#2: Plant bird food. Choosing native plants, trees, and shrubs that attract birds will not only offer more food sources—thus keeping your bird seed bill down—but will also offer shelter for birds during harsh winter conditions. Planting trees also increases the value of your home, an added bonus. Bird-friendly plant choices will vary depending on where you live, but there are groups of plants that include species for almost every region of North America, Martin says. Here are some species to look for, just make sure they're native in your area:
Fruiting Trees and Shrubs
These will be attractive to bluebirds, waxwings, robins, catbirds, thrushes, and other fruit-loving birds.
1. Dogwoods (Cornus spp.)
2. Serviceberries (Amelanchier spp.)
Irresistible Seed-Producing Trees
These trees don't just provide shelter (year-round shelter, in the case of the conifers), they also boast a big supply of seeds that birds love.
1. Maples (Acer spp.)
2. Oaks (Quercus spp.)
3. Birches (Betula spp.)
4. Conifers (Pines, firs, spruce, junipers, and hemlocks)
#3: Customize feedings to attract your favorite winged visitors. Martin's book is a handy guide, providing bird-feeder menu options for different birds. For instance, the Eastern bluebird likes to eat pine nuts and mealworms, especially from a table feeder. Want to attract a yellow-bellied sapsucker? Try apple bits on an open tray. A red-breasted nuthatch can't resist suet and sunflower seeds, while a wild turkey might visit if you offer cracked corn on a ground feeder.
The bird-by-bird breakdown in Martin's book includes natural foods that each species enjoys, along with favored feeder types, feeder fill-up suggestions, and trees, shrubs, and plants to attract those varieties.
Published on: September 8, 2011