Start Birdscaping
The Audubon Society has counted over 650 bird species nesting in North America. Invite some of them with birdscaping. Nesting and cover sites, food, and water are all that birds need to thrive. Replacing lawn with native trees, shrubs, and other plants provides nesting, cover and food. Add water with a birdbath or garden pond.

Follow these additional guidelines to create a truly bird-friendly yard:

Do your homework. Consult your local Audubon chapter to learn more about common birds in your area. Then research native varieties of the nut-, fruit-, and seed-bearing plants they prefer. See our Plants for Backyard Birds to start.

Preserve & replace. In addition to replacing lawn with native plants, reconsider the removal of dead trees from your property. The hollow cavities are valuable nesting sites for birds.

Add supplemental housing. Pole-mounted nesting boxes and houses will give your birds added security—they're harder for predators to get to than tree-mounted boxes. You'll want to give your birds an advantage, especially if your hosting birds with declining populations.

Add supplemental food. In addition to a water feature, consider adding well-placed feeders, positioned where squirrels can't raid the food. Homeowners typically mount springtime feeders, but it's best to provide seed in cold weather, when natural food sources are low. See suggested feeders, along with other backyard bird accessories, in our Wildlife-Friendly Yard gallery.

Invite & protect. Keep unsupervised pets indoors. House cats, in particular, are responsible for killing millions of birds every year. Further, about 1 billion birds die each year due to fatal window collisions. This can be prevented by drawing curtains on windows that reflect habitat or appear to be transparent to birds. Window decals create a visual interference to warn birds of solid surfaces, and bug screens also reduce window glass transparency, while providing a "bouncy" barrier to reduce the harm of impact.

As Steve Saffier explains, "It's one thing to add a birdhouse to your yard, but the key is to build a healthy environment around it."
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