Our bird population has been plummeting over the last few decades to numbers that are alarming. The number of birds in the United States and Canada has declined by 3 billion over the past half century, that's about 29 percent from 1970. There is something you can do to help reverse the trend by planting the right kind of tree to help manage the birds. By planting trees you are providing a vertical habitat for visiting birds. Planting and maintaining trees of different heights at maturity will help birds because they will use different niches for feeding and nesting. When you landscape, try to provide the necessities that birds need to survive, mainly food, shelter, nesting spot and water, (this may be harder in the winter). Try to provide open space around feeders, this can help prevent the neighbors cat from preying on the birds. If you are trying to attract hummingbirds, provide a limb within 50 feet of the feeder, this provides a resting place and a lookout for danger and passing insects. If you are fortunate enough to have an area in your yard that you can leave "wild" by retaining dead trees, go for it, this would help attract woodpeckers and other cavity nesting birds. So in summary the more diverse your trees are the more different kinds of birds you will be able to attract. So go plant a tree or two!
Here's what NWF has to say about what you need to have backyard habitat: "Food: Native plants provide food eaten by a variety of wildlife. Feeders can supplement natural food sources. Water: All animals need water to survive, and some need it for bathing or breeding as well. Cover: Wildlife need places to take shelter from bad weather and places to hide from predators or hunt for prey. Places to Raise Young: Wildlife need resources to reproduce, and to protect and nourish their young. Sustainable Practices: Maintain your yard or garden in natural ways to ensure soil, air, and water stay healthy and clean. Creating a wildlife habitat garden to attract birds, butterflies, and other neighborhood wildlife is fun, rewarding, and makes a big difference. It’s easier than you might think."
FUN FACTS- Do you know if you provide shelter, food and water that you to can have your backyard certified by the National Wildlife Federation! Its easy to do online under the National Wildlife Federation web page, nwf.org. The site is full of great information and activities for the whole family to get involved in having your backyard certified as a wildlife habitat.
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North Haven Garden Club is a member of The Federated Garden Clubs of Connecticut Inc., New England Garden Clubs Inc., and The National Garden Clubs Inc.
Article by Cindy Golia