Lucky for us, we’ve been snuggly warm indoors this winter. Through our window though, we’ve watched little birds perched in our crab apple trees. They sit all fluffed up trying to keep warm and nourished in the freezing temps and endless wind chills. I’ve not been able to shake the concern I’ve felt for the poor critters. So, as we’re putting our gardening plans and goals into place for the year, we’ve decided to include planting a garden for birds.
Do A Flyover
To plan this garden for the birds, we’ve pretended to be birds ourselves. It’s a pretty fun game. We’ve thought about what we birds would want in a home if we were doing a little flyover. We’ve tried to imagine what it would be like to spot a cozy little birdhouse. Or how great a pool of thawed water would be to drink. We thought about how boring crab apples would be to eat. Every. Single. Day. With that motivation, we started poring over our seed catalogues during the middle of the latest snow squall and came up with a list of must-haves for our tiny feathered friends.
Make a Survival List
First on the list for our birds was a new tree. We decided that we’ll plant an evergreen on the southeast side of our yard. It’s a warm and sheltered place compared to the northern and western areas of the yard. The density of the evergreen’s needles and branches will provide shelter and protection for our birdie friends. Other small shrubs, bushes, and trees can be used for the same purposes, and we have several already.
The additions we’ll make to our flower garden includes sunflowers. Sunflowers are bird friendly, kid friendly, and their big happy faces are just all around, well, friendly. They’re fun to grow, and they make a lovely display in the garden for awhile each summer. In the end, those big, bright flowers become a seed feast for birds when dried just in time for the long winter. Sunflowers are friends AND food.
We’ll plant coneflowers along with our sunflowers. The purple coneflowers will not only compliment the yellow nicely, but they will make a delicious cold weather snack for the birds. Additional flowers that we can enjoy along with our feathered friends are bachelor buttons, black eyed Susan’s, salvia and poppies. These flowers will all dry and become seedy little morsels. We’re glad to learn that some of the perennials we already have serve the needs of our birds along with those crab apples.
In addition to the new plants we’ll introduce to the garden, we have plans to round everything out for the birds. As a decoration in our garden, we have a bird bath that we will work on doing a better job keeping filled and ice free this year. We also supplement our home grown gifts of nutrition with some homemade treats. For Valentine’s Day, we made bird feeders. We gathered pinecones from our pine trees and smothered them with peanut butter. Next, we rolled them in birdseed. Then we hung these fatty, protein-rich feeders in the crab apple trees to give the birds a mid-winter calorie boost.
A Luxury Tweet
Finally, we plan to build a roosting box near the crabapple trees and other seed sources. Our hope is that our feathery friends will feel almost as warm and snuggly as we feel in our own home when the weather outside is frightful.
Now that our plans are in place, we still have one problem to overcome. Sometimes, our eager birdie friends have snatched the seeds we’ve planted right out of the ground at planting time. We need to curb their appetite in the springtime, too. So, we’re going to provide a couple of consistently filled feeders in the garden. We’ll make them available to help our birdie friends overcome their tendency for immediate gratification in hopes of germination of those delish sunflower heads that will reward them down the road. How do YOU grow a garden for the birds? Let us know! And, if you’re looking for a birdbath de-icer, the link below will lead you to the top-rated version available on Amazon for a little over $40.