Bird Feeding Tips
Tips on attracting and feeding backyard birds.
Plants that attract backyard wildlife
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)