Feeding Your Backyard Birds: Part 2

Well, as much as kids love making bird feeders and watching birds eat.  Feeding birds from feeders can cause some problems.  First, it attracts LOTS of birds but also other animals that you many or many not want to have in your yard.  One year our neighbors thoroughly enjoyed watching the antics of a local squirrel as he outsmarted ALL of our attempts to keep him from eating all of the bird seed before the birds even got any.  He would literally chase the birds away.  Another year we had a super cute pocket gopher that found our feeder.  We thought he was adorable but the neighbors didn’t like the tunnels so they called animal control.  🙁

Feeding all of the local birds can get to be very expensive!  Now that we live in the country, our feeder is located by every migrating bird flock small enough to eat out of it.  We have gone through a 50 pound bag in a matter of days.

So I suggest that, if you have the room, plant a special garden for your little feathered friends.  Plant it where your family can enjoy watching the wildlife.  Kids of all ages love to plant things and watch them grow.  One year we simply planted strawberries in planters that attached to our deck railing.  The birds were very bold once the berries turned red.

Winter is the best time to start this project.  Begin by deciding to do it and figuring out where is the best location and how big it will be.  If you live somewhere warm enough you can even buy plants and plant them.  For those of us less fortunate, we have extra time to plan and dream about our gardens before the labor begins.  Once you’ve chosen the location and size, start researching what plants grow naturally in your area.  This is very important because the birds and other wildlife eat from those kinds of plants.  This part of the project makes an excellent science lesson.  You might like to take a trip to a local nature center or talk to someone in the Master’s Gardeners group in your area.  They can best direct you to the plants that will fit your location and space needs.  I suggest remembering to get plants that bloom at different times of the year so that you have flowers for those hummingbirds and butterflies as well as seeds for the other birds.  Also think of longevity when choosing plants. Annuals are fun and have lots of colors but perennials keep coming back year after year so your garden won’t have to be replanted each year.

So, the plants are chosen and now the weather is warming up.  One of my favorite times of year!  Spring!!!  It’s time to dig your garden.  Have fun digging and planting.  Remember to follow the planting and care instructions that come with your plants.  Try adding a bird bath to it if there’s room so that the birds have a drink.  Please remember not to bite off more than you can choose.  Maybe start small and add on a little each year.  That way it won’t be so overwhelming the first year that you desert it.

Good luck and enjoy your new garden!  Check back here as the seasons change.  I’ll be posting our Secret Garden/Honalee and veggie garden updates including pictures.