Landscaping For Wildlife

Shaina Oliphant
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Gardeners don’t always like wildlife in their gardens, particularly the those like deer or raccoons that dig around and eat prized plants. But most gardeners do welcome the addition of birds to their outdoor spaces. These feathered friends are beautiful, provide color and song, and have a way of closely connecting us to nature. Most birds have simple but specific requirements, so if you’d like to see more of them in your yard, follow these easy guidelines:

Provide Seed-Producing Plants: Birds are attracted to plants and flowers with seeds, and wildflowers that are native to your area are a good place to start. Your local Agricultural Extension office will have a list of wildflowers that grow well where you live. Common seed-producing flowers include purple coneflower, sunflowers, zinnias, blanketflower, flax and goldenrod.

Provide Nectar-Producing Plants: Hummingbirds are usually a valued addition to any garden and they love the sweet nectar produced by plants like salvias, penstemon, columbines, honeysuckles, agastache and morning glories.

Plant Trees and Shrubs: Trees and shrubs are essential for providing cover and shelter for nesting birds. Many of these also provide food such as berries, fruits and acorns, as well as shelter for the birds. Consider planting white oak trees or hollies.

Provide Water: Birds love to drink, bathe and sun themselves next to water. Try a birdbath to get started or if you’re feeling more ambitious, add a small pond or fountain. Keep the water clean and algae-free to ensure healthy birds!

Add a Birdhouse or Birdfeeder: If you garden on a small balcony or patio and aren’t able to plant trees, shrubs and flowers for the birds’ food and shelter, consider adding several birdhouses and birdfeeders.

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