Landscaping Tips for a Bird-Friendly Yard

Hollies provide both shelter and food for winter birds.

3. Basic Bird Need: Shelter

Birds need places to rest, escape predators, and build their nests. A garden with plenty of shelter is sure to have lots of birds. Tips include:

    • Variety: The best bird shelter includes a variety of trees and shrubs with varying textures and heights.
    • Borders: Mixed shrub borders are perfect, because you can include a wide variety of plants that offer food, shelter, and nesting spots; and they’re usually far enough away from the house that the birds feel safe.
    • Hedges: Birds love the deep shelter provided by hedges.
    • Safety: Consider some prickly or thorny shrubs to provide added security from predators.
    • Evergreens: Conifers and evergreens are great shelter choices because they stay green year-round. Many varieties also produce berries or nuts, which provide an additional food element.
    • Birdhouses: Artificial shelter can be provided in the form of nesting boxes, such as bluebird houses. Choose nesting boxes specific to the birds in your garden, as many birds will not use a basic bird house.
    • Nesting Materials: Include a variety of plants with different textures, including grasses and fluffy plants, to give birds ample material to build their nests. Grass clippings are perfect if left mulched into your lawn. You can also put out small bundles of nesting materials, but it needs to be done properly to prevent injury to the birds. Check out our article on How to Attract Birds to Your Yard with Nesting Materials to find out more.

16 COMMENTS

  1. I love birds and would love to see them in my yard more often. I hadn’t thought of providing them with nearby shelter after bathing. I would hate for them to be in a vulnerable situation. Thanks for the great information!

    Mary

  2. How to feed wild birds without attracting rats, which is what one of my neighbors insists will happen. (So our facility has been told not to the feed birds at all.) But once before, I saw someone had posted a notice that people do not need to be afraid to birds, and no need to feed the rats. I would like to let people know that they CAN feed birds without attracting rats. I need your help for this. Do you have a record of the information?
    Happysunskimmer at Yahoo.com

  3. My husband and I are going to be doing some landscaping work in the spring, and we’re currently thinking of some design ideas. I really liked your post, because there are a lot of birds in the area that we live! I would love to create a yard where I could watch the different birds come and go. I thought that your list of things that help attract birds was very helpful! As we are designing our future yard, I’ll be sure to keep this list in mind! Thank you for the great advice!

  4. This is a really cool post on how to make your yard more bird-friendly. I think that having birds around makes for a really peaceful atmosphere. I will have to see if I want to get a water feature in my yard or not. Thanks for the post!

  5. I have been a bird enthusiast for the past few years and having a yard that attracts them has definitely been my dream. My husband and I are looking into doing some more landscape design in the future and I would love to incorporate your advice. Hopefully we will be able to find something that works for us, thanks for sharing!

  6. I love when birds are always about during the summer. There is something comforting about their songs. I never considered making my landscape more attractive to them. Now that I think about it, there are a lot more birds around my parents house because it’s a small farm with lots of trees. I guess I should start planting!

  7. I also did that in my garden. I also love birds and I enjoy their sound while playing around my garden. It makes my garden complete because of birds.

  8. I have always wanted a bird friendly yard. They make such beautiful music. I am excited to try some of these landscaping tips.

  9. My grandmother loves watching birds in her yard, and I think it would be fun to landscape the area to make it more inviting. I like your tip to provide the necessities for the birds. Will we need to get some birdhouses for shelter, or are there certain kinds of trees or bushes that make good homes for them?

  10. What many don’t know is a key to making your garden bird friendly is to place your feeders away from shrubs and thick trees – this is because birds like to feed out in the open where they can easily any predators such as cats approaching. So if you do have a feeder, try and keep this in mind when choosing where to place it in your garden!

  11. I really love birds, but I don’t like cleaning up after their mess inside the house and am planning to instead get wild birds to frequent my yard. My husband and I are going to hire a landscaper to help us plant some bird-friendly plants with berries and nuts that will attract them, and your tip to meet their needs of water and shelter as well will definitely make a difference. Maybe I can set talk to the landscapers about setting up some sort of ground shelters for the quail that come through our yard, and birdhouses for our trees.

  12. I live in an apartment complex and I have a bird feeder outside where I can watch the birds feed from my living room window. I have been here for three years and have never seen a mouse. Some residents have bird feeders also and have lived here for seven years and never seen a mouse. We have no mice in our apartments. We have been told that we have to remove the bird feeders. We are an elderly group and we love being able to watch the birds. We are told that the mice get into the vents. I don’t want to move my feeder and it is such enjoyment for me. The tree is about five feet from the building. Please let me know what your thoughts are. Thank you. Sarah

    • Hi, Sarah,
      The complex’s landlord can set the rules for bird feeder use. One of the benefits of home ownership — particularly outside a homeowners association — is the ability to make decisions without interference.
      Thanks for your question.

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