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Gardening For Birds

What a cruel trick the weather is playing on us.


A bit depressing for us outdoor types.

Yet, what better time to cheer myself up by writing to you.

Karen is in the kitchen right now.

Pookie (Putta) is leaning on me while I give him some attention.

Who knows where the cats are.

Yolonda is in her room folding cloths for her mom.

The feeders are busier right now with the nasty weather, too bad the windowsare closed again.

Some good news for me............. my mom is back in her apartment aftera few weeks in the hospital and therapy.

I'm a mama's boy so that was a bit taxing on me.

Last week I told you about the yard where I grew up.

My dad passed away 20 years ago, but my mom kept the "Ole Homestead"for another 15 years.

With her kids busy raising families of their own, the yard didn't receive a lotof attention. Yet, the yard and wildlife flourished.

Mom added a humming bird garden off the back patio and would sit out thereon milder days and summer evenings and watch her little jewels.

Her birds would hardly flinch when we moved.

When filling her feeders, as soon as I turned my back the birds would show as fast as they left.

A small wooded area sat about 75 yards from our house. I believe the yardbecame an extension of the woods. As things grew, so did the collection of birds and wildlife.


Remember, where you live makes a difference in what you can plant and thevarieties of birds you will attract.

However, planting for birds will double the number of birds coming to your yard.

Here is a small list of trees for birds: Attracting Birds: Trees

Native trees work best, though not a total requirement. Some introduced specimens have been around long enough that plants and birds have adapted.

Look for trees that are zone hardy where you live.

Here is a zone map from USDA for North America:National Arboretum - USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map

If you need some help, talk to your local garden center or better yet - a Certified Nurseryman in your area.

Speak with a professional who can assist in planting guidelines and requirements; such as sun or shade, will a tree tolerate wet feet.

What about fertilizer?


It's a nice day today, how about you and I go for a walk in a local park witha wooded area or find us an Arboretum.

Do you notice the canopies of the trees?

Do you see the brakes in the shaded areas?

The lower growing trees and shrubs.

Do you see the varieties of ground cover and under brush?

The wild flowers in bloom today are food tomorrow.

Can you hear the birds singing in the trees?

Did you notice the chickadee following us as we went down the trail?

I enjoyed this walk with you.

Let's do this again a few more times. Every couple of months just to see whatnature is offering the birds.


Remember, now, to start with what you have.

Make your current trees and shrubs a focal point for now.

Backyard habitats take time and are years in the making.

Do what your budget, time, and body will allow.

This is a very important point, so let me say it again here:

"Do what your budget, time, and body will allow."

You'll experience the most joy backyard birding if you use this approach.

Also, look for sales.

Do any of your friends have snips of bushes you could root?

How about a family member or friend that has a few extra trees growing in a field?

Ask if you could dig some up.

Explain what you plan to do.

Remember, it is illegal to dig up any wild trees or flowers on public or private land without permission first.

Make a list of what you have and don't have.

Make another list of what you would like to plant for your new birdscape.

You might even mention to your neighbors what you plan on doing and dare suggest it become a neighborhood event.

I get excited talking to you about birds and nature.

Wouldn't it be nice to give back what we get from our surroundings?

Until next time my friend.

Have a blessed week and always SMILE.


Ronald Patterson is an avid backyard birder, going back 40plus years. Ron and his wife Karen owned a wildbird specialty store through much of the 90's and through 2001. Ron is also a Michigan Certified Nurseryman. This aids in giving expert advice on birds and what to plant to attract wildbirds to your yard.

Ron's newsletter:
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