A lot of you probably have bird feeders around your home. It’s a great way to see birds up close. It is a good supplement for local birds, as long as it is kept filled. But birds will sometimes rely on feeders and then when they aren’t filled or are taken away they may struggle to find natural sources, especially during winter.
A great alternative is to bring birds to your home by growing native plants that offer not only food but shelter and last for several seasons and can also be perennial feeders.
The Audubon Native Plant Database is a great tool to find the best plants for the birds in your area. I did a search for my area and found more than 70 plants paired with the birds that feed from them. Growing bird-friendly plants will attract and protect the birds you love while making your space beautiful, easy to care for, and better for the environment.
Another bit of gardening I have written about before is “guerilla gardening.” One of the methods is using “seed bombs” (AKA seed balls, for gentler folks) as a way to plant native plants in bare areas like vacant lots.
They are made using clay as a way to retain moisture as the seeds germinate and provide some protection from wind, sun – and hungry birds who would get at them before they sprout. People use artist’s clay, but clay powder, or unscented clay kitty litter can be mixed with water and is cheaper.
You mix in seed-starting soil or fine compost as a nutrient (dirt from your yard will probably add weed seeds which is not good).
Most important is adding seeds of plants that are native to your area. The database mentioned above helps there.