Are you Feeding The Birds?

It’s another cold, icy, winter day here in the Northeast. If you created a bird-friendly habitat back when you did your initial landscaping, you should be seeing the rewards of that effort. Providing layers and different habitats for birds will help to attract birds to your yard. Of course, bird feeders are another way to attract birds. Now is not the time to be outside planting, but it’s never too early to plan! With that in mind, here are some ideas to keep in mind to create a bird-friendly landscape – who knows, next year at this time you could be watching the birds during a snow storm…


Creating a variety of habitats will greatly increase the chances of birds visiting your yard. The wood thrush and the ovenbird (a warbler) like to nest low to the ground in protected areas while other birds such as phoebes and swallows will nest in and around buildings. Birds can also be cavity nesters. These birds require either a natural cavity in a tree or a man made nest box. Some examples of cavity nesters are chickadees, blue birds, woodpeckers, wood ducks, house wrens and tree swallows (A word of caution: do not keep trees with large cavities near playsets or dwellings without first contacting an Arborist). Mourning doves prefer to nest on the flat branches of spruce trees.

Some good tree and shrub species:

  • Birch – seeds are attractive to goldfinch and red poll
  • Wild cherry – since this tree fruits early it provides a valuable food source and may help to protect nearby orchard cherries from being eaten
  • Butterfly bush – most any perennial with attractive flowers will attract birds (check your local guidelines, some municipalities consider this an invasive species)
  • Holly – red berries preferred by kingbird and hermit thrush among others
  • Vibernum – fruit is a good food source
  • Crabapple – very attractive as a fall and winter food source
  • Hemlock – low spreading branches afford shelter for ground nesting birds and the seeds attract chickadees and grouse
  • Red Cedar (Juniper)  – dense evergreen foliage provides cover. The fruit is eaten by robins, bluebirds, cedar waxwings, mockingbird among others
  • Dogwood – the fruit is eaten as a fall/winter food by  song sparrow, thrush and catbird
  • Shadbush (Amelenchier spp.) – fruit is eaten by orioles, veery (a thrush) and robins
  • Elderberry – the fruit is very attractive to birds
  • Hackberry – an excellent tree and good food source
  • Mountain ash – favored by waxwings, catbird, orioles and others
  • Norway spruce – a good nesting site and the seeds are eaten by purple finch, chickadee and pine siskin
  • Oaks – provide excellent nesting sites, favored by woodpeckers and jays
  • Others include Alder, maple, persimmon, redbud, white pine and sweetgum.
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One Response to Are you Feeding The Birds?

  1. Pingback: How to care for a bird | The-Animal-Care.Net

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