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How To Create A Garden For The Birds

Birds are amazing little cheerleaders! They constantly brighten my days with their sweet songs and beautiful colors.  Is your garden bird friendly? Because if it’s not, you’re missing out. Today I’m going to share how to create a garden for the birds, so you too can enjoy them in your backyard as I and many others do.

Orange bird and pink flowers

How To Create A Garden For The Birds


Attracting birds to the backyard takes more than putting out a couple of seed trays. If you are into bird watching you probably already have several bird feeders of different types scattered around your yard.

Many people enjoy this hobby just in the winter when the birds, for lack of other food, will flock to the feeders in droves.

But have you ever thought about planting a year round garden for the birds? There are many shrubs and trees that provide food for all four seasons. Let’s take a look at plants that you can plant so that birds can enjoy your garden year-round, regardless of the season.

Bird in the flower garden

Related: Great gifts for bird lovers

Spring garden

When you begin your spring gardening, whether you have an established landscape plan or just beginning, be sure to include some dwarf fruit trees, berry bushes, and a grapevine or two.

You can work them into your design and they will not only provide summer, fall, and winter pickings for the birds but the spring blooms will attract insect eaters such as the warblers and orioles and feed the bees.

Want to keep track of your bird visits? This journal will help 😉

The Birder - Bird Watching Log, Notebook and Journal: The perfect book for Birders & Bird WatchersThe Birder – Bird Watching Log, Notebook and Journal: The perfect book for Birders & Bird WatchersThe Birder - Bird Watching Log, Notebook and Journal: The perfect book for Birders & Bird Watchers

Summer garden

The summer garden for birds should include a cherry tree, chokecherry, honeysuckle, raspberry, service-berry, blackberry, blueberry, plum, and elderberry. These plants produce fruit or berries from May through August.

They should attract cardinals, brown thrashers, catbirds, robins, thrushes, waxwings, woodpeckers, orioles, towhees, and grosbeaks.

If you really want the birds to flock to your doorstep plant a mulberry tree. You will, however, need a good-sized piece of property in order to accommodate a mulberry. They grow tall and their fruit is rather messy. Expect to see large purple splashes on the driveway and anything else in the path of a passing bird that has just visited your mulberry tree.

Fall garden

In the fall you can expect to have a lot of migratory birds checking out your feeders trying to replenish themselves for their long journey. Shrubs and trees that provide food for these guests, and early feeding for the residents, are:

  • dogwoods
  • mountain ash
  • winter-berries
  • cotoneasters
  • buffalo-berries

It is important to provide feed, whether from your natural garden or in seed feeders, during this time of year so both the migratory and non-migratory birds can build their fat reserve.

Winter garden

There are many plants that will bear fruit in the fall. But much of this fruit isn’t edible by the birds until it has frozen and thawed several times. Some examples are:

  • the glossy black chokecherry
  • snow-berry
  • bittersweet
  • sumac
  • American high bush cranberry
  • eastern and European wahoo
  • Virginia creeper
  • China berry

Some people plant crab apple trees to feed the birds, but many of the hybrids of that species have fruit that is not edible. If you can find an old variety of crab-apple then they are a nice addition.

Birds love nut trees!

Nut-bearing trees are a valuable asset to your bird garden because they can provide a good hiding and nesting area. Sometimes, especially with the walnuts, the nuts will crack open and birds will feed on the loose kernels. Hickory, buckeye, chestnut, and oak trees are all good sheltering places for the birds.

If you want to know more about the importance of birds in your garden, read what do birds do for us.

Bird-friendly plants

1 Pink Dogwood Tree 8-16Pink Dogwood Tree1 Pink Dogwood Tree 8-16Delicious & Sweet & Tasty Fruit Bearing Red Mulberry Tree 2-3' Tall Potted PlantFruit Bearing Red Mulberry TreeDelicious & Sweet & Tasty Fruit Bearing Red Mulberry Tree 2-3' Tall Potted PlantDolgo Crabapple fruit tree seedling hardy crab apple tree LIVE PLANTDolgo Crabapple fruit tree seedlingDolgo Crabapple fruit tree seedling hardy crab apple tree LIVE PLANTRed Wall TM Virginia Creeper - Parthenocissus - Proven WinnerRed Wall Virginia CreeperRed Wall TM Virginia Creeper - Parthenocissus - Proven Winner

More ways to invite birds to your garden

While planting trees and shrubs is a great beginning, birds will need more to stick around. Here’s a list of ways to attract them to your backyard:

  • have a source of water. It can be a bird bath, a small pond, or a waterfall
  • create nesting areas
  • plant some insect-friendly plants
  • avoid pesticides

Now you’re more equipped to create a beneficial garden for the birds and enjoy their chatter all year long.

How to create a garden for the birds - Pinterest image

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Adriana Copaceanu is a passionate nature lover living in the country on her dream property where she grows vegetables, lavender, and wildflowers that she shares with the wildlife they attract. When she's not in the garden, she loves spending time with her chickens and planning her next nature project. Check out her books below:

How to Grow Lavender for Fun and Profit: Lessons Learned from Planting Three Hundred Lavender Plants

How to Raise Chickens for Eggs: A Guide to Raising Happy, Healthy Chickens for Nutritious, Organic Eggs at Home

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