You may be anticipating guests for the holidays. Sometimes you just can’t wait for those guests to arrive, and you just can’t wait for those same guests to leave. How about attracting some easygoing guests to your place? Birds are guests we welcome and hope stay on forever. Attracting birds gets easy when you follow some simple tips.
Birds want to come and visit and hopefully stay when you create a bird habitat of sorts. As Garden Gate suggests, think in layers when you are creating your habitat garden. There should be taller trees that give birds a high perch to safely rest and look over the area for food and water. Secondly, there should be a layer of smaller trees and large shrubs. This middle layer gives the birds a place to perch as well as giving them spots to build nests. Evergreens are good to mix into this layer to help the birds feel more protected.
The third layer is smaller shrubs and large perennials. This layer is often the source of food for birds. Finally there is the lowest level, a ground cover of shrubs and perennials. Birds will look for seeds, insects and worms in and under this layer.
Birds will further appreciate your using native plants in your yard layering. The birds are used to this familiar food, and the plants will give you less trouble. Look for native plants or their “cultivated forms,” which have yummy berries for our bird buddies. Even if you can’t plant lots of plants birds love, try to plant a few to make your space more popular for visiting birds.
Good plants for layering to create a habitat in our area are easy to find. Look for wax myrtle, semi-evergreen shrubby tree with gray fruit. It will grow 20-30 feet tall. The flowering dogwood is full of red fruit in the fall. It will grow 15-30 feet tall. The ever popular yaupon holly has scarlet red fruit and evergreen foliage. It will grow 10-20 feet tall. Black-eyed Susan has perennial golden yellow flowers with brown seed cones in late summer. Birds love it. Expect growth of 2-3 feet.
Provide a source of fresh water. Then layer in the plants. The word will get out about your yard, and as the word spreads you can enjoy the best visitors — birds.
Joette is an avid gardener and prides herself on staying up-to-date on the latest gardening activities and tips. To share your gardening news with Joette, call (409) 832-1400 or fax her at (409) 832-6222. Her e-mail is joreger [at] msn [dot] com.