Inviting Birds to Your Garden

Inviting Birds to Your Garden

The first step in inviting birds to your garden is to look at your yard from a bird’s point of view.

If you took a bird’s eye view of your garden, do you have elements that would be appealing to wildlife? Is there a dying tree or wood that has knotholes that could be converted into a home for a bird family? Would that pile of brush you’ve wanted to dispose of make a good place to build a nest and provide shelter?

Taking time to identify the habitat that already exists in your yard is the first step in creating a bird-friendly environment.

Birds need gardens as much as gardeners need birds. If you can provide some basic bird needs, they will help keep the insect population down around your home. A single bird is known to munch on 500 to 1,000 insects in just one afternoon.

By providing a few basic needs for your fine-feathered friends, they will reward you with beautiful songs and flight throughout your yard.

Food, water, shelter, and a place to raise a family are all they need:

  • Food – Every type of bird likes a different combination of food, but to attract the most birds to your garden offer millet and black oil sunflower seeds. Beef suet should be added in the winter so a bird’s body can maintain heat in the cold weather. Woodpeckers especially like this winter treat. Plant shrubs, trees, and other plants that produce nuts, berries, fruits, and seeds whenever possible.  You can find dried mealworms, black oil sunflower seeds and suet cakes in the Gift Shoppe at Wingard’s.
    • Here is a list of the most common local birds to South Carolina and their favorite meals:
      • Indigo Buntings enjoy a mix of nyjer thistle seed and sunflower chips.
      • Bluejays will belly up to the bar for black-oil sunflower seeds or peanuts.
      • Mockingbirds will not stop to sing you a song unless they see suet or dried fruit.
      • Rosefinches will visit you all year long if you offer sunflower or nyjer seeds.
      • Goldfinches will brighten your day if you supply sunflower or nyjer seeds.
      • Cardinals enjoy sunflower seeds and finely cracked corn.
      • Chickadees will sing for oil-type sunflower, cracked nutmeats, and suet.
      • Eastern Bluebirds are typically insect eaters but when food is scare they like small peanut and sunflower kernels as well as suet.
      • Mourning Doves will meet at your feeder, usually in pairs, if provided an oil-type sunflower seed, milo, finely cracked corn, canary seed, hulled oats, or millet.
      • Woodpeckers will scout your yard for suet and sunflower seeds.
  • Water – The relaxing sound of moving water will grab a bird’s attention. Elevate your birdbath to protect it from cats and other predators. The ideal water source should be at least 3 inches deep and three feet off the ground. Use a heated birdbath in winter to avoid freezing. And a battery powered “water wiggler” will keep the water flowing all year long.
  • Shelter – Birdhouses explicitly built for the type of birds you want to attract is always ideal, but cover and housing can be provided in many forms throughout your yard. Dense shrubs, dead logs, brush piles, pine trees and even tall grass can provide protected shelter for your flying friends. All birds don’t like to be exposed to open areas where predators can attack and will look for protected areas where they can perch and escape quickly. In the Gift Shoppe at Wingard’s, we have decorative bird houses as well as simple functional ones, and birdhouses that are good for bluebirds, wrens and chickadees.
  • Nesting – Each species of bird has different requirements for nesting. Adding ready-made bird houses to your yard is the perfect place to start with providing a secure place for them to raise their young. You can also provide bits of soft material for lining the nests. We carry appropriate materials that you can hang outside for the birds to use.
  • Planting for Birds – Creating a backyard with a variety of plants that birds love will ensure a steady food supply and shelter for years to come.
    • Here are some of the most common bird loving plants and trees you can find in our garden center to add to your yard:
      • TREES: Crabapple, Dogwood, Persimmon, Wax Myrtle, Birch, Willow
      • SHRUBS/VINES/GRASSES: Mahonia, Barberry, Blueberry, Hawthorn, Honeysuckle, Holly, Pyracantha, Rose, Viburnum, Juniper, Fountain grass, Camellia, Nandina, Beautyberry, Boxwood
      • PERENNIALS/ANNUALS:   Phlox, Marigold, Sedum, Sunflowers, Yarrow, Zinnia, Red Hot Poker, Redbud, Bee Balm, Black-eyed Susan, Blanket Flower, Coral Bells, Coreopsis, Salvia, Cone Flower.
      • Concentrate on planting a variety of native plants that do well in South Carolina gardens and are bird friendly.

Here are just a few of the many products you can find in our Wildlife Room in the Gift Shoppe at Wingard’s Market.

bird supplies

More tips for attracting birds
It can take time to attract birds to your yard even after you have provided some of their basic needs.

Here are some additional tips:

  • Keep grassy areas of your lawn trimmed to allow for insect loving birds to feed easily.
  • Prepare your yard year-round to accommodate migrating birds.
  • Keep cats and other bird predators away from bird feeders and houses.
  • Provide ample perches and stopping points around your feeders for easy access.

Patience is required when inviting birds to your yard, but once they have become accustomed to your surrounding, they will provide you hours of enjoyment for years to come.

Here at Wingard’s Market we specialize in providing outstanding customer service, offer professional gardening advice, and answers to your every day gardening questions.  Stop by and visit our beautiful Gift Shoppe, Fresh Produce Market, and take a stroll under century-old pecan trees through our Garden Wonderland!

Located at 1403 North Lake Drive in Lexington, SC. Call us at (803) 359-9091