Basics of Landscaping for Birds

Basics of Landscaping for Birds

Landscaping for birds involves nine basic principles:


     Every bird species has its own unique food requirements that may change as the season’s change. Learn the food habits of the birds you wish to attract. Then plant the appropriate trees, shrubs, and flowers to provide the fruits, berries, seeds, acorns, and nectar.


     You may be able to double the number of bird species in your yard by providing a source of water. A frog pond, water garden, or bird bath will get lots of bird use, especially if the water is dripping, splashing or moving.


     Birds need places where they can hide from predators and escape from severe weather. Trees (including dead ones), shrubs, tall grass, and birdhouses provide excellent shelter.


     The best landscaping plan is one that includes a variety of native plants. This helps attract the most bird species.

Four Seasons

     Give birds food and shelter throughout the year by planting a variety of trees, shrubs, and flowers that provide year-round benefits.


     Properly arrange the different habitat components in your yard. Consider the effects of prevailing winds (and snow drifting) so your yard will be protected from harsh winter weather.


     Birds should be protected from unnecessary mortality. When choosing the placement of bird feeders and nest boxes, consider their accessibility to predators. Picture windows can also be dangerous for birds, who fly directly at windows when they see the reflection of trees and shrubs. A network of parallel, vertical strings spaced 4 inches apart can be placed on the outside of windows to prevent this problem. Be cautious about the kinds of herbicides and pesticides used in your yard. Apply them only when necessary and strictly according to label instructions. In fact, try gardening and lawn care without using pesticides. Details can be found in gardening books at the library.

Hardiness Zones

     When considering plants not native to your area, consult a plant hardiness zone map, found in most garden catalogs. Make sure the plants you want are rated for the winter hardiness zone classification of your area.

Soils and Topography

     Consult your local garden center, university or county extension office to have your soil tested. Plant species are often adapted to certain types of soils. If you know what type of soil you have, you can identify the types of plants that will grow best in your yard.

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