Gardening for the Birds
Natural pest control is just one of the benefits that birds can bring to your garden. By creating your own backyard bird haven, you’ll enjoy an ever-changing spectacle of melodious sound, graceful movement and lively color. Plus, their antics provide hours of entertainment. To attract a wide variety of birds, you must provide the right environment. Do so and your yard and garden will become the favorite destination for a wide variety of wildlife. Trees, buses and shrubs will give nesting sites. We have a pair of doves that have been coming back year after year to nest in a corner of the wisteria for at least six years. I can hear them calling each other outside the window as I type this.
Providing a place birds can feel safe from predators is step one. Recycled and readily available kitchen snacks combined with staples in the pantry are all you’ll need to make our fine feathered friends feel welcome is step two. In addition to seed-filled feeders, you can also provide fresh, environmentally-friendly meals by recycling kitchen leftovers into tasty treats.
Here are some of our favorite avian snacks and ways to prepare them:
Apples – For a sweet snack birds love, simply slice an apple into bits and serve, ensuring all seeds have been removed.
Bananas – Peel and slice lengthwise into two or more strips for cardinals, catbirds, jays and other fans to munch on.
Cheese – Brown thrashers and Carolina wrens especially enjoy hard cheeses that are free of any mold and diced into chunks. Do not use soft cheeses.
Eggshells – Scrambled eggs for breakfast? Rinse off any residue and bake at 250 degrees for 15 minutes. Crush and serve with some seed for a great source of calcium that all birds love. Swallows and purple martins are especially attracted to this.
Pasta – Bite sized bits of plain cooked pasta are favorites of red bellied woodpeckers and blue jays and red-bellied woodpeckers
Peanut butter – A dollop of peanut butter is a feathered favorite, which can be spread over a pine cone for easy consumption.
Squash and melon seeds – Cardinals and tufted titmice especially enjoy roasted pumpkin and other seeds for their meal.
Raisins – Mockingbirds, orioles, bluebirds and many others love raisins, which can be softened by soaking in warm water. These can be stuck on the pine cones covered with peanut butter for a avian banquet!
Do you have some secret recipes for our fine feathered friends you’d like to share for the celebration of spring? How do you garden for the birds?