Many of us have elaborate feeding stations equipped with anti-squirrel devices to protect our investment in Droll Yankee feeders fed daily with black-oil sunflower seeds. We love to see chickadees, finches and cardinals eat! Seed eating birds definitely benefit, especially those that flock to our feeders over the winter.
What about birds that don’t eat seed?
What about the other necessities of bird survival such as protection from the elements and nesting sites?
Think beyond the bird feeder and create a bird refuge with plants native to prairie, wetland and woodland communities; habitats where native birds evolved. Plant a blend of perennials native to the American prairie and listen for the early summer call of a vesper sparrow, a bird that is heard but seldom seen, as it builds its nest at the base of a little bluestem plant. Cover the shady ground under the oak or maple in your yard with Jacob’s ladder and columbine and watch as hermit thrushes and palm warblers rummage through the emerging plants and fallen leaves for insects as they migrate north during the spring. Let the perennials stand tall in your perennial gardens over the winter instead of mowing them to the ground during the fall. Fall migrants and winter residents will benefit as they seek shelter from winter winds.