I set out to attract birds to my small backyard. Since we no longer have children living with us, we moved to a smaller home. However, that also meant a smaller garden. I would do whatever was necessary to wake up to the birds’ sounds right outside my bedroom window again. Learning that even a small backyard can become a bird haven had me excited.
Like most other living creatures, birds need water, food and shelter. Give them that, and they will provide rich rewards. I soon learned that even patios and balconies could be attractive to birds. They will always flock to areas packed with trees, shrubs and flowers, regardless of the size of the garden.
Here’s what will attract birds
Keep in mind that birds feed mainly on insects. The more greenery, shrubs and flowers you have, the more insects on the menu. If possible, one large tree in a small garden is enough, but you could get away without it. All you need to do is make sure the birds see your space and associate it with food, shelter and water.
Plant shrubs in the ground, or in pots if they are for the patio. As long as they offer shelter, they will attract birds. Once you have the plants sorted, you can make your garden even more attractive by adding a birdbath and bird feeders. I will give you ideas for DIY bird feeders made with items in your home.
Supply their favorite seeds
Of all the seed available for birds, sunflower seeds appear to be a hit. All the birds that come to my garden seem to prefer those. However, you might want to get both the striped sunflower seeds and the black ones. Smaller bids struggle to crack the striped sunflower seeds.
If you have several bird feeders, make sure some of them have small perches. That will allow small bird species to enjoy the seeds without being bullied by bigger birds. You can also make sure those feeders have small feeding holes and have separate feeders for bigger birds.
Cater for the seasonal birds
Flowers and berries with bright colors, exciting textures and delicious scents will also attract butterflies and other insects. When choosing the plants, keep in mind that some birds are seasonal. The list of plant choices for each season is endless, making the planning even more exciting. Choosing my plants was like an adventure, and I’ m sure it would also be a worthwhile expedition for you.
My choices to attract birds in the winter
Let me tell you about some of my choices. To attract winter birds, I picked arborvitae and beautyberries. The arborvitae is a dense conifer-like small tree that offers adequate shelter for birds. It is shaped like a pyramid and bears clusters of seed-bearing cones. The beautyberry is aptly named for its bright purple berries, making it a real showstopper. It is a fast grower and will be four feet high in no time at all.
These plants are good choices for spring
For springtime, I chose Butterfly weed, which, as the name indicates, attracts butterflies. Moreover, its silky seeds are perfect for the nests of orioles and goldfinches, and hummingbirds cannot resist its nectar. I also chose Columbine for its stunning blooms. Moreover, they also attract butterflies and hummingbirds.
It might be worth noting that too much fertilizer will give you fewer blooms. Furthermore, if you thin out the spent flowers, you’ll have blossoms right through to early summer.
My summer plants are all about color
My first choice was Black-eyed Susan because it is my view of summer. Although we are used to the bright yellow flowers with black centers, more colors are available now. They do well in full sun and light shade, and they will provide eye candy all summer and through autumn. Their seed heads are irresistible for chickadees and house finches.
Also, they are on the list of favorites for American goldfinches. These yellow and black finches also favor the Liatris. You may know this bright lavender flower as blazing star or gay feather, and they also come in white or rose-colored blooms. With these bright blossoms in your garden, seedeaters like tufted titmice will be frequent visitors.
Attract birds with bright berries in fall
My choice of the Mountain ash was a perfect medium-size tree for my small backyard. Its fall foliage is a red and yellow spectacle. Dozens of bird species will flock to feast on the orange fruits of the mountain ash. You will attract gray catbirds, robins, eastern bluebirds, cedar waxwings, thrashers and more. I added another berry-bearing shrub for even more color. All these bird species and more love the dogwood that bursts with brightly colored berries throughout fall. It likes full sun, although it will survive in partial shade and does best in moist soil.
I challenge all of you with small backyards to copy me and create a haven that will attract birds throughout all four seasons.