Cleaning Up Your Own Backyard

5 Landscape Design Strategies For Creating A Bird Habitat In Your Yard

by Warren Garcia

If you're like many homeowners, the sight of your feathered friends fluttering among the trees and other vegetation in your yard is something that you enjoy. You probably also like listening to the unique music many songbirds make, especially during the spring and early summer when birds are looking for their mates. Perhaps you even have a bird feeder set up in your outdoor living space. However, you should know that bird feeders often aren't the best approach. Not only do they have the potential to attract rats, mice, raccoons, and even bears if you live in an area where wild bears are common, but roaming felines often stalk bird feeders seeking a convenient meal. 

Fortunately, it's not at all difficult for birds to get the food they need from wild sources. That doesn't mean you shouldn't plant self-seeding flowering plants that provide them with a seasonal food source or that you shouldn't put commercial birdseed out during a hard freeze in winter, but for the most part, it's not necessary to provide the birds in your yard with food. However, there are landscaping strategies that can help birds enjoy a good quality of life. Here are five of them.

Conifer Trees

Most bird species prefer conifer trees for roosting and nesting because they offer more protection than their deciduous counterparts. They also offer shelter from storms.

Native Grasses

Native grasses provide nesting materials and ground habitat to a wide variety of bird species. Some types also offer food sources if allowed to go to seed and may also provide habitats to certain insects that birds like to eat. 

Water Features

Birds need a reliable source of clean water in order to remain healthy. Too often, they're forced to drink from ditches and other small bodies of water that may be dirty. A birdbath that's situated high enough off the ground so that cats can't access the birds is an excellent way to provide them with the water that they need. 

Limited Lawns

Keep your lawn small or eliminate it altogether. You'll appreciate the savings on your water bill, and you won't be using lawn fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides that are toxic to birds.

Dead Trees

Leaving at least part of a dead tree on your property provides birds with protection and a nesting habitat. Naturally, you don't want a dead tree lying in the middle of your yard — this strategy only really works on the edges of a large yard where the cultivated space gradually blends into a nearby natural area. 

To add these things to your yard, contact a landscape contractor.