Make Your Garden a Bird Habitat

You can make your yard and garden irresistible with a bird habitat and enjoy natural pest control.

| June/July 2001

In just one afternoon, thousands of unwanted bugs vanished from my garden. All I had to do was sit and watch from the comfort of my garden chair as a returning band of hungry swallows dove through the air to snatch up one pest insect after another. In fact, a single swallow can easily devour hundreds of bugs in a single afternoon feast.

Turning our 8,000-square-foot garden into an inviting bird habitat has been beneficial in many ways. Their acrobatics while catching bugs on the wing are fun to watch, and their ceaseless snacking has been a great form of natural insect control. Actually, many species of birds, such as warblers and wrens, dine almost exclusively on insects. Others enjoy a varied diet consisting of seeds and fruits to augment the steady insect diet. Even hummingbirds are known to snack on small insects such as aphids.

Natural pest control is just one of the benefits that birds can bring to your garden. By creating your own backyard bird haven, you'll enjoy an ever-changing spectacle of melodious sound, graceful movement and lively color. Plus, their antics provide hours of entertainment. To attract a wide variety of birds, you must provide the right environment. Do so and your yard and garden will become the favorite destination of any manner of bird.

Creating a bird-friendly habitat is a bit of a no-brainer. Simply provide the backyard basics — fine creature comforts we all need for survival: food, water, protective cover, and a cozy shelter in which to raise a family.

Plant a Bird-Friendly Habitat

It's no secret that birds aren't attracted to bare yards. Most experts agree that to attract a variety of beneficial birds to your garden, you need to create a multilayered canopy of plants, trees, vines and shrubs that offer a complete package of food, shelter and nesting sites. Simply put, the more plants you have, the more birds you'll have.

Nearby trees, vines and shrubs provide a place where birds can hide from predators or take cover from harsh weather, as well as a cozy spot to settle in for the night. Likewise, many of these plants also provide a bounty of seeds, fruits, nuts and nectar as well as plant-munching caterpillars and other insects that birds love to eat. This way, you'll also be creating a multilevel buffet for a variety of birds, whether they feed on the ground, in trees and bushes, or in the air.

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