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Friday Favorite: For the Birds

April 27th, 2012

We love the birds that frequent the gardens of Chiot’s Run. I love watching them at the birdfeeder in winter, flitting around the gardens and nesting in the trees and birdhouses. Earlier this week I heard Mr Wren singing beautiful songs to me while I was out working and was happy to hear that he’s back. He’s already checking out the wren houses and will start building his nests, hoping one of them will attract a lovely lady wren.

The longer I garden here the more birds I see, not only in number but in variety as well. Birds aren’t just a pretty face in the garden, they provide valuable pest control. The more birds I have in my garden, the fewer pest problems I have. Wrens are especially great for cabbage worms, here at Chiot’s Run their broods hatch just about the time the cabbage worms are at their worst. Soon enough there are no cabbage worms in sight!

Another great thing about having lots of birds around is that you get to see them building nests and you get to watch the baby birds grow up and fledge. We have a robin that built a nest by our rain barrels the first year we put them up. They’ve come back to it every single year. I can’t get up and see the eggs, there’s not enough room, but I can spy the baby robins when they start to get big enough to barely fit in the nest.

We also have chickadees, hummingbirds, cardinals, finches, woodpeckers, and a few other varieties of birds that nest around here. Every year we see something new.

If you want to attract more birds to your garden there are a few things you can do:

*Don’t clean up your flowerbeds in the fall, allow seed producing plants to stand, this provides valuable food for the birds.

*When you want to add plants to your garden, focus on adding those that provide berries or seeds. For example, if you want a shrub rose, consider using ‘Rosa Rugosa’ which bloom beautifully, are very hardy and provide plentiful large hips in the fall for the birds.

*Add a source of clean water like a bird bath and refresh water regularly.

If I had to choose a favorite bird it would be the wren. I really love the male’s lovely song, I love watching them scurry around the garden gathering worms for their young and I especially love that they get used to me and will come almost right up next to me while I’m working and they’ll let me stand very close while feeding their young.

What’s your favorite bird to see in the garden?

If you want to read a little more about how to attract birds to your garden I did a whole series of posts about attracting and keeping birds in your garden, head on over to the Your Day Blog to read For Our Feathered Friends

15 Comments to “Friday Favorite: For the Birds”
  1. daisy on April 27, 2012 at 6:28 am

    I absolutely love having birds in the garden. There’s something so peaceful, so centering about hearing them sing. We also have several that make nests in our hollies every year. Last year we got to see the fledglings learning to fly!
    Thanks for the tips. I’ll be heading over to read more. Enjoy your weekend, Susy!

    Reply to daisy's comment

  2. Melissa on April 27, 2012 at 8:23 am

    I’d have to agree with your statement- the longer you garden there, the more they come! I’ve seen the bird population multiply greatly the longer we have been at this house. We went from almost none to loads of birds now. I get such a kick out of watching them flit about the yard.

    Reply to Melissa's comment

  3. Jessica on April 27, 2012 at 8:24 am

    I saw a goldfinch outside our house yesterday. He was certainly the most colorful specimen I’ve seen so far this year. My parents have a mockingbird outside their home, and I love listening to his repertoire.

    Reply to Jessica's comment

  4. Sincerely, Emily on April 27, 2012 at 9:30 am

    I love any bird that stops by the yards and gardens. Leaning towards chickadees and wrens. The wrens seem to be the most active in and out of the garden and I always see them with a bug of something in their beak. I built 6 bird houses a few years ago, only one is nested in this spring, but there are lots of birds and hopefully ones will move in some. Hummers hold a special place in my heat too. Enjoyed your bird photos. I hope to build more birdhouses for the front yard this year. (it’s on that long long list I have!)

    Reply to Sincerely, Emily's comment

  5. Lisa@The Cutting Edge of Ordinary on April 27, 2012 at 10:06 am

    I love the birds in my garden. I have 9 birdhouses (and couting!) I love the chickadees and the wrens. We had a Robin family last year, hope they are back this year. Haven’t seen them yet.

    My husband is building me a big bird “condo” this year. Not only is it decorative but it gives my beloved birds more space to nest.

    Reply to Lisa@The Cutting Edge of Ordinary's comment

  6. ANdrea Duke on April 27, 2012 at 10:58 am

    I love the birds too! We have lots of everything at my house. Chickadees to Woody Woodpeckers, plus dozens of wild turkeys. I have seen more babies and nests this year than any before. I don’t know if it’s me paying more attention or if it’s always been this way?

    Seeing and hearing lots of birds help me believe that there is still lots of hope even though we treat the world as badly as we do at times.

    Reply to ANdrea Duke's comment

  7. Angela on April 27, 2012 at 1:15 pm

    I love cardinals! I get so excited when I see their bright red bodies flying around my garden or coming to my deck. We also have robins, finches, & woodpeckers. We have a goldfish pond with a little waterfall, which provides a water source, and my neighbors have set up a bird feeder on their deck. Another great things about birds–they provide a nice source of entertainment for the kitties. Love your pictures of the baby robins poking their beaks out!

    Reply to Angela's comment

  8. KimH on April 27, 2012 at 4:50 pm

    My two favorite birds around my house are doves & owls.. I rarely see them, but I hear them every day. We also have a big crow or something in that family that is loud & obnoxious in the morning.. I’d really like to shoot that bird at least for about 10 minutes.. then I get over it.

    I too love cardinals and we get quite a few here, both male & female.
    Im not sure what kind of birds they are (maybe wrens) but there are some that build nests in/on our house eaves and in the V of a dormer. M’honey always tears their nests down but they always rebuild and he gives in..
    I should try to build them a box that they can nest in, close to where they want to live.. We’ll have to think about that… I hate it when he tears their nests down.. It makes me feel so sad..

    There are a variety of birds that visit my water fountain in my little sanctuary but I have no idea what they are other than the cardinals.

    Lovely pics..

    Reply to KimH's comment

    • Susy on April 27, 2012 at 5:45 pm

      We used to have a pair of Great Horned Owls here when we first moved in, then the woods behind our property was timbered and they moved away. Just last summer we noticed they were back, love seeing them on a rare occasion.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  9. Maybelline on April 27, 2012 at 6:40 pm

    Blue Jay (Scrub Jay really) AND at night the owl is marvelous.

    Reply to Maybelline's comment

  10. Anne on April 27, 2012 at 8:20 pm

    I just purchased a bird bath! I’m so excited to try to attract more birds to my gardens. I love your bird house – any suggestions for what to look for in a birdhouse?

    Reply to Anne's comment

    • Susy on April 27, 2012 at 9:05 pm

      I’d suggest natural wood, preferably cedar, no paint. The house in the first few photos was here when we moved in, it has been replaced with a cedar one. Birds are particularly sensitive to toxins and VOC’s so paint, stain, and non-wood products should be avoided. I purchased a few Perky-Pet 50301 Wren Home Cedar Birdhouse a few years ago and really love them. I wired them onto tree branches, they’re easy to clean, roomy, wrens love them and other birds do too. Mr Chiots has made a few as well. You might be able to find someone locally that makes all wooden birdhouses, but if not the one above is great, I have 3 of them in the garden.

      Reply to Susy's comment

      • Anne on April 27, 2012 at 9:11 pm

        Thanks so much! I hadn’t thought about paint/stain/etc – I appreciate the link and the info! :)

        to Anne's comment

      • Susy on April 27, 2012 at 9:54 pm

        I really love the quick & easy cleaning these houses provide in the spring, most of the other houses I have require removing screws. You can see them in a post I wrote last year about cleaning out the birdhouses in spring.

        to Susy's comment

  11. Misti on April 30, 2012 at 10:16 pm

    Recently I’ve found hummingbirds in our garden and really enjoy seeing them. They’ve been hovering near our nasturiums.

    At our place in Florida I loved seeing spot-breasted orioles that would appear in July-August in the garden.

    Reply to Misti's comment


This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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