not wildlife will survive this harshest of seasons, Plants such as snowberries and crabapples can provide necessary food and cover during cold weather.


Fall Color.

In order to be available throughout the winter, the fruits of many winter plants must have both persistence and low appeal to wildlife when they first appear! To keep wildlife from eating their fruits until the appropriate time, plants have developed different strategies. Some plants produce fruits that are bitter when they first ripen; others, such as persimmons, produce fruits that must freeze and thaw several times before the sugars in them break down to become more palatable.


White-breasted Nuthatch

By adding some of these plant components to your backyard or garden, you can significantly improve the quality of your habitat. In turn, you may attract a wider variety of birds and other wildlife too.

Importantly, as you help meet their needs, they also will enhance your sense of connection with nature and an enjoyable survival strategy for people as well!

(Information adapted from a pamphlet by WindStar Wildlife Institute)

I am delighted to join the Birdzilla team through this blog, sharing ideas and topics related to feeding and attracting wild birds in your backyard. Bird feeding is my life-long passion,  instilled by bird-feeding parents who raised me on an 80-acre farm in central Michigan.  After college, my wife and I served as U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer high-school teachers in Africa and then as staff members over an eight-year period.
Those wonderful times led to 30-years of bird-feeding leadership as founder of the Wild Bird Centers, franchising and supporting wild bird specialty stores across the country. I helped found the Bird Education Network and was a key financial supporter of PROJECT WILDBIRD, I currently serve as Executive Director of the National Bird-Feeding Society. Several years ago, I was asked to join “The Birder’s Team”, a working group of birding leaders selected by the National Wildlife Refuge System to recommend ways to better serve birders. millions of whom visit our extraordinary network of more than 500 Refuges. These “conservation jewels” actively protect critical habitat and conserve bird populations of all kinds. Most recently, I served as a judge to select the winning artist for the NWRS’ 2015 Duck Stamp Contest.

I now look forward to helping our readers experience the best our wonderful hobby offers. As I often say “The closer we live to each other, the closer we want to be to Nature.”

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