How to Make Your Property a Bird Sanctuary

Fill your yard with a quality habitat for healthy birds by making a few simple changes so you can give them a home.

| September/October 2019

BirdSanctuary
Photo by Rvo233

Our homes are sanctuaries. They contain all the things we need to survive: food, water, shelter, and safety. Birds look to meet these same needs with their homes. While these basic requirements may seem easy enough to obtain, think about the last time you saw a bird loafing around. When you see birds, chances are they’re gathering food, making a nest, feeding a young one, drinking water, or fleeing from danger. Survival is hard for birds, and we can all do a little more to help them out. To start, we can design our homes and properties to be bird sanctuaries. By designing your property to help provide birds’ basic needs, you can enjoy more birds without leaving your home.

A Bug Buffet

Birds eat a lot. Their lightweight yet powerful bodies require immense amounts of calories to fly, forage, feed offspring, and keep themselves out of harm’s way. Many bird lovers install feeders in their yards to provide some easily accessible calories. Feeders are a great way to support birds when they’re properly placed and cleaned regularly. However, they should be treated as supplements, not replacements, for the vital food resources that native habitat provides.

While feeders are great food resources for seed-eating songbirds, 96 percent of all nesting songbirds need insects to successfully raise their young. Superfoods, such as butterfly and moth larvae, can only be found on plants, particularly native plants. In the United States, native plants are any that were present prior to European settlement. These are plants that’ve been growing in your local soil for thousands of years. Insects can detect native plants and lay their eggs on them. When these eggs hatch, birds go crazy for the tasty caterpillars. Because of this relationship between birds, native plants, and insects, adding a native plant garden to your property will do a lot for all birds that decide to visit your home.



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In addition to insect meals during nesting season, native plants often provide vital berries, nuts, and seeds that birds will utilize during migration and throughout the winter. Several species of native plants with fruit-bearing branches, such as winterberry in the Midwest and Northeast, are adapted to improve in flavor after several frosts. Berries still cling to branches after severe snowstorms, providing valuable nourishment to birds, such as cedar waxwings, American robins, and northern mockingbirds, when other food resources can
be scarce.

chaemeleo
9/6/2019 8:00:35 AM

I have an easier way. Step 1. Plant a tree. Step 2. Park under the tree. Boom, birds galore!







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