Being landscape designers and contractors, sometimes when we are building a water garden for a client, the birds start coming before we can even get through with it. The sound of running water will attract birds from miles away. Then when we add the landscaping to the water feature it is like a magnet for all the birds, frogs, dragonflies, butterflies, etc. You just have to add the fish and everything else just comes on it's own. Like I said "If you build it they will come."
Birdscaping is setting up your landscape habitat to welcome birds into your garden, including rest places for migrating birds, safe spots for breeding birds to raise their babies, and food and shelter for winter birds. It is taking care of the basic needs of birds through your landscape choices. Birdscaping is more than putting up a bird feeder. Birds have adapted to eat the fruits, berries, seeds, and nuts of locally native plants, so make sure you use some of these in your garden.
To create habitats that birds will love, plant some native plants. The more natives you’ve got in your garden, the more birds you will see. It can be just that easy. A good place to start is to go to this link and look at all the native plants for Georgia 'Native Plants of Georgia'. There you will find so many plants that it will make your head spin. There is part one: trees and shrubs, part two: ferns, and part three: perennial flowers. Try to add plants that will provide fruits, nuts and berries throughout the year.
Of course birds have to have water. You can use a bird bath or almost anything that will hold water for them to drink out of. In our water gardens we always try to make some shallow and slow moving water areas in the stream with a log or limbs going down to that area of the stream and birds will use these places to drink and take a bath. If you use a bird bath you need to keep it clean and filled with clean water. If birds aren't drinking from your bird bath, it could mean that your
bird bath is too deep. If so, just add one or two stones that they can stand on where it will be very shallow and then you should have birds standing in line to use your bird bath.
Build a brush pile by stacking up fallen limbs, branches, sticks, and twigs that accumulate in your garden. Brush piles provide great hiding places and shelter for birds. If you have a place on your property where it would be safe to leave a dead tree then please do so, these will attract woodpeckers which make new holes every year and other birds use them years later. Birdhouses are not necessary but are fun to have, and I always get a thrill out of seeing a bird use a birdhouse I have provided.
Statistics say 70 percent of gardeners feed wild birds.
What’s the favorite food at your backyard feeder? Without a doubt it is black oil sunflower seeds, cardinals are attracted to sunflower seeds and finches to thistle seed. If you want to attract a variety of birds use a blend of seed containing milo, millet, sunflower seed and cracked corn. Birds will then come and pick out their favorite seed. Suet is also good for attracting birds, especially the nuthatches and woodpeckers and provides them with oil necessary for winter. Plant some sunflowers in your garden and when the seeds are ready you will see the birds feeding on the heads of the sunflowers. It is such fun watching the birds take turns flying to the sunflowers and picking the seeds one at a time. Watch carefully and you will see that different types of birds come to you feeders at different times of the day to feed. Just watch your feeders and pay attention to which birds are coming when and you will see what I mean.
When you start feeding birds you start watching birds. When we see a new bird at our feeders for the first time, we want to know what type it is and where it came from. It can be surprising to find out how far these birds have traveled to get to your backyard. Go to and use Audubon Bird Identification Bird watching is the the second most popular hobby in recent surveys, right after gardening and before sports. I know, that's hard to believe!
Placement of feeders is important for the bird's safety. Locate it somewhere that will offer an escape route if a predator appears, but please be aware of windows. Windows can be a birds worst enemy, so do what you can to prevent collisions.
How do you attracting birds to your garden?