Traditional gardens are sometimes completely shut off from the natural environment and are often inhospitable to birds and other wildlife. Gardens are part of the larger landscape so becoming familiar with local ecosystems and native plant species enables you to plan your garden. Planting a few well chosen shrubs or trees can turn your garden into a sanctuary for all kinds of birds. Native plants are especially effective since there found in a bird's natural habitat.
Providing food and water is sometimes enough to attract birds to your garden. However, if you want the birds to stick around you'll need to carefully plan your garden. In order for birds to frequently visit your garden it must provide, along with food and water, shelter and nesting areas. Providing for more than one bird species is also important. Include in your garden plan a variety of seed and berry producing trees and shrubs, such as Washington hawthorn, mountain ash, cherry and dogwood. Flowers such as hollyhock, nasturtium, and sunflowers produce seeds which also attract birds.
Remember to provide food year-round. In the spring there are many berry producing shrubs which are great for the garden and provide food for birds, such as blueberries and raspberries. In the summer, seeds of perennial flowers provide food and in the fall trees such as dogwood and shadblow produce fruit which birds love. Birds which over winter in your area will need sustenance provided by winterberry or other fruit bearing shrubs.
For birds to find your garden welcoming it should also provide water. If your garden lacks a natural source of water create pool or fill a birdbath. Any water source instantly attracts birds, even wild ducks and gooses. Keep the water fresh by filling it daily. In the winter when the water freezes knock out the ice and replace with fresh water.
Different birds prefer different conditions in which to eat and live. Robins eat at ground level where they search for insects and worms while many other birds prefer to be off the ground a bit in the flowers. Some birds prefer the height of shrubs and others still like to be in the canopy of taller trees. Plants not only provide food for birds they also supply them with shelter. Evergreens and other dense shrubs provide nesting areas. They also provide protection from the cold in winter and a respite from the summer sun. Along with providing all the things which attract birds to your garden you should also be aware of all the things that might keep birds away. Some can also stay away because the noise is too loud or because there chased by pets. Others might avoid your garden if it doesn't seem quite natural enough.
Creating a garden which attracts birds is great for the environment. It provides a habitat for birds as well as beneficial insects and other wildlife. While birds will thrive and will benefit the most from your efforts you're also providing years of enjoyment for both yourself and visitors to your garden.
Tim Birch is the publisher of http://www.gardenlistings.com For information on all kinds of garden projects visit http://www.gardenlistings.com/Resources.htm