Attracting Birds In Your Garden

By Kent Higgins

In the garden where the trumpet-creeper flaunts its showy, deep-cupped flowers, the dazzling ruby-throated hummingbird is almost sure to come, for red is his favorite color and the trumpet-creeper his favorite flower. And in the garden where the sunflower raises its plebeian head above the exclusive dahlias and roses, the American goldfinch most likely will flash his eye-catching black and yellow plumage and sing his canary-like song.

If one would have birds in the garden or on the lawn, it is merely a matter of planting the shrubs and flowers that furnish the seeds and berries for which birds have preference. Fortunately, many of our most decorative plants are on the preferred list of birds.

The goldfinch, which is usually found in waste places where plumy goldenrod and humble sneezeweed have a monopoly on the land, is lured into the garden by the refined relative of the sunflowers of the field and roadside. The cultivated sunflower of today has its place in the flower catalogs and can hold its own with the zinnias, marigolds and daisies.

The goldfinch is a member of the finch family, which are seed-eaters. Some of our most colorful birds and finest songsters are among them. The cardinal of crimson magnificence, the rose-breasted grosbeak, the resplendent indigo bunting, purple finch and tuneful sparrow, are some of the more familiar finches. Those plants that are prolific seed producers invite the colorful and the musical seed-eaters.

From poppies in the spring to cosmos and asters of autumn, many garden favorites flower and seed - the coreopsis, calendula, daisy, sweet william dianthus and all of the compositae family. Coxcomb spreads its rich bloom for all to see, and amaranthus sprawls in a splash of color. Bachelors-buttons and other centaurcas are quieter in color but equally agreeable to birds.

While birds in general are classed as insectivorous or vegetarian, few birds adhere strictly to their preferred diet. The robin that is indefatigable in his search for earthworms on the lawn, delights in the delectable red fruit of the Juneberry; and the rose-breasted grosbeak, whose bill is built especially for the cracking of seeds, is sometimes less euphoniously called the potato-bug bird because of his fondness for them. Indeed, the farmer has no better friend than the grosbeak who arranges his family in a row on the pasture fence and methodically plies them with potato bugs from the neighboring field. - 29857

About the Author:

Sign Up for our Free Newsletter

Enter email address here