Connecting to birds and wildlife is one of the greatest benefits of gardening. Fall and winter are perfect times to witness these connections in your own yard. Birdfeeders are great-but supplement them by creating a habitat to invite more (and happier) birds. Here are three tips:
* Have you planted any native perennials this year? There are many that offer favorite winter foods for our feathered friends including one of our favorites, the Cup Plant, Native and cultivated varieties of Coneflowers, Coreopsis, Black-eyed Susans, and Ornamental Grasses are also loaded with birdseed now. Allow these perennials to stand until spring – they will attract local and migrating songbirds. This simple gesture can maintain an important link between plant and wildlife. (Plus it benefits your hard work AND delays some of your fall cleanup!)
* The second winter bird attractor is having plenty of shrubs and trees around that produce berries. Try to add to your landscape wonderful native plants such as Cranberry or Arrowood Biburnum, Ilex Winterberry, Aronia Chokeberry, Serviceberry, Hawthorne, and Flowering Crab Trees. Native plants provide food for the proper wildlife species at exactly the right time-because mother nature has figured it out over thousands of years.
* The final thing birds and other wildlife desperately need is evergreen protection from predators, winter winds, and to nest in come spring. Now is still an excellent time to plant evergreens. Norway Spruce and White Pine trees are perfect, but for smaller spaces plant Arborvitae or consider the 'Green Giant' Cedar. Planting an evergreen tree now would be a holiday gift for you and your feathered friends.