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How to design a beautiful garden that attracts birds

“Birds are good ecological indicators. If you have a diverse native bird population, it’s a sign that the ecosystem as a whole is healthy.” Convert your lawn to a beautiful, bird friendly garden. Biodiverse gardens provide the food niches, nesting sites, shelter, water, and safety that our native birds (and insects) need.

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How to design a beautiful garden that attracts birds

  1. 1. Gardening for the Andy Morffew, Flickr birds
  2. 2. What does a bird see? Jerry McFarland, Flickr
  3. 3. no food no water no place to hide from predators no shelter from storms no place to build a nest no insects to feed their young poisoned with chemicals lawns are largely useless to birds
  4. 4. Typical yards are wastelands
  5. 5. Hedera.baltica, Flickr Where have all the house sparrows gone?
  6. 6. Benjamin Smith, Flickr Where have all the insects gone?
  7. 7. Jason Eppink, Flickr 45%decline The Windshield Phenomenon
  8. 8. Keith Williams, Flickr Populations of many insect eaters have crashed
  9. 9. “Birds are good ecological indicators. If you have a diverse native bird population, it’s a sign that the ecosystem as a whole is healthy.” ~Douglas Tallamy Kelly Colgan Azar, Flickr
  10. 10. Your yard is an ecosystem
  11. 11. With tremendous potential
  12. 12. to make a difference
  13. 13. If designed for biodiversity
  14. 14. Erin Reed/Patterson Park Audubon Even in small spaces
  15. 15. Mick Thompson, Flickr Your garden can help save the birds
  16. 16. Mike Keeling, Flickr (and the bugs!)
  17. 17. Biodiverse habitats have feeding niches Chloe Lam, Cornell Lab of Ornithology
  18. 18. Aerial insectivore: eats insects while flying (swallows) Bark insectivore: eats insects on or behind bark (woodpeckers) Upper canopy insectivore: eats insects high in trees (warblers) Upper canopy grainivore: eats seeds high in trees (jays) Upper canopy frugivore: eats fruit high in trees (orioles) Lower canopy insectivore: eats insects in lower part of trees & shrubs (chickadees) Lower canopy grainivore: eats seeds in lower part of trees & shrubs (cardinals) Lower canopy frugivore: eats fruit in lower part of trees & shrubs (robins) Ground insectivore: eats insects on ground (blackbirds) Ground grainivore: eats seeds on ground (sparrows) Ground frugivore: eats fruit on ground (finches) Native Plant List for Breeding Birds, Credit Valley Conservation
  19. 19. Biodiverse habitats have nesting niches Kent McFarland, Ryan Keene, Orientalizing, Flickr
  20. 20. Biodiverse habitats are layered A Walk in the Woods Lesson Plan, Forest Nation
  21. 21. Biodiverse habitats maximize edges Image: Open University
  22. 22. Biodiverse habitats are designed with plant communities, not specimens Image: Dave Jacke, Edible Forest Gardens
  23. 23. monocultural wasteland biodiverse ecosystem
  24. 24. Learn about our ecosystem
  25. 25. The Frontenac Arch Biosphere Reserve Baffinpaddler
  26. 26. Guy Mayer, Flickr Mixed hardwood Great Lakes- St Lawrence forest
  27. 27. Nature Conservancy of Canada & A Birding Parent Limestone alvars of the Napanee Plain
  28. 28. Ecotone known as “The Land Between” Dennis Barnes & The Land Between
  29. 29. Design principles for biodiversity Design for four seasons At least three roles for each plant Plant densely using layers (in plant communities) instead of specimens Prioritize native plants Conserve and offer water Provide habitat for breeding Provide shelter & safety Maximize edges Create micro habitats See the beauty in biodiversity
  30. 30. Carolyn Lehrke, Flickr Design for four seasons
  31. 31. Flowering trees, food, water & shelter for spring migrants John Sutton, Flickr
  32. 32. Food, water and nesting sites for breeding birds in summer Chris Favero, Flickr
  33. 33. Berries, seeds, water, late blooms & leaf litter for fall migrants JanetandPhil, Flickr
  34. 34. Food, water and shelter for overwintering birds Wild Birds Unlimited
  35. 35. Colleen Preato, Flickr At least three roles for each plant
  36. 36. Mike Thompson, Flickr
  37. 37. fishhawk, Flickr
  38. 38. Lake and Wetland Ecosystems & Marilylle Soveran, Flickr
  39. 39. Vicky DeLoach, Tim Kearney, Flickr
  40. 40. Plant densely using layers
  41. 41. Canopy provides sense of permanence, structure, privacy
  42. 42. Understory adds texture, colour, scent and berries
  43. 43. Massed perennials weave everything together
  44. 44. Vines provid vertical interest as well as nectar, fruit & seeds
  45. 45. Groundcovers, grasses & sedges fill gaps
  46. 46. Funghi partner with plants m.shattock, Flickr
  47. 47. Conserve & offer water
  48. 48. Rain gardens collect water, provide food & offer shelter
  49. 49. Ponds offer a place for drinking, bathing & nesting
  50. 50. Bubble rocks (moving water) attract migrants Birds in the Yard
  51. 51. Prioritize native plants Martin LaBar, Flickr
  52. 52. Oak (Quercus) supports 534 species of caterpillars Maple (Acer) Canopy trees for nectar, nuts, seeds Lisa Culp, National Wildlife Photo Contest & Michael Klotz, Flickr
  53. 53. Black cherry (Prunus serotina) supports 456 species of caterpillar Spruce & pine (Picea & Pinus) As well as fruit and insects Wendy Cutler & Keith Williams, Flickr
  54. 54. Mountain ash (Sorbus americana) Crabapples (Malus species) Small trees for migrating birds Keith Williams & jeffreyw, Flickr
  55. 55. Mulberry (Morus rubra) Ironwood (Ostrya virginiana) Small trees for breeding birds Carolyn Lehrke & Kelly Colgan Azar, Flickr
  56. 56. Chokeberry (Aronia) Shrubs for migrating birds Spicebush (Lindera benzoin) Matthew Beziat & Tatters, Flickr
  57. 57. Dogwood (Cornus species) Shrubs for migrating birds Nannyberry & other Viburnum species Andrey Zharkikh & John Benson, Flickr
  58. 58. Pagoda dogwood (Cornus alternifolia) Serviceberries (Amelanchier species) Shrubs for breeding birds Mwms1916 & USFWS Mountain-Prairie, Flickr
  59. 59. Fragrant sumac (Rhus aromatica) Pussy willow (Salix discolor) Shrubs for breeding birds Mt. Cuba Center & Jolene Knapp, Flickr
  60. 60. Elderberry (Sambucus species) Wild black currant (Ribes americanum) Shrubs for breeding birds Gale & Dan Mullen, Flickr
  61. 61. Winterberry (Ilex verticillata) Northern bayberry (Myrica pensylvanica) Shrubs for winter Dee_dee_creamer & CAJC: in the Rockies, Flickr
  62. 62. Highbush cranberry (Viburnum opulus spp. trilobum) Staghorn sumac (Rhus typhina) Shrubs for winter Thomas Barta, Flickr & Bonnie Michell
  63. 63. Trumpet Honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens) Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) Vines for nectar & fruit BudOhio, Flickr
  64. 64. Riverbank grape (Vitis riparia) American Bittersweet (Celastrus scandens) Vines for nectar & fruit Miles Hearn, Flickr & Michael Q. Powell
  65. 65. And masses of densely planted perennials
  66. 66. Asters (Symphyotrichum species) Milkweed (Asclepias) Perennials for sun
  67. 67. Indian Blanket (Gaillardia)Globe thistle (Echinops sphaerocephalus) Perennials for sun
  68. 68. Lupins (Lupinus perennis) Coreopsis species Perennials for sun
  69. 69. Sunflowers (Helianthus species) Blue anise hyssop (Agastache foeniculum) Perennials for sun www.GlynLowe.com & Nèg Foto, Flickr
  70. 70. Beebalm (Monarda fistulosa) Perennials for part sun Black eyed susans (Rudbeckia species)
  71. 71. Joe pye weed (Eutrochium purpureum) Perennials for part sun Goldenrod (Solidago rugosa ‘Fireworks’) Vicki DeLoach, Flickr
  72. 72. Perennials for part sun Ironweed (Vernonia missurica) Vicki DeLoach, Flickr Purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)
  73. 73. Fringed bleeding heart (Dicentra eximia) Perennials for shade White wood aster (Eurybia divaricata) Carol Jacobs-Carre & Mets501, Wikipedia
  74. 74. Wild geranium (Geranium maculatum) Perennials for shade Wild columbine (Aquilegia canadensis) Vicki DeLoach & Rich Herrman, Flickr
  75. 75. Alumroot (Heuchera americana) Perennials for shade Solomon's seal (Polygonatum biflorum) Cliff Hutson & Shihmei Barger 舒詩玫, Flickr
  76. 76. Field pussytoes (Antennaria neglecta)Bearberry (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi) Groundcovers for sun John Rusk & Erutuon, Flickr
  77. 77. Barren strawberry (Waldsteinia fragarioides ) Groundcovers for shade Waldsteinia, Wikipedia & Joshua Mayer, Flickr Canada wild ginger (Asarum canadense)
  78. 78. Grasses for sun Little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium) Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum)
  79. 79. Grasses for sun Prairie dropseed (Sporobolus heterolepis) Canada wild rye (Elymus canadensis) K M & USFWS Mountain-Prairie, Flickr
  80. 80. Grasses for part shade Wild oats (Chasmanthium latifolium) Bottlebrush grass (Elymus hystrix) Danny Barron & Will Pollard, Flickr
  81. 81. Sedges for sun or part shade Gray’s sedge (Carex grayi) Plantain sedge (Carex plantaginea)
  82. 82. Provide habitat for breeding Matt Niemi, Flickr
  83. 83. Safe nesting sites Birds & Blooms
  84. 84. Nest building materials
  85. 85. Peter, Flickr GLLpmj, Flickr Eric Bégin, Flickr Vancouver Island BIrds Luann Carlson
  86. 86. Food for chicks Mark Levine-Clark, Flickr
  87. 87. 96% of birds feed their chicks insects coniferconifer, Flickr
  88. 88. Bluebirds: grasshoppers, crickets, beetles, larvae, moths Cardinals: beetles, grasshoppers, leafhoppers, stinkbugs, snails Chickadees: aphids, whitefly, scale, caterpillars, ants, earwigs Grosbeaks: larvae, caterpillars, beetles Nuthatches: tree and shrub insects such as borers, caterpillars, ants and earwigs Oriole: caterpillars, larvae, beetles, grasshoppers Sparrows: beetles, caterpillars, cutworms Swallows: moths, beetles, grasshoppers Titmice: aphids, leafhoppers, caterpillars, beetles Warblers: caterpillars, aphids, whitefly Woodpeckers: larvae, beetles, weevils, borers
  89. 89. To feed the birds, first feed the bugs
  90. 90. Provide shelter & safety Poronto's Birding Macomb Township and Beyond
  91. 91. Dense cover for protection from predators
  92. 92. Evergreens for shelter in storms Stephen Little, Flickr
  93. 93. Thickets & hedgerows are irresistible
  94. 94. Corridors offer safe passage
  95. 95. Consider the edge effect
  96. 96. Edges create ecotones with greater biodiversity
  97. 97. Use paths, patios and groundcovers to create low horizontal edges
  98. 98. Use walls, fences and trellises to create vertical edges
  99. 99. Design transitions from forest, to understory to meadow
  100. 100. Use curves to maximize edges
  101. 101. Create micro habitats Putneypics, Flickr
  102. 102. Ingrid Taylar, Flickr Dust baths for cleaning
  103. 103. Brush piles for shelter & foraging Dark-eyed Junco. Christine Haines, Great Backyard Bird Count
  104. 104. Leaf litter for foraging Elizabeth Fedorko
  105. 105. Stumps & snags for insects, shelter, nests
  106. 106. Stones for foraging. shelter...
  107. 107. and safe perches
  108. 108. Weed patch for nectar, seeds & insects
  109. 109. See the beauty in biodiversity
  110. 110. Kentish Plumber, Flickr
  111. 111. Adams, George. Gardening for the Birds: How to Create a Bird-Friendly Backyard. Timber Press. 2013. Birds & Blooms. Plants that Attract Birds in All Seasons. City of Guelph. Healthy Landscapes Plant List. Cornell Lab of Ornithology. The Best Trees, Vines, And Shrubs To Plant For Birds: A Starter List. Credit Valley Conservation. Native Plant List for Breeding Birds. Credit Valley Conservation. Native Plant List for Migrating Birds. Darke, Rick. The American Woodland Garden. Timber Press. 2002. Darke, Rick and Tallamy, Douglas. The Living Landscape. Tiimber Press. 2014. David, Sharon. Wildlife in My Backyard Part 1: Attracting Winter Birds and Bird Feeding. David, Sharon. Wildlife in My Backyard Part 2: Trees and Shrubs as Natural Food. Evergreen. Recommended Plant Lists ON - Mixedwood Plains. Fletcher Wildlife Garden. Creating a hedgerow for wildlife. Fletcher Wildlife Garden. Planting the urban landscape: Selected trees and shrubs for birds. Thomas, Christopher. Garden Revolution. Timber Press. 2016. References

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