Gardening for the birds in the winter means sometimes breaking your own rules. The picture above shows my garden this morning after a lovely eight-inch snowfall last night. The ground was covered with powdery snow, and the poor birds had trouble feeding on grass and weed seeds in the fields. But because I had forgotten to deadhead (trim) the perennials in my flower garden, the little chickadees, junkos and sparrows found plenty to eat. They were devouring the seeds; I’m glad for a change that I didn’t go crazy cutting back the perennials this winter.
Now is the time to put out your bird feeders if you haven’t done so already. Part of gardening for the birds is creating a happy habitat that welcomes birds of all sorts to your yard. Various seed feeders in different shapes provide appealing feeding stations for many bird species; suet feeders attract flickers, woodpeckers and others. And although some bird experts recommend purchasing containers of mealy worms at the pet shop or bait store and placing them in a tray for bluebirds to snack on, I draw the line at that. I may have written a book called Attract Birds to Your Garden, but putting out trays of worms when they can be used elsewhere in the garden? Unthinkable!
If you’re tired of being stuck indoors this winter, and you want to liven up your garden, hang some bird feeders today. A few great websites to help you learn more about bird watching and attracting birds to your garden include:
- Birds & Blooms – I like this article on the Dos and Don’ts of Bird Watching in the Field
- Some ideas from Rodale press to make a simple bird habitat in any sized yard.
- National Geographic’s Song Bird Identification
- The wonderful Cornell Lab of Ornithology, for bird identification, bird song and more.