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Search Results for ' Gardening to attract birds'

PAL Questions: 3 - Garden Tools: 3

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Keywords: Hummingbirds, Gardening to attract birds

PAL Question:

What do hummingbirds eat? I want to attract them to my yard.

View Answer:

According to the Hummingbird Society, hummingbirds primarily eat nectar from flowers. They also eat small insects and spiders as sources of protein. For more information on their needs, see the website of the Hummingbird Society.

The City of Bellingham has a helpful guide to attracting hummingbirds which includes a list of plants which are nectar sources. Rainyside Gardeners also has a list of nectar plants for hummingbirds in the Pacific Northwest. Oregon State University Extension's "Attract Hummingbirds to Your Garden" by J. Olson and N. Allen is also a good starting point.

The Miller Library has many books about creating a hummingbird garden, including a book published by the Brooklyn Botanic Garden that provides lists and descriptions of plants that attract hummingbirds, arranged by geographic region (Hummingbird Gardens, 2000, edited by Stephen W. Kress).

Season All Season
Date 2007-12-13
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Keywords: Vaccinium parvifolium, Shepherdia canadensis, Sambucus cerulea, Rubus leucodermis, Rosa gymnocarpa, Amelanchier alnifolia, Rosa nutkana, Oemleria cerasiformis, Berberis nervosa, Berberis aquifolium, Malus fusca, Prunus virginiana demissa, Prunus emarginata, Quercus garryana, Corylus cornuta, Crataegus douglasii, Rhamnus purshiana, Vaccinium ovatum, Vaccinium ovatum, Umbellularia californica, Rubus spectabilis, Gardening to attract birds, Attracting wildlife, Rosaceae (Rose Family), Gaultheria shallon

PAL Question:

I am planning a garden in Seattle and my highest priority is to attract birds. Do you have a list of plants I can use as a reference?

View Answer:

This is a more difficult question than one might imagine. According to Landscaping for Wildlife in the Pacific Northwest, "almost 300 species of birds are native to the Pacific Northwest. Many of them could call your yard home for at least part of the year, depending on what you provide for them. So it depends on what species of birds you want to attract and what environments they need."
Source: Landscaping for Wildlife in the Pacific Northwest, by Russell Link (University of Washington Press, 1999, p. 48).
There is a lot of good advice on planning your garden with birds (and other creatures) in mind.

Washington Native Plant Society has a resource page devoted to native plants for wildlife.

The Miller Library has a booklist featuring titles on attracting wildlife to the garden: Information Resources for Gardening with Wildlife.

Valerie Easton, a local garden writer, mentioned several bird-attracting plants when she reviewed a Bellevue wildlife garden. Her article can be found at: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/pacificnw/2003/0504/living.html

Another good source for this information is Native Plants of the Northwest, by Wallace W. Hansen. Scroll down to Wallys Wildlife Habitat Recommendations.
Following is an annotated list of plants that attract birds for western Washington: the oaks, chinquapin, Oregon myrtle, western hazelnut, cascara, and all trees in the Rose family (hawthorn, bitter cherry, chokecherry and Pacific crabapple). Native shrubs include: serviceberry, salal, all Oregon grapes, Indian plum, bittercherry, roses, blackcap, thimbleberry, salmonberry, Pacific blackberry, red and blue elderberries, russet buffaloberry, mountain ash, snowberry, and all huckleberries.

Seattle Audubon's book and online resource, Audubon at Home in Seattle: Gardening for Life has a chapter on designing a garden to attract birds, and it includes a plant list.

Season All Season
Date 2008-01-24
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Keywords: Gardening to attract birds, Nandina domestica, Poisonous plants

PAL Question:

A rumor has been circulating among birders in our area (Puget Sound) regarding the toxicity of nandina berries to birds, specifically cedar waxwings. I use a fair amount of nandina in my landscape designs, so this is obviously a concern.

How toxic are nandina berries for wildlife? How often do birds or other critters eat enough of the fruit to be damaging?

View Answer:

I think that people are probably referring to this study:
Excerpt:
"Nandina domestica berries contain cyanide and other alkaloids. For most cultivars of N. domestica, cyanogenesis is the most important intoxication factor. Cyanide glycosides are substances present in many plants that can produce highly toxic hydrogen cyanide (HCN). At least 2000 plant species are known to contain cyanide glycosides with the potential to produce HCN poisoning. Generally, most parts of the plants contain cyanogenic glycocides, the young rapidly growing portion of the plant and the seeds containing the highest concentration. At least 55 cyanogenic glycosides are known to occur in plants, many being synthesized from aminoacids as part of normal plant metabolism. Frost and drought conditions may increase cyanogenesis in some plant species. Cool moist growing conditions enhance the conversion of nitrate to aminoacids and cyanogenic glycosides instead of plant protein. Presumably, similar weather conditions during late winter and early spring in the study area might have favored increased cyanogenesis in N. domestica."

Note that this is the first time a mass death of waxwings has been observed, studied, and related to Nandina. Also note that Nandina is invasive in southern states (which means there is probably a lot of it in Georgia, where the deaths were noticed). If there are diverse food sources for the birds in the landscapes you design, perhaps consumption of a few Nandina berries is less of an issue. Another thing to note is that there are a great many other plants whose fruit contains cyanogenic glycosides, and we are unlikely to be able to avoid planting every single genus with this characteristic.

You could aim to plant several plants in each landscape you create which are the preferred diet of local birds. Here is information about the cedar waxwing's feeding habits.
Excerpt:
"Cedar Waxwings feed mainly on fruits year-round. In summer, they feed on fruits such as serviceberry, strawberry, mulberry, dogwood, and raspberries. The birdsí name derives from their appetite for cedar berries in winter; they also eat mistletoe, madrone, juniper, mountain ash, honeysuckle, crabapple, hawthorn, and Russian olive fruits. In summer Cedar Waxwings supplement their fruit diet with protein-rich insects including mayflies, dragonflies, and stoneflies, often caught on the wing. They also pick items such as scale insects, spruce budworm, and leaf beetles directly from vegetation."

Season All Season
Date 2013-08-27
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Keywords: Hummingbirds, Phygelius, Salvia, Gardening to attract birds

Garden Tool: Encourage hummingbirds to visit your garden by providing food and shelter. While hummingbird feeders bring the tiny birds close to the house for easy viewing, providing nectar from flowers is probably better for the birds. Phygelius, Salvia, and hardy Fuchsias in pink and red shades will make them happy. For winter food try the glorious Mahonia x media 'Charity' which tends to start blooming sweet yellow flowers in December. Everything you ever wanted to know about hummers: www.hummingbirds.net. This site has migration maps, ratings of feeders, and species descriptions with photos.

Season: Summer
Date: 2007-04-03
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Keywords: Gardening to attract birds, Birds

Garden Tool:

As spring returns, so do migrating birds. If you would like to see and hear more birds read Attracting Birds to your Backyard: 536 Ways to Turn Your Yard and Garden into a Haven for Your Favorite Birds by Sally Roth (Rodale, 1998). Roth suggests providing nesting birds with extra supplies, such as yarn, pet hair, dried grass and straw. Watch robins and other birds choose their favorite nest building items.

Identify the birds around your neighborhood with help from Chris Fisher, author of Birds of Seattle and Puget Sound (Lone Pine, 1996).

Season: Spring
Date: 2007-03-26
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Keywords: Gardening to attract birds, Birds

Garden Tool:

The Audubon Society has long advocated for the protection and appreciation of birds. Their website has lots of good, informative articles that advise on how to encourage wildlife in the winter garden and the impact backyard feeders make on birds. Research has disproved the fear that feeding birds creates dependency. So don't feel guilty if your feeder goes empty; birds remember how to find food on their own.

Season: Winter
Date: 2007-04-03
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December 12 2014 11:33:49