Bird garden and backyard habitat

It turns out that my new garden isn’t just a pollinator garden, it’s a bird garden too.

Bird food

The serviceberry flowers that feed bees in the spring provide berries for hungry Cedar Waxwings and Robins in June. The anise hyssop that was covered in bees in the summer, is covered in Goldfinches eating its seeds in the fall. Other seed heads that remain in winter provide food for Juncos and Chickadees.

For 20 years, we have had a bird feeder, but never knew we could grow seeds and berries for birds in the garden.

A habitat garden for wildlife

We’ve enjoyed the bird visitors so much that I began adding berry-producing native shrubs throughout our front and back yards, including a mixed hedgerow along our back fence. As I’ve learned about native shrubs and trees, I realized that bird droppings had already planted native chokecherries and hawthorns along the fence. So far I’ve added gray dogwood, elderberry, nanny berry viburnum, pussy willow, wild plum, and hop tree. A few of these shrubs also host butterfly and moth caterpillars. I hope that the hedgerow will provide nesting habitat and food for our feathered friends.

Giant swallowtail butterflies have visited our backyard habitat garden a few times, so I added their host plant, hop tree, to my hedgerow.

In the summer of 2018, we even put in a circulating pond and stream to attract birds. With the very hot, dry weather, many bird families visited the stream to drink and bathe. We also saw a variety of warblers visiting the stream — birds we had never seen in our yard before. Such fun to watch. Our teen-aged son even says that he enjoys watching birds more than playing video games!

A male Goldfinch bathing in our new stream.
A female Chestnut-sided Warbler checking out the stream. We have never seen warblers in our yard before we added the stream and pond.
The Chickadees still prefer the small, ground-level birdbath.
A chimpumk stocking up under the bird feeder. It has moved into the terraced garden that is edged with a dry-stone, flagstone wall.