DIY Garden Birds: 9 Plants to Feed Them Well
|DIY Garden Birds: 9 Plants to Feed Them Well|
Spring is an ideal time for planting in your garden, knowing that they will serve as homes and covers for our feathered friends. Autumn is also a good time to think about the birds in our gardens and plant berry bushes or seed plants. The diet of wild birds changes with the seasons, especially when insects disappear from the earth's surface.
Some insectivorous birds become granivorous or frugivorous to survive the harsh winter ahead. This is the case for many passerines such as the Eurasian nuthatch or the Goldcrest, which are sometimes insectivorous, and sometimes granivorous. We can also mention the Dunnock, Song Thrush, Blackbird, Chickadee, Tree Sparrow, or Robin. Others exclusively feed on seeds and fruits, but they hunt caterpillars or insect larvae to feed their young chicks: the European goldfinch, Hawfinch, Eurasian Bullfinch, and Common Redpoll.
To restore the biodiversity of your garden and save little birds, here are some ideas for flowering shrubs or berry hedges that you can easily plant.
1. Blackberry for Garden Birds - Rubus fructicosus
Blackberry is a fruit-bearing bramble that produces wild, sweet blackberries that are as delicious for mouths as for beaks. They are readily picked to make good homemade jams if they have not been devoured by birds in gardens and the countryside. Who are the gourmands? The Wren, Dunnock, Blackbird, and Warblers, but not only. Bees, bumblebees, butterflies, and caterpillars thrive in this bush, creating a real source of biodiversity.
Brambles particularly protect wildlife, especially hedgehogs and rabbits that hide from predators. Birds nest in blackberry brambles for reproduction and nesting. In summer, they feast on small, juicy blackberries.
NOTE! Wait until winter to feed garden birds from November to March. Bad weather must be there before you start hanging your fat balls and distributing your seed mix in feeders. However, you can leave a freshwater trough to renew every day all year round, especially during heat waves.
2. Common Lavender - Lavandula angustifolia
A fan of Provence and crickets? Reserve a corner of lavender in your garden in full sun or on the edge of your vegetable patch. This perennial plant attracts insects of all kinds, a real treat for birds like European Greenfinches, Blue Chickadee, and Linnets. After the flowering period, lavender produces seeds that they greatly appreciate.
It is recommended to plant your lavender plants in spring or at the latest until the end of autumn, before the arrival of heavy frosts.
Tip! The smell of lavender is a natural repellent against aphids and a stress reliever for humans. Also, you can make small sachets of dried lavender flowers to scent your dressing room or kitchen cupboards.
3. Common Thyme - Thymus vulgaris
Indispensable in our cottages, thyme is an aromatic plant often used in our soups or to flavor our roasted meats. Its many medicinal virtues strengthen the natural defenses of humans, chickens, and wild birds such as goldfinches.
The highly fragrant thyme flowers attract bees and butterflies that become after flowering succulent edible seeds devoured by granivorous birds. The advantage of planting it is that you can harvest it all year round. In a vegetable garden or a small pot, your thyme needs sun and water to grow.
Did you know? Thyme defends against fungal infections and respiratory infections, which can be beneficial for birds in the winter.
Tip! Cut thyme branches at the end of its flowering season, dry them, and sprinkle the seeds in the early morning and at dusk during winter, the ideal time for bird feeding.
4. Sunflower, the flower of the sun - Helianthus annuus
Think of a seed-dispensing plant for our feathered friends. In addition to attracting insects, the sunflower - which literally means turning with the sun - contains a source of food and essential vitamin E for birds.
You can plant the seeds in spring in a vegetable garden or ornamental bed and enjoy this beautiful and large decorative yellow flower in summer. After flowering, blue chickadee, green finches, finches, and goldfinches love to peck at the sunflower seeds on the ground.
Tip! Collect sunflowers just after their flowering and dry them inside to harvest the seeds and give them to the garden birds in winter.
5. Rowan, the bird’s tree - Sorbus Aucuparia
Highly appreciated by urban gardeners, the rowan offers a bouquet of ornamental red berries in autumn. This small shrub attracts many species in winter, such as thrushes, blackbirds, and other wild passerines. Autumn is the ideal season to plant a rowan in your garden and make a beautiful hedge with nourishing berries. You can easily hang a wooden feeder or shelter for wild birds searching for rare food.
Did you know? The small red berries called rowanberries are juicy but very acidic and inedible raw for humans. They are transformed into jams, eau-de-vie, or sorbitol, a sweetener for diabetics.
Tip! Do not pick up the dead leaves at the foot of the rowan because they naturally fertilize the soil and protect it from the cold.
6. Fragrant Honeysuckle - Lonicera fragrantissima
If you want to benefit from a beautiful climbing and fragrant plant, the fragrant honeysuckle or winter honeysuckle will meet all your expectations and delight garden birds and insects. In spring and winter, its pretty flowers produce berries that can be consumed by warblers, thrushes, or large fruit-eating birds.
This small Chinese shrub decorates your beds or hedges perfectly with little maintenance. You can plant your honeysuckle throughout the year, except during frost.
7. Fragrant white clematis - Clematis vitalba
To hide an old wall or dress up your fence, the white vine clematis forms a pretty climbing and bushy hedge, the ideal nest for wild birds. It is planted in autumn or spring.
The multitude of small clematis flowers gives birth to fruits called achenes. These contain seeds that become an inexhaustible food source for many granivorous birds. The hedge clematis is also a real insect hotel, promoting pollination and biodiversity. Handle with gloves because its fresh sap irritates the skin, but once dried, clematis is safe.
Did you know that? The foot of clematis should be planted in the shade and placed in full sun, on the south side for example so that the chickadees can enjoy the warmth of the sun.
8. The Flowering Red Currant - Ribes sanguineum
|Flowering Red Currant|
The color and shape of its flowers are reminiscent of fuchsias. They bloom in spring and display a beautiful range of red, pink, and white. The flowering red currant can be planted in pots or directly in the ground, on a balcony or terrace, in a flower bed, or alone.
The scent of its flowers resembles the pleasant aroma of blackcurrant, hence its nickname "false blackcurrant." In fact, its nectar and pollen delight the first pollinating insects. This flowering shrub produces long clusters of blue-purple berries, which are highly appreciated by passing birds but not edible for humans.
9. The Japanese Rose - Rosa rugosa
From the Japanese word "hamanasu," the Japanese rose is a rough rosebush with thorny branches that is used as a hedge in gardens. Its thick leaves form prominent veins that birds collect during the nesting period. Its slightly scented white and pink flowers bloom all summer, attracting bees and insects at will.
After the growing season, this decorative rosebush bears clusters of shiny red fruits that whet the appetites of granivorous and frugivorous passerines such as European greenfinches, thrushes, or more rarely, the Bohemian waxwing. You will enjoy observing them constantly throughout the fall or winter.
Did you know? The Japanese rose produces large wild fruits enriched with vitamin C that can be harvested to make canned jam.
It's not just in spring that we plant flowers or shrubs. This autumn, you can help feed the birds in our gardens despite the cold and sudden drops in temperature. Seeds, nuts, or red fruits... it all depends on what you can manage to sow. If you don't have a green thumb or if you lack green spaces, it's still time to hang a few bird feeders or houses that will provide shelter for them from the first frost.