|Mike's Gardening Tips
Hope You Fed The Boids THIS Winter...
Well, its official--this was one nasty winter! We gardeners just can't wait for the warmer days soon to come! In the meantime, I hope all of youse gardeners out there have been feeding your birds. Set out a few blocks of suet and hang some sunflower seed feeders and you get double benefit--you bring a little living color to your winter landscape, and you get those birds in place to build their Springtime nests on your property and not someone else's! And many of those year-round birds, like woodpeckers, cardinals, nuthatches and chickadees, are awesome eaters of insect pests!
But now that we finally CAN see Spring at the end of the tunnel, its time to back off the suet down South--once the weather starts hitting 70 suet can make a mess on bird's feathers and impede their ability to fly well. AND the bad bugs start coming in droves once the weather warms up that much, and you don't want your pretty birdies wasting their time with suet when there's borers and cankerworms on the potential menu!
And the CHAMPION Pest-Eating Birdie IS...
Attract "The Champ" And Other Bug-Eating Boids
You'll find many sites on the web that show you the right kind of houses and nesting boxes to use to attract the most beneficial birds. One of my favorites is www.audubonworkshop.com. Click on "houses and boxes" and you'll see lots of different designs--buy 'em ready made or create your own utilizing the in-depth descriptions of each birds needs, likes and dislikes
I also really like the National Wildlife Federation's Backyard Habitat program; it tells you everything you need to do to create a mini wildlife sanctuary on your property; which is especially great if you're an organic gardener--bring in enough birds, bats, frogs, toads and beneficial insects and your pest control chores will consist of sipping iced tea all summer! They're on the web at www.nwf.org.
...HERE'S How to Get Those Boo-tea-full Boids to STAY!
To get them to patrol your garden areas in Summer, provide a water source in the center of your plantings. A little pond or fountain--or the classic birdbath. Keep it filled during dry and busy times, and freshen up the water twice a week if it isn't used up. Having a water source close to the ground--like just the top of a birdbath sitting in the center of a bed--attracts even more species. Be sure and position these water sources right in the middle of your plants. That way, the birds will see all your potential pests on the way in and out.