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Wildlife Gardening

Many people start watching birds at feeders in their back yards. Besides feeders, gardens may be designed and planted so that birds feel more comfortable. This can attract more birds to your yard by providing food, water, cover and places to rear young.

In addition to increasing your enjoyment of birds in your garden, wildlife gardens serve a larger purpose. Human development modifies and fragments the landscape. These areas reduce resources for birds and usually favor competitors and predators. These impacts can be modified by thoughtful planning and zoning at the city and county levels and by better landscaping at the home, school and neighborhood levels.

A great deal is known about these problems and we need to think about applying solutions to help birds. Think about an environment that a birds and wildlife enjoy and you will probably find it enjoyable, too. The plants in this photo are all either Oregon natives or wildlife and insect friendly. Ground feeding birds have mulch or litter to scratch in for seeds, grubs and insects. Others, such as hummingbirds, warblers, vireos and tanagers find nectar, fruit and insects among the various perennials, shrubs and trees. Hedges in the background and elsewhere in the garden provide cover and potential roosting and nesting sites. Simple drippers and baths are nearby to provide water.

The Audubon Society encourages the application of these principles through Audubon At Home. At this site, you will find basic information about wildlife gardens, links and resources for additional information and action plans to help you get started.

Similar programs are sponsored by the National Wildlife Federation and 4-H, and the Oregon State University Extension Service, which has several related publications about creating hummingbird and butterfly gardens, design and plant selection for sustainable landscapes, design and plant selection for water conserving landscapes and a guide for developing hedgerows, mainly for larger acreages.

Several local businesses and organizations have products and information to help you start gardening for birds.

Wild Birds Unlimited

Garland Nursery, Corvallis

Shonnard’s Nursery, Corvallis

Wallace Hansen Nursery, Salem

Benton County Soil and Water Conservation District Plant Sale

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Audubon Society of Corvallis
PO Box 148
Corvallis, OR 97339
Email: Audubon.Corvallis@gmail.com