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Thread: "Bird Sanctuary"

  1. #1
    Super Moderator Kayaker72's Avatar
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    "Bird Sanctuary"

    For the past two years I've been working on renovating part of my yard. When we bought our house, this section was bare white soil that, not surprisingly, nothing would grow in. So, I've brought in top soil, put down weed block, mulch and a rock path among other things. There is a smaller part to the side of the project that my wife and I have referred too as the eventual "bird sanctuary." The thought is that we would plant bushes and flowers that birds would favor. The area is ~ 600 sq ft. Nearby I have a wegilia, two Rose of Sharons and two cat mints for HB (love the cat mints) and two butterfly bushes for butterflies, so I am looking for something a little different.

    So I was wondering if anyone had suggestions for trees/shrubs/perennial flowers that birds would love? Of course, it would need to survive the pleasant climate we have here in southern New Hampshire. I would love to promote something for cardinals, but we have orioles, tanagers, titmouse, blue jays, etc. Any thoughts?

    Thanks in advance.

    Brant

  2. #2
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    We have a small berry producing tree that gets an occasional Cardinal or Cedar Waxwing... I'd have to ask around to find out what type of tree it is. Goldfinches seem to like Echinacea / Cone Flower. I'm sure the more bird-oriented guys will have a wealth of ideas for you.
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    I think Cardinal Flower is a good perennial shade plant for hummingbirds. As for song birds they readily perch in any tree if there's feeder nearby There are many birds that like Holly berries including Waxwings.

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    Administrator Sean Setters's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joel Eade View Post
    I think Cardinal Flower is a good perennial shade plant for hummingbirds. As for song birds they readily perch in any tree if there's feeder nearby There are many birds that like Holly berries including Waxwings.
    I hated mowing around our Holly tree when I was younger. Finally picked up the ax and cut the darn thing down. Mom wasn't happy, but I was. :-)

  5. #5
    Senior Member conropl's Avatar
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    Birds, deer, turkeys, coyotes, etc. seem to like mulberry trees. They start popping up all over once the birds start spreading the seeds (seed laced purple poop). And at the end of the season the birds start doing some really funny things when the berry's ferment (drunken birds are not very wise birds).

    Quote Originally Posted by Sean Setters View Post
    I hated mowing around our Holly tree when I was younger. Finally picked up the ax and cut the darn thing down. Mom wasn't happy, but I was. :-)
    Sounds like a real George Washington story.
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  6. #6
    Senior Member Bill W's Avatar
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    Brant....first off you need a feeder(s) songbird and hummingbird; I use a silo seed types where the bottom drops out for easy cleaning. I use a mix of sunflower seed (hearts so I don't have a mess of shells) and a woodpecker mix. Also, you'll need a suet feeder. This combo will attract songbirds and woodpeckers in your area.

    Secondly, you'll need to squirrel proof the feeder(s) by using a baffle on the pole. Don't use the umbrella/cone type, the squirrels can beat this type, use the cylinder type approximately 20" in length and 7" in diameter. Place the pole and feeder about 7 to 10 feet from any existing trees.

    For the orioles and catbirds purchase an oriole feeder; they hold oranges and jelly only. This doesn't need to be squirrel proof, although you will see a rogue squirrel nibbling on the orange(s) now and again.

    I don't know how open space your "bird sanctuary" is, but if it is open, you'll need to create a safety zone relatively close to the feeding station for the birds. Lilac bushes and butterfly bushes are great for safety zones. Also add a water station; simple bird bath or if electricity is accessible, a bird bath w/a small pump to move the water. All birds love the sound of moving water.

    Songbird plants; I have planted some blueberry bushes, a couple of small berry producing bushes (sorry, forget their name) and a dwarf crabapple tree. The crabapple tree is the type that holds on to its fruit even after ripening....again saving on a mess. Pat suggested a mulberry tree....superb, but although they're native to our area, I haven't found a garden center that carries them in 7 years of looking. They're excellent for attracting our local birds, but also very messy.

    Hummingbird plants etc.; if you want to photograph them, purchase a single port feeder(s) without perches. Feeders are a must in the garden and buy the simplest type for ease of cleaning. Don't buy the mixes, make your own; 4 parts water, 1 part regular sugar. Don't use sugar substitutes or honey (ferments and molds quickly). The pretty feeders, to our eyes, are a pain to keep clean and clean is very important for the health of the hummingbirds Brant. The perennial plants I have are columbine, sedum, liatris, bee balm, butterfly bush, bleeding heart, honey suckle, trumpet vine, cat mint and cardinal flower. These all bloom at various times throughout the season, so I supplement with annuals to fill the voids in blooming times; salvia, cone flowers, petunias are my more successful type with hanging (planters) plants lantana, and fuschia.

    Suggestions for Care; butterfly bushes; in early spring cut back to about 2 feet, this will give you a good strong bush with lots of blooms year after year. If it isn't cut back, it will become too leggy and produce fewer blooms. If your port on the HB feeder is yellow....color it red (nail polish). Yellow attracts (red to a lesser degree) bees and they become opponents at the feeding station for HBs. It is dramatic how my bee/HB confrontations have dropped since doing this. For cleaning feeders; soak in 50/50 white vinegar/hot water and then rinse thoroughly.

    Hope this helps with ideas in your IBA (important bird area) Brant.
    Last edited by Bill W; 07-14-2014 at 02:56 PM.

  7. #7
    Super Moderator Kayaker72's Avatar
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    Thanks for the tips everyone.

    Over the weekend I finished mulching the area and have now added two Cardinal flowers, a Cone flower and a bee balm. I still have plenty of room to plant, so I'll be adding to that list this fall.

    Bill, I bought the smaller single port HB feeders 2 years ago on your recommendation. They are much better than my previous HB feeders. I have 3-4 HBs that come to them regularly. The HB feeders are in the Bird Sanctuary. I also have a silo feeder. I'll relocate it to the bird sanctuary once I have a better pole. Right now it is attached to the side of my shed.

    Thanks again....Brant

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