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best ways to attract birds to my yard?

Posted by novice_2009 zone 6 (My Page) on
Sun, Apr 5, 09 at 18:31

I've put out a bird feeder, and they are really coming. However, I have a problem with rollie pollies in my shade garden, and want to attract birds that would eat those bugs, not just seeds. I can't afford a nice birdbath( it's the front of house that faces road). Any suggestions on how to attract the birds I want to that area? Certain plants? What kind of birds- etc.
Thanks you guys!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: best ways to attract birds to my yard?

Birds that have babies will need those insects to feed their chicks. You don't have to have a "nice" birdbath - put something in the back that holds water and change it regularly - even the lid to a trashcan!

Birds appreciate nesting boxes and dense shrubs/trees that provide cover and places to build nests (it doesn't have to be evergreen, but those are nice).

Planting native plants attracts native insects which in turn attract birds. Non-native plants are not attractive to native insects and so diminish the available amount of food that birds need for their chicks.

Here is a link that might be useful: Good link about nesting boxes


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RE: best ways to attract birds to my yard?

Very good suggestions. I'm an organic gardener, and this year I'm planting medicinal herbs and flowers native to my area. Im sure this will bring the butterflies and hummingbirds around. After putting out the bird feeder, for the first time in the 4 yrs i've lived here, a robin has built a nest in the short pine tree behind our house. I'm so excited! I was just wondering, since we have a slug, snail, and rollie pollie problem up front in the moist shade garden. I ususally hand pick them and throw them out for the birds, because they never get that close to the front of the house.


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RE: best ways to attract birds to my yard?

Try to leave an area of shallow plant litter. The insect eating birds will start scratching the area looking for bugs. If the birds like the spot you have chosen they will visit and take care of some of your insects. Insects will seek refuge in the litter making it a win situation for you. My birds seem to like a spot next to the fence where the morning sun hits. You could mix some small sand or grit into the soil to make a dust bath for the birds.

Having seen birds spit out the rollie pollies I think they have something in their bodies that taste nasty for most birds.


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RE: best ways to attract birds to my yard?

If you use native plants they do attract more birds. Additionally, I have not seen any major problems with pill bugs and native plants. I had lots of them in my shade gardens and I just ignored them. Actually, I never had an insect infestation of any consequence in the 5 years I maintained the garden and I probably had 30 species of sedges, ferns, and wildflowers


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RE: best ways to attract birds to my yard?

Adding water to the area really attracts birds especially if they can hear it. For less than $20 you can buy a little pump and an old plastic bin and create a little bubbler. Put the pump in the bottom of the bin with an old flower pot over it and fill the bin with gravel to an 3 inches below the rim and fill with water, plug in pump and done. I have a pond in the yard and this rig in the DH garden the birds prefer this set up. Best part is the smaller the pump the better so it is inexpensive, even better if you find a solar pump but they are pricey. Don't forget to top up the water and clean it regularly.


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RE: best ways to attract birds to my yard?

Sounds like a good set-up, squirelette, but i live in an old house, no outside plugs! Found a concrete base and shallow bowl at lowes for about $30 total. Considering that option. Should I place the birdbath close to the feeders? My yard there is hilly, but there is a spot and I was thinking of planting a wildflower mix around it. What do you guys think? Good idea maifleur!


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RE: best ways to attract birds to my yard?

If you place it too close the falling seeds may foul the water, also it will be lovely with wildflowers around the base but keep them short enough that cats can't hide and snag soggy birds. Voice of experience on that one.


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RE: best ways to attract birds to my yard?

Glad to see a lot of references to using native plants. Below is a link to my blog that has a lot of posts on native plant gardening and attracting wildlife to your garden.
Good luck!

Here is a link that might be useful: Montana Wildlife Gardener


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RE: best ways to attract birds to my yard?

Aside from feeders and water, mixed plantings will attract a wide variety of birds. My lot has numerous canopy trees, understory vegetation and shrubs, some open areas, and some dense evergreens and thickets of things like Crabapples for cover and berries. And several gardens with a mix of many native perennials and grasses, and annuals that make seeds and harbor insects for the birds.

As previous posters stated, attracting insects is important because 90% of terrestrial birds raise their young almost exclusively on insects, such as the larvae of moths and butterflies. The best way to nurture a healthy population of insects is to plant woody plants that are native to your region.

Although most people don't think it looks tidy, and are usually compulsive about cleaning up dead wood, it's very attractive to all cavity nesters to leave a dead tree or two standing and even dead branches, if they are safely located and won't drop on the house or deck or anything. Birds also love to perch on dead lower branches in trees.

My back yard is much more naturalized than the front and I've left about 10 or so dead pine tree snags standing back there, some of which are old enough to have multiple woodpecker holes. This year there are White-breasted Nuthatches and Eastern Bluebirds nesting in the dead snags that I've noticed so far! :)


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