Gardens for birds

Gwen Grace

Summer is a great time to think about gardens and yards. Would you like to have birds hang out in your garden? Are there native plants in your yard? If not, how can you create a beautiful and water saving landscape that brings birds?

Each year the Desert Rivers Audubon Society has a day in November to view yards that are planted in a way to attract different species of birds. So many of us buy a house and have the builder put in a few trees. Hopefully they are native species, but probably not, and that does not attract native birds. HOA’s discourage using feeders which can bring unwanted pests. What to do? Plant the right bush, tree or shrub that the birds like.

I watch the Anna’s hummingbirds, take the spider threads to wrap their nests. Later in the summer the hummingbird will eat the spiders. Cactus wrens dive right under the eaves and eat the spiders.

Abert’s Towhees love to run across the yard and find beetle grubs. But what brings them in? Native plants and dense thickets in which they can hide. Same with robins and curved-bill thrashers. But wait, you probably had the landscaper remove every scrap of detritus! A naturescape can reduce maintenance and provide food and habitat for birds and enrich the community.

Other hints: Have a variety of native plants. Leave some leaves and detritus, compost. Plant trees with berries and/or seeds. Let the spiders and beetles be food for birds. Don’t use chemical insecticides. Don’t forget to provide water.

Maybe you already have a bird habitat in your yard! Share it with others by letting the Desert Rivers Audubon feature your yard in November, so others can learn. Email: [email protected]; I would love to hear from you. Look for the Tour de Bird November 2nd 2019.