Home > Great Big Greenhouse Blog > December 2016 > IN THE DIRT with DOUG - HOW TO MAKE YOUR YARD MORE BIRD FRIENDLY


Last week in my blog I wrote about birding and using birdfeeders to attract birds to your yard.  I also mentioned that birding is the country’s second most popular outdoor pastime after gardening.   There is a definite connection between birding and gardening.  This connection is called native plants. 
                Native trees such as oaks, willows, birches, and maples, and native herbaceous plants such as goldenrod, milkweed, asters, honeysuckle host numerous caterpillar species that are a vital source of protein for birds, especially during the breeding season.  Native sunflowers, asters, and coneflowers produce seeds for songbirds. We need to focus on native plants that support the highest variety and quantity of bird food.
                How to use native plants in the garden is very important to understand.  Plan for a variety of shapes, sizes, and kinds of plants to give vertical structure to your garden and add cover for our feathered friends.  I always stress to understand a plants’ needs before planting.  And, as equally important are the growing dimensions of plants when fully grown.  You don’t want plants to be too crowded together.
                Another aspect of how to attract more birds is to add color.  Try to plant native plants that bloom continuously throughout the gardening season.  Remember, don’t deadhead the flowers when finished blooming.  Seedpods are a valuable food source for birds.
                I still consider myself a novice when it comes to birding.  But, education is the key element to doing things the right way to attract birds to your yard.  So, I urge everyone to read more about birding and gardening and how to plant more native plants to benefit our feathered friends.
                Here are a few facts that you may find as “food for thought”:
  1.  There are 532 varieties of butterflies and moths supported by native oak trees.
  2. 96% of birds rely on insects to feed chicks
  3. There are approximately 40 million acres of lawn in the U.S. currently.
  4. 80 million pounds of pesticides are applied to lawns in the U.S. annually.   Native plants, on the other hand, support a balance of predator and prey and thrive without pesticides.
  5. 800 million gallons of gas is used annually by lawn mowers and producing significant amounts of carbon dioxide gas.
So, consider our Kids Day in the Garden event on Saturday, January 21 and meet members of the Richmond Audubon Society.
                                                HAPPY NEW YEAR AND HOPE TO SEE ALL OF YOU SOON!
Posted: 12/28/2016 by Doug Hensel | with 0 comment(s)
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