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How to attract birds to your garden

Don't you just love the sounds of birds chirping in the morning while sitting on your balcony, deck or patio with a cup of coffee? Watching them can quickly become a hobby and wanting to identify them by look, sound and behaviour is an adventure!

We often think that creating habitat for wildlife requires vast acreage, however, we can implement some of these tips within a very small space. Before you know it, you'll have a garden singing with happy birds!

Tips for attracting birds to your garden:

  1. Choose native plants: Native plants provide birds with the food and shelter they need to survive. Some great options for Ontario gardens include black-eyed susans, milkweed, coneflower, and asters.

  2. Provide a water source: Birds need water for drinking and bathing. Consider adding a birdbath or a small pond to your garden.

  3. Add bird feeders: A bird feeder can attract a variety of birds to your garden. Be sure to choose a feeder that is appropriate for the birds in your area.

  4. Create birdhouses: Building or purchasing a birdhouse can provide birds with a safe place to nest and raise their young. Make sure the birdhouse is the right size for the birds you want to attract.

  5. Use bird-friendly gardening practices: Avoid using pesticides and herbicides, which can be harmful to birds. Instead, use natural methods to control pests and weeds.

  6. Provide different levels of vegetation: Birds like to move between different levels of vegetation, such as tall trees and low bushes. Plant a variety of vegetation at different heights to create a diverse habitat.

If you are fortunate enough to have space for a tree in order to attract birds, consider these native Ontario varieties:

  1. White Pine (Pinus strobus): White pines provide excellent nesting and roosting sites for birds such as bald eagles, ospreys, and great horned owls. They also produce seeds that are an important food source for many bird species.

  2. Eastern Red Cedar (Juniperus virginiana): Eastern red cedars provide shelter and nesting sites for a variety of birds, including the cedar waxwing, eastern bluebird, and American robin. The tree's berries are also a favorite food source for many bird species.

  3. Black Cherry (Prunus serotina): Black cherry trees provide food for birds such as the cedar waxwing and the American robin, as well as nesting sites for birds like the eastern bluebird and the woodpecker.

  4. American Beech (Fagus grandifolia): American beech trees provide excellent nesting sites for birds such as the black-capped chickadee and the blue jay. The tree's nuts are also an important food source for many bird species.

  5. Eastern Hemlock (Tsuga canadensis): Eastern hemlocks provide shelter for birds such as the northern saw-whet owl and the black-capped chickadee. The tree's seeds are also a food source for many bird species.

  6. Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum): Sugar maple trees provide a nesting habitat for birds such as the Baltimore oriole and the scarlet tanager. The tree's seeds and sap are also important food sources for many bird species.

For a full list of native bird species, click here.

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