by Amanda Rose Newton
Temperatures are rising. The birds and bees are chirping and buzzing. Spring is nearly here!
Florida is one of the top 3 “birdiest” states in the United States according to the Birdist (a great resource for bird aficionados), which is not surprising given our vacation-esque temperatures and ecosystems. Transplants are called “snowbirds” for a reason, after all.
It’s surprisingly easy to entice these winged wonders to your landscape with a few simple tweaks. As gardeners, you already have a “wing up” as plants are a key requirement to creating a bird paradise.
1. Embrace “Birdscaping”
Birds, like all animals (and plants for that matter), have specific likes and dislikes when it comes to mealtime.
Birdscaping — the art and science of designing a landscape preferable to birds — does not just include snacks. It also factors in the importance of adding natural resting places like trees and shrubs for them to perch and shelter.
Native plant life in particular is ideal as many birds recognize these as preferred places for raising young and escaping predators.
If you have water gardens, adding additional foliage will increase the likelihood of them using it as a water source as they are protected from view.
2. Greet Birds with a Beverage
Water is required for the proper daily function of all organisms, including birds.
By offering up a water source, you will naturally draw birds (as well as other wildlife) to your yard. Birdbaths in particular are useful for more than just bathing!
Take a close look next time a bird is going for a swim. It is likely using this opportunity to take a drink as well. Even if you do not have the space for a birdbath, you can easily add a saucer of water with pebbles to provide this important resource.
3. Eye-Catching Color
Birds (and bees, for that matter) are not given enough credit for their stellar eyesight! Due to birds’ long-standing relationship with plants — many of which require bird pollination — certain plants are colored the way they are for a reason.
Planting bird-friendly plants is an easy way to ensure they make a pit stop in your yard. Take on a bird’s eye view perspective; the brighter the color, the easier it is to see from above.
Hint: Hummingbird feeders are red for a reason, this happens to be a color all birds can see!
Favorite trees and plants for Birds
Native Firebush- Hamelia patens
Tropical Sage- Salvia coccinea
Hibiscus: Hibiscus coccineus
Indian Blanket Flower- Gaillardia pulchella
Coral Bean- Erythina herbacea
Cigar Plant- Cuphea ignata
Firecracker- Russelia equisetiformis
Pentas- Pentas lanceolata
Zinnias- Zinnia spp.
4. Don’t Forget the Snacks!
Food is next on the list for birds. Just like with flowers, the brighter the color the better!
In addition to beautiful berries, letting your plants go to seed provides a high density of nutrients in a tiny package perfect for active birds. It also gives you an excuse to be less diligent in your yard care. In this case, yard care is definitely for the birds!
Here are a few attractive berry producers to add to the landscape:
Yaupon Holly- Ilex vomitoria
Simpson Stopper- Myricanthes fragrans
Birds are naturally programmed to go after seed-producing plants, so choosing native plants will always be your best bet.
5. Consider the Big Picture
While birdhouses and feeders are also a great addition to the yard, nothing can replace the diversity and safety offered in a thriving ecosystem. Whether you are trying to attract birds, mammals, bees, beneficial bugs, or just keep your places looking their finest, mimicking their natural environment is always going to generate the best results.
Plants, the soil, and animals all rely on each other to live their best life, and fostering their basic needs means a beautiful landscape for you. A functional landscape will also provide ongoing diversity and enjoyment for years to come.
As you put together your dream birdscape, be sure to check out our expansive inventory including everything you need from birdbaths to eye-catching flora.