How to Attract Birds to Your Garden
Step 1: Promote biodiversity in your garden
Step 2: Create hedgerows
Step 3: Plant trees and shrubs that attract birds
Step 4: Plant bird-friendly flowers
Step 5: Transform a corner of your garden into a wild meadow Step 6: Install a birdbath and birdhouses
Step 7: Feed the birds in winter
Birds are not only fascinating to observe, but they also act as active predators. They help control slugs, larvae, and other harmful insects, making them particularly beneficial in a vegetable garden.
To attract birds to your garden, you can fulfill their vital needs: shelter, nesting sites, food, and water. Follow our advice!
1. Promote biodiversity in your garden
To attract birds to your garden, it should be conducive to their presence:
- Your garden should have a wide variety of plants, including wild vegetation. This attracts the insects that birds and their nestlings feed on during the nesting season.
- Cultivate your garden without chemicals that could harm birds or destroy their food sources.
- Your garden should provide shelter for diverse wildlife.
To attract birds, promote biodiversity by creating a living environment where ecological balance can naturally thrive.
2. Create hedgerows
Hedgerows are the best way to provide birds with a safe refuge and a well-stocked pantry. A diverse hedgerow is more resistant to diseases and benefits both birds and beneficial wildlife.
- Prioritize regional plant species that birds are accustomed to.
- Choose shrubs that produce berries or small fruits that birds enjoy, such as bird cherry, elderberry, hawthorn, blackthorn, holly, wild cherry, pyracantha, etc.
- Plant alder trees, which attract tits, warblers, and siskins with their fruits.
- Plant hazelnut trees, appreciated by the Eurasian nuthatch for their fruits.
Important note: Avoid pruning trees or trimming hedges in spring or early summer to preserve bird nests. Ideally, cut them before the end of March.
3. Plant trees and shrubs that attract birds
You can attract birds to your garden by planting the following:
- Fruit trees and shrubs that specifically attract blackbirds and thrushes.
- Deciduous trees that produce acorns, beech nuts, samaras, or seeds, such as oak, beech, ash, birch, hornbeam, etc.
- Conifers that provide safe shelter and food for a variety of birds, including crossbills, hawfinches, redpolls, siskins, jays, nutcrackers, and finches: pine, spruce, larch, cypress, yew, and juniper. If you have a small garden, consider dwarf conifers.
4. Plant bird-friendly flowers
We often overlook the importance of flowers in birds’ plant environment. Here are some flowers that birds particularly enjoy:
- Among perennials, prioritize the following: yarrow, aster, centaury, echinacea, globe thistle, blanket flower, garden heliotrope, perennial flax, evening primrose, poppy, scabious, showy stonecrop, and thyme.
- Among annuals, sunflowers, cosmos, carnations, marigolds, and zinnias are favoured.
- Consider climbing plants, especially honeysuckle, whose berries are consumed by thrushes and warblers.
5. Transform a corner of your garden into a wild meadow
A wild meadow has certain characteristics:
- It attracts insects that birds love.
- Certain “weeds,” like thistles, clover, and dandelions, attract birds such as goldfinches. Therefore, let a wild meadow establish itself in the corner of your garden, including weeds and plants that naturally self-seed.
6. Install a birdbath and birdhouses
A small water feature is attractive to birds as they need water to survive during extreme cold or heat, and they will also come to bathe and preen themselves. When installing a birdbath, choose the following:
- A birdbath or fountain (both available commercially), ensuring it is elevated, especially if you have cats.
- An improvised water feature is a simple trash can lid or a flower pot saucer. Note: Change the water regularly and occasionally clean the birdbath with diluted bleach.
To encourage birds to settle in your garden, attract them by placing birdhouses you can purchase or make yourself. Install these birdhouses in sheltered locations away from strong winds, and avoid placing them too low to prevent attacks from dogs or cats.
7. Feed the birds in winter
During winter, birds have high energy requirements, while natural food resources are scarce. Set up feeding stations in your garden and fill them twice a day (morning and evening) with the following:
- Crushed dried fruits
- Vegetable margarine
Note: A varied and balanced diet is vital for the birds’ health.
Creating a bird-friendly garden is a rewarding endeavour. Promoting biodiversity and providing food, water, and shelter can attract various bird species to your yard. Embrace nature, avoid harmful chemicals, and appreciate the beauty and benefits that birds bring. Transform your garden into a haven for birds and enjoy the wonders of avian visitors throughout the year. Happy birdwatching!