Landscaping ... For the Birds (cont)
By: Lynn Ocone
Other Habitat Features
Dead Trees. Retain a standing dead tree if it's not in danger of falling. Snags, as they are called, provide nesting cavities for birds such as woodpeckers.
Ponds. In addition to providing water for birds, a small garden pond is excellent habitat for aquatic plants and other wildlife, including frogs and turtles. Locate the pond about 5 to 15 feet from protective cover.
Brush Piles. Birds and other wildlife will seek cover, food, and sometimes nesting places in a brush pile. Instead of hauling off your tree trimmings, create a brush pile (mixed with rocks and stones) in an out-of-sight corner of your property.
Meadows. A meadow of annual and perennial wildflowers, low-growing shrubs, and native grasses is a certain bird lure.
Some native grasses birds eagerly seek out for food and cover are bluestem (Andropogon), zones 4-10, depending on species; buffalo grass (Buchloe dactyloides), zones 3-9; northern sea oats (Chasmanthium latifolium), zones 5-9; switch grass (Panicum virgatum), zones 5-9; and Indian grass (Sorgastrum nutans), zones 4-9.
Birdfeeders & Baths. If you have space for just a few, place them in view from a window so you can enjoy the visitors. Locate them near trees or shrubs for cover.
The books listed below offer practical information on backyard birds and how to attract them.
An Illustrated Guide to Attracting Birds by the editors of Sunset Books and Sunset Magazine, 1990 (Sunset Publishing Corporation, Menlo Park CA 94025; $8). Includes bird identification, landscaping techniques, and plant lists as well as information on feeders, houses, and baths.
The Bird Garden by Stephen W. Kress, 1995 (Dorling Kindersley, New York, NY 10016; $25). Includes bird identification, landscaping techniques, and plant lists as well as information on feeders, houses, and baths.
Birdscaping Your Garden by George Adams, 1998 (Rodale Press, Inc., Emmaus, PA 18098; $30). Includes bird identification, landscaping techniques, and plant lists.
Gardening for Wildlife by Craig Tufts and Peter Loewer, 1995 (Rodale Press, Inc., Emmaus, PA 18908; $30). Provides information on creating habitat for birds and other wildlife.
Lynn Ocone is a freelance writer who gardens for birds in her Vermont backyard.
Photography by Steve Maslowski/USFWS