When I first moved back to my home in North Dakota, I didn’t have the slightest idea of what I wanted to do with our backyard. After the death of my mom, the home was kind of neglected and to bring the scrappy backyard back to shape would take so much time.
Nonetheless, I was out of work and didn’t have so much to do. So instead of whining, I got myself busy. I started by remodeling the house but before I knew it, there wasn’t anything more to do.
Finally, it was time to face the backyard nightmare. And since I didn’t have any slightest idea what to do with it, I chose to just clean it. At the edges though, I planted a few beauty shrubs that made it look good.
This wasn’t revisited for quite some time. However, one morning as I was trimming the shrubs, I noticed a bird’s nest with a few nestlings in one of the shrubs. They looked so lovely, innocent, and vulnerable. That’s when the idea struck me; to make a bird-friendly backyard.
Today, my love for birds has grown. I love birding adventures and my backyard in a haven for birds. If you want to make your backyard a bird-friendly sanctuary too, here are a few tips that will help.
Make the Choice
The very first thing that you have to do is to make a choice. Take a stand that you want to do this. Protecting nature isn’t easy. I have to very honest with you. Birds can be noisy and destructive sometimes. That’s why it is very important that you make a choice.
Take a pledge to promote a bird-friendly environment, sanctuaries, and habitats. You should pledge to keep the environment safe, to remove invasive exotic plants, to discard volatile substances, plant native species, and to reduce the use of pesticides among other things. If you want to observe them, just use a set of binoculars but don’t distract them, don’t disturb their natural environments.
If you want to learn more about birds and their natural habitats websites like audubon can be a real help. If you want to observe birds a set of bird watching binoculars is really helpful to study without disturbing them. There are plenty of good websites that may help you to choose a good set of bird watching binoculars.
Understand the Birds
Let me say something here, I have learned that you cannot find every type of bird in North Dakota. Birds around my area are different from those in Alaska. What I mean is that there are specific types of birds that my environment can sustain.
To prepare my yard appropriately, I must understand these birds. I must know what they like, what type of environment suits them, which types of trees they love to make their homes in, and what type of food they feed on.
Once I have done this, I will find it easy to prepare my landscape to match the conditions that these birds need. This leads us to the next big step here.
Know the Ground Type
After you determine the type of birds in your area, you’ll find it easy to prepare an ideal place for them. This means that you will know the type of ground you need and if your backyard meets these requirements.
If not, you will understand how to improve the ground to meet the expectations. This might include conserving water and protecting water quality to sustain wildlife. So what are the perfect local conditions?
To understand your unique placement, create a plan. Round up the type of shrubs, trees, soil, and landscape features that favor your local bird species. Determine what your backyard has, what it lacks, and what unwanted options exist.
Follow this by determining the sun spread on your backyard. Find low/ wet areas and determine better-drained slopes, where you can add the ideal plants. Also, find out the type of soil and remove any toxic plants and materials that lie around.
Research on the Plants
Your ground is set. You know the type of birds that live in your area. What next? Know the type of food the birds eat. Bird food includes fruits and seeds. It also includes plants with flowers. Now look around and see which types of plants exist in areas around you that birds frequent a lot.
Take a cursory look and go with the ground with similar characteristics as that of yours. Keep in mind similar amounts of light, moisture content, and soil types. See what grows in these areas and the type of birds that lurk around.
You can always use your binoculars to take a keen watch. Aim for such plants by focusing on a wide diversity. The plants you bring in should provide the right food for the birds including nectar, seed, and fruits.
Plants with flowers and berries transform into a winter food source for the birds. They provide seed-heads that birds will find to be juicy. Here a few that you can choose from.
- Winterberry holly
- Wild roses
- Pin or chokecherries
- High bush cranberry
- Oregon grape
- Pacific dogwood
Nonetheless, buy only plants that are suited for your climatic conditions. While focusing on the plants, keep in mind how big it grows, how the roots spread, and how much of a home it provides for the birds.
Minimize the Lawn
Birds don’t find lawns in any way useful. Therefore, you should plant their edges to improve habitat. Here is the thing, as you trim the edges of your lawn you increase the amount of open space.
Birds don’t find open places attractive. They need their privacy and also safety. So try and reclaim the open spaces by planting some sheltering and the dense shrubs around.
In any case, it was when I first planted shrubs that I ended up with my first nest. Even better, you can convert your lawn into a natural wildflower meadow. Then adds a few spotting shrubs to make it click.
Protect Tree Roots
Now that you have the right trees, the tough job begins. To keep the sanctuary alive, you must protect its natural state. This will include the trees.
Unfortunately, trees might have very invasive or specifically wild fiber like roots. If you kill the roots, you kill the trees and off goes the bird habitat you just set up. It is therefore advisable that you protect the roots.
Trees roots help in maintaining the soil moisture content. They will enhance the hummus and lush growth. For this reason, you should protect them. DON’T do the following:
- Dig the roots out
- Pave the open roots
- Compact the soil
- Add over six inches of soil above the grade
Don’t Use Pesticides
Pesticides are the number one killers of birds. They kill birds by poisoning and also by reducing their food supplies. Don’t use any chemicals that are not approved by the organic standards associations. Birds can easily mistake pesticide granules for gravel or a seed. Check this list for hints.
Today when the sun is about to set and I pick my pair of binoculars to watch the birds in my backyard, the feeling is priceless. It is relaxing and you will be amazed at how wonderful these creatures are. Anyway, it’s never too late to start your bird sanctuary.