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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Gardening for Birds in the Fall

If you like to sit and watch the birds come to the feeders in your yard, we have a few gardening tips that will help you attract birds in the autumn.  In a few months we'll add gardening tips for attracting wintering birds as well.  By the time spring comes around, you will have a comprehensive list of plants to put in your garden that will extend your bird watching year round.  

Many of our native shrubs produce berries that are prevalent in the fall months.  These berries serve as great food for birds migrating through or the ones that will stay on through the winter months.  The following shrubs will attract a variety of birds to your yard next fall: elderberry (Sambucus sp.), cranberries and other native viburnums (Viburnum sp.), and dogwoods (Cornus sp.).

Think about adding these plants to your list for great fall color and food for insects, butterflies, and our avian friends:  asters (Aster sp.), joe pye weed (Eupatorium sp.), and goldenrods (Solidago sp.). 

As we had talked about earlier, remember not to cut the heads off of your healthy perennials during the late fall garden clean-up. These seed heads will be important food sources for birds once snow has covered the ground.  The taller plants will also offer the protection of cover for birds as they hide from predators.  Stay tuned for upcoming tips about keeping those birds around your backyard for the winter as well.  Start to make a list of birds that stop by your house, and then double check it against next year's list if you have made the suggested changes to your garden.  Happy gardening and birding!

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