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Ten Landscape Design Tips to Attract Birds

by John Staples
Online Degrees Columnist

Behind every successful bird garden is a good landscape design. As the following tips reveal, there's a great difference between sowing the common lawn and establishing a bird-friendly garden. Here are ten pointers for attracting birds:
  1. Grub: Each bird species has unique nutritional needs and feeding habits. Do a bit of research to learn which trees, shrubs, and flowers will draw which birds.
  2. Water: Want to double the number of birds outside your window? Draw in birds with a birdbath or frog pond.
  3. Home Sweet Home: Birds need to keep a safe distance from predators. Provide your winged friends with places to nest safely, by growing long grasses and shrubs and installing birdhouses.
  4. Biodiversity: In a garden, as in nature, a diverse system is a strong system. The greater the variety of plants in your yard, the more bird species it will be able to support.
  5. All Seasons: We humans tend to enjoy the garden only in fair weather. For many birds, however, your yard can be a year-round home. Choose plants that provide year round shelter and food.
  6. Location, Location, Location: Keep your houses, feeders, and water sources at a safe distance from the winter wind and snow drifting.
  7. Consider Yourself Dangerous: Picture windows, herbicides, and pets all endanger the birds in your garden and should be kept at a safe distance.
  8. In the Zone: If you're thinking about putting in non-native plants, check your garden catalogue's hardiness-zone map. Make sure the plants have been rated to hold up in your winters.
  9. Down to Earth: Get your soil tested by your local garden center or university. Each type of soil--acidic versus alkaline, for example--suits plants to varying degrees.
  10. Go the Distance: If you're eager to learn about landscape design, you might consider turning your interest into a career. Many colleges offer degrees and diplomas in landscape design, and with distance learning, getting a degree has never been easier. Enroll today, and soon your birds won't be the only ones whistling.


Baltimore Birdclub, "Attracting Birds"

About the Author
H.L. Staples teaches at Syracuse University. Her articles have appeared in The Boston Review, Denver Quarterly, The Georgia Review, and elsewhere.

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