Gardening is a year round activity and certainly helps to get through the seemingly endless cold winter days. It can be quite pleasant to witness birds enjoying your garden. Like many of us, Birds are in survival mode during the winter months. If we help them to find food sources and shelter, we will be rewarded with their presence.
How can we attract and help our friends of flight?
Tea Time is for the Birds
A simple and easy solution is provide a birdbath throughout the winter. With most water sources frozen, the birds are in a constant search for clean fresh water. Warming your birdbath to keep it from freezing provides a warm ‘cup of tea’, quenching the thirst of your garden’s winter visitors.
Beyond the bath
Although most of us only consider attracting birds to our garden in the warmer months, if we provide them with food and shelter opportunities during the winter as well, we will certainly attract more feathered friends. Different food source requirements paired with plant species will support the bird’s needs.
Depending on your time and budget there are many ways to encourage winter visitors.
- Seeds and nuts
Trees & Shrubs
To encourage the best variety of birds, to find a winter home in your garden, your trees and shrubs should include variety too. Consider a tiered approach of varying heights from the tallest tree to the lowest ground cover. Mindfulness to species native to your area will optimize your results in attracting winter birds. If you are unsure we can help you determine the best plants for your area.
The great Evergreen Trees in the conifer species are perfect for attracting birds. They provide beautiful blue/green color all year and their dense branches provide winter shelter for our feathered friends. The conifers also produce magnificent fruit bearing cones. Pine cones deliver far more than great decoration for your festival wreaths and decor. These unusual ornaments from nature are quite functional actually, serving to protect the tree’s seeds which are an important food source for some bird species.
Trees for every taste and garden, Junipers, hemlock, spruce and firs are also great choices for creating a convenient and safe environment to attract winter birds.
Trees from the deciduous species, although not particularly beautiful without their leaves, also provide an excellent food source for birds in their nuts.
Grasses Are Golden
Hold off cutting back your grasses until spring. Natural looking native grasses provide color all year long; adapting to the season with their lush color in the warmer months and a gold-ish/tan color during the winter. Their length provides dense shelter for our bird friends as well as a hearty food source in the seeds. For a list of grasses that promote winter bird guests, take a look at this article on thespruce.com.
As you would imagine, berries are a great source of food for birds. Planting species that include berries is incredibly helpful in attracting birds and lends color and texture to your garden throughout the year.
Interesting to note, during the warm months berries typically don’t taste very well. After freezing and a thaw cycle birds find their taste more appealing thus a perfect wintertime meal for them.
American BeautyBerry and Winterholly are 2 examples of berries that will offer sustenance for winter birds in your garden.
Many of us are inclined to cut our flowers back like our grasses after the fall. However, if left alone their seeds become a natural and easy food source for our bird besties. The seeds of your perennials are a perennial favorite of the birds. Black-eyed Susans and coneflowers amongst others are easy to grow, look great and are nature's feed store for the cold winter months. Save the cutting back for springtime.
In addition to the above tips on how to bring birds to your garden, you may also find it helpful to read some of our tips on choosing the best supplies to attract wild birds.
We would love to see the birds in your garden...share your pictures with us on Facebook or tag us on Instagram!