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Landscaping Tips to Attract Birds

Birds have been around for at least 144 million years. Over the span of evolution they have acquired some traits and lost others to become enormously varied. About 8,650 species of birds have been identified in the world today, of which around 800 live in North America and around 400 of these species have been documented to occur naturally in Florida (approximately 300 occur on a regular bases). About 60 percent of these species are year-round residents of south Florida. The other 40 percent, around 120 species, are migrants or winter residents of South Florida.

Understanding how all these birds survive in the wild, including the kinds of places they prefer increases our ability to attract some of them to our homes. Food, water, protective cover, and a sheltered place to raise their young are the basic requirements for any animals’ survival. To attract birds, we need to provide them with the means to satisfy at least some of these needs. Plants are an essential element in determining where birds spend their time.

Plants are a source of food for many birds, yielding seeds, berries, fruits, nuts, sap, nectar, or vegetative materials. Plants and their decomposing remains are also the main food source for many insects, which in turn comprise a large part of the diet of some birds. Plants provide nesting sites, resting areas and shelter from unfavorable climate and predators. It is likely that many of the plants already in your yard provide for birds in this fashion.

If you are interested in maximizing your home’s bird-attracting potential, then ideally you should develop your landscaping to meet the following three qualities.

The landscape should provide resources that birds need: food, water, protection from weather and danger, and a place to raise young safely.

Concentrate these resources in locations that offer the best opportunities for bird watching, either in areas where the observer can comfortably watch without being seen or close to the house or patio.

The yard should include a variety of vegetation.

Back to Top Page Last Edited: Wed Jul 24, 2013 3:35:14 PM

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