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If you like sitting on your porch, watching and listening to the birds, consider creating a park-like atmosphere you and the birds would enjoy in your own backyard. You can attract a variety of birds to visit with the proper selection and arrangement of ornamental trees, shrubs and food producing plants.

The main thing to remember is that a bird habitat needs the following four things – food, shelter, nesting areas and water. Many ornamental trees and shrubs can provide both the need for nesting space as well as cover to hide from predators or to shelter during inclement weather. You want a mix of deciduous and evergreen plants so that birds will have some sort of cover year round, with approximately 25% evergreen trees and shrubs.

When planning a landscape to attract birds, you will need variety to provide a year-round food source. Using native trees and shrubs will ensure fruits and berries are available and certain annual and perennial flowers will add seed sources as well. You can also supplement with commercial birdseed during periods when food isn’t available in your landscape. Sunflower seeds, millet, safflower and peanut kernels seem to be favorites for multiple bird species.

A clean, fresh water source must be available to maintain your bird population. It should be shallow, no more than two to three inches deep, and refresh the water weekly if not more often. The birdbath itself should also be cleaned on a regular basis to clear out any algae that may be growing. A shallow fountain with running water would be ideal. If possible, elevate your water source or place it in an open area to minimize access by predators.

For a list of recommended trees and shrubs, see Attracting Birds to Your Backyard at https://secure.caes.uga.edu/extension/publications/files/pdf/C%20976_2.PDF.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact Brenda Jackson at Murray County Extension at 706-695-3031 or email bljack@uga.edu

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