Birds will come ... an urban habitat garden.
When first beginning to garden the only birds I seemed to see were blackbirds, sparrows and maybe a robin or two.
That has changed dramatically over the years as I have learned to feed the birds.
Not with a typical bird feeder but through the garden itself.
Seeds, berries, nectar, insects and even small mammals draw quite a diverse population of bird species to our Chicago garden.
A small brown creeper seeming to run wildly back and forth over tree bark until it reaches the top, then dropping straight back to the ground to start the climb all over again, is searching for insects under the loose bark.
The thrush running in and out from under shrubs picking through leaf litter is also looking for a meal.
We never deadhead so as to leave plenty of seed, for the American Goldfinch that sings so loud to its mate while stuffing in a load for the babies back at the nest and the Mourning doves which forage the seed on bare ground after it falls.
A flicker chases ants,Hummingbirds sip nectar from flowering vines,Robins eat worms and the berries from Red twig dogwood and blackberries.
American kestral sit high on a tower looking down over the garden and a sharp shinned hawk watches from the tallest tree for a chance to nab a young mourning dove or baby rabbit.
Food is plentiful in this wildlife habitat garden.
Living within the migration flight path of millions of birds along Lake Michigan makes for a huge number of species that might be coaxed into stopping. I have seen many at parks and beaches, woods and ponds that have never ventured into my own backyard.But so many have visited and some stay awhile.
The mature trees [very tall with branches spread wide] a few needle type evergreens, a thorny tangle of brambles, ground covers and organic mulches, even a wood pile, gives the birds options. They forage food, build nest to raise young, shelter from wind and storms and hide from predators.
Water in a small shallow pond, a bird bath, a saucer on the ground here and there provide various depths,access and surface texture.
Different birds have differing needs.
Birds make up the most visible wildlife in the garden if you spend time looking.They pay their own way by keeping insect populations under control and singing with abandon.
Only the mourning doves leave behind enough evidence of their presence to be annoying.Many a morning is spent power washing every surface under the trees and placement of seating to avoid splatter is an ongoing concern. Thankfully no big pigeons have been drawn in, maybe fearing the hawks.
Here is a list of birds I have seen in my own backyard over the years...
Wrens,Junco,rose breasted grosbeak,rufous sided towhee,brown thrasher,mourning doves,robins,cardinals,brown creeper,common yellow throat, ruby crowned kinglet,common flicker,Hairy,downy,and red headed woodpeckers,American Goldfinch,indigo bunting,hummingbird,ovenbird,hermit thrush,white throated sparrow,white crowned sparrow,chipping sparrow,house sparrow,lark bunting,house finch,common nighthawk,Blue Jays,grey catbirds,chimmney swift,sharp shinned hawk,American kestral,and assorted unidentified warblers.
There are many reasons to spend time in the garden...