This week’s gardening guest blogger is Rebecca Nickols. Since becoming a Master Gardener in 2007, Rebecca’s gardening interests have been increasingly focused on creating and protecting wildlife habitats. At her 7 acre property in Southwest Missouri, her garden includes an ever-expanding kitchen garden, berry beds, and a large butterfly garden. Rebecca and her husband, Jeff, are also vendors (Rebecca’s Bird Gardens) at the Farmers Market of the Ozarks during the spring and summer months where they sell living-roof birdhouses, living wreaths, vertical gardens and an assortment of rustic birdhouses and feeders utilizing recycled materials.
Also, be sure to enter the giveaway on this blog for a glass bottle bird feeder! Details are below!
Bird watching and gardening are two hobbies that can easily coexist. With the popularity of organic gardening increasing, many gardeners are looking for a way to control weeds and insects from taking over their landscape and birds are one solution to a chemical free garden. Of course if you avoid insecticides, pesticides and herbicides, you’ll have an abundance of insects and weeds, but fortunately birds love seeds – including weed seeds – and many species (such as bluebirds) rely on insects as their main food source. Even birds that are primarily seed eaters, will feed insects to their newly hatched nestlings. Protecting the natural food sources of birds will attract twice as many species to your landscape than if you relied solely on purchased birdseed and feeders.
Of course the best way to increase the amount of birds visiting your property, is to garden for the birds, but to get those close-up views you’ll want to offer a variety of birdseed and bird feeder options. Set up your feeder in a place where it is easy to see and convenient to refill. Window collisions are often fatal to small birds and feeders should be placed either very close to the window (less than three feet) or much further away (greater than 10 feet). Feeders located about 10-15 feet from a natural shelter such as trees or shrubs offer resting places for birds between feedings and provide a quick escape from predators. Black-oil sunflower seed (as mentioned above) is the best all-around choice for attracting a wide variety of birds. Finches, chickadees, titmice, cardinals, nuthatches and many other common feeder birds readily consume black-oil sunflower. Safflower isn’t a favorite of every bird (cardinals’ love it!), but if you’re having trouble with non-native starlings at your feeders you might switch to this seed. Millet is a favorite of many ground feeding birds including sparrows, doves, and juncos. Corn, either whole or cracked, is attractive to pigeons and doves. Nyjer or thistle is another common seed that is favored by finches.
Even though I do garden to attract birds to my landscape, my husband and I have a small market and online business in which we sell a variety of birdhouses and bird feeders – many of which utilize repurposed or vintage materials. I invite you to visit our website – Rebecca’s Bird Gardens and follow our Facebook page (Rebecca’s Bird Gardens – Facebook).
|Leave a comment below – include your email address – and you’ll be entered in a giveaway for one of our glass bottle bird feeders, “The Bistro“! Each feeder is unique – a repurposed glass bottle, copper wire, decorative accents and a removable base adapter. Leave your comment on this blog post by midnight on Wednesday, February 24, 2016. The winner will be drawn at random from all qualified entrants, and notified via e-mail. See Rules for more information! Good luck!|
UPDATE 4/15/2016: Congratulations to Susan McQueeney, the winner of the glass bottle bird feeder!