Here in the Maritimes, a backyard full of birds is like a dream come true. Nova Scotia is home to a wide variety of unique species, and sharing your garden with them up close and personal can be a truly rewarding experience. From a colour perspective alone, species like the Cedar Waxwing, which sports muted yellow feathers, or the Downy Woodpecker with its distinct red head will visually complement any arrangement of flowers in your garden.
However, birds can be finicky by nature, and like all of the wildlife we talk about bringing into your garden, appealing to the specific tastes of the species you’re looking for is the ticket. Take some time to research your species of choice, and reference these four tips when it comes time to get started on your bird-friendly backyard.
Focus on what you’ve got. Many of us have high aspirations, but when it comes to bringing some of the rarer breeds into your garden it’s important to remember that base populations matter to birds. Wild birds prefer to eat together, and will be more likely to investigate your space if it’s a ‘popular hangout’. The next time you’re strolling through your garden, take a note of the visitors. They can provide a clear plan for which starter seeds and feeders you should invest in. As more birds and species arrive later on, you can adjust accordingly.
Don’t break the bank. Having every type of feeder and seed in your yard may seem like an easy win, but if you’re unsure of which birds are native to your area or even your neighborhood, your time spent may not yield a return in avian guests. For feeders, start small; a simple tube feeder is almost always a safe bet. Tip: make sure to buy one that is durable enough for the winter and inoperable by the pesky squirrels in your neighbourhood.
Sunflowers are your friend. Cardinals, finches, nuthatches, blue jays – the list of birds that eat sunflower seeds is a long one indeed. You can even grow sunflowers in your garden and let the birds feed off the heads! We would recommend the Giant Mammoth Russian variety, due to their large size and sturdiness. The sunflower is the bread and butter of the bird world, and a great way to attract winged friends of all shapes and sizes.
Birdbaths. When it comes to bringing birds to your garden, water is just as important as seeds. A bird bath is a great way to provide your new guests with a place to drink and clean themselves, and will give your backyard an edge over other feeding grounds. Make sure to mind its state, keeping it clean and freshly watered. By the way, if you have outdoor cats, do the birds a lifesaving favour and position the bath away from bushes and ferns, or place a fence around it.
Transforming your garden into a paradise for birds will require patience. It may be a time investment, but the payoff is certainly worth the wait. Head over to our store in Halifax for a full assortment of bird seed, feeders and houses. Happy gardening!