Let's Grow Together! Fall planting is for the birds! – Shelbynews


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Cloudy skies with a few showers after midnight. Low near 55F. Winds light and variable. Chance of rain 70%..
Cloudy skies with a few showers after midnight. Low near 55F. Winds light and variable. Chance of rain 70%.
Updated: September 23, 2022 @ 10:51 pm
The right food will attract more birds to your area.
Different birds need different types of trees for shelter and food.

The right food will attract more birds to your area.
Different birds need different types of trees for shelter and food.
Early this summer, as my husband and I sat on the porch, we tried to identify which type of birds we were hearing. Cardinals, mourning doves, piliated woodpeckers, don’t know, don’t know, and don’t know.
Well, you get the picture. We didn’t know an awful lot about bird calls.
Fast forward one week, and we had an app for that! I recorded 14 different species in just a few minutes. We became hooked on recording the sounds of our backyard. Realizing how many different kinds of birds our little area is supporting on a daily basis encouraged me to want to learn more about making sure that we have a conducive and favorable habitat for them.
Basic year-round bird needs include healthy food, clean water, and plants that provide shelter and materials for nesting.
Plant native trees, shrubs, and other plants. Native plants attract native insects which are an essential food source for wildlife. So, make a new mindset – Leave the bugs alone! 96 percent of baby birds require insects as food. Besides using the bugs to feed their babies, birds help control annoying and dangerous insects like mosquitoes, fleas, and ticks.
A good landscaping plan can support our wildlife. Birds rely on plants for food – including seeds, buds, berries, nectar, sap, and fruit. Carefully consider sources of food so that berries, fruits, and nuts ripen throughout the season still dead and dying plants provide food. Fallen trees, branches, leaf litter and dormant stalks of flowering contribute valuable food in winter. (If my neighbors read this article, they may now realize I purposefully leave the tree stumps!)
Of course, we automatically think of bird feeders. Clean, specialized feeders appeal to a variety of birds and mammals. Try seeds, suet, fruit, and nuts.
Bird baths/water bowls in your garden will help attract birds to the plants in your garden. Provide as many sources of water as possible. The containers don’t have to be pretty. We currently have one intentionally bought bird bath and two former dog bowls in use. All three are regularly visited! In fact, the finches and wrens show a partiality to one of the dog bowls, lining up on the fence in the heat of summer days. Your water sources require some maintenance, just like feeders. Keep them clean and full, adding fresh water frequently in the summer months. If you are really enterprising, consider adding an artificial wetland or rain garden. It’s called a rape!
Shelter for birds may be trees (particularly evergreens), shrubs, rocks, brush piles, hollow logs, tall grasses or even an artificial structure such as a bird house. I have a plant decoration that looks like a rustic chair with a hole in the seat for a large flower pot. For decoration, a tiny bird house is attached to the top rung of the chair. Every year, a little wren builds a nest in it, and we startle each other all through June!
Shelter provides protection from weather and from predators, so your habitat should contain a variety of types of shelter at different levels, such as ground cover, meadow grasses, shrubs, small trees, evergreens, and tall trees.
Weed-free, insect-free, non-native grass lawns provide little or no benefit to birds. Consider changing part or all of your lawn to a natural habitat. Plant a bird-friendly native area instead. If you must keep parts of your yard as a lawn, consider allowing some wildflowers, such as plantain, violets, and clover to grow. Try to avoid pesticides and herbicides. Again, if you must to provide neighborhood harmony, treat only the most visible part of your yard and allow the clover and plantain flourish in less visible portions and spot spray invasives like Canada thistle.
Why am I yammering on about all this now – in early autumn? Why not wait and put this information out to you next spring instead? BECAUSE: the ideal weather for tree and shrub planting is overcast skies with temperatures between freezing and 70 degrees with high humidity. Doesn’t that sound a lot like our September and October to you? The combination of cooler temperatures and fall rain allows the plants to establish their roots, making it easier on them to adjust to extreme heat or drought in the summer.
So, as you enjoy this autumn, realize that a few tweaks can gain you additional tweets from our fine feathered friends.
Send us your questions and comments to the Shelby Purdue Extension Office – 317 392 6460 ext. 0 and https://extension.Purdue.edu/Shelby
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Early this summer, as my husband and I sat on the porch, we tried to identify which type of birds we were hearing. Cardinals, mourning doves, piliated woodpeckers, don’t know, don’t know, and don’t know.

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