One of the fastest growing hobbies in the US is bird watching. More than 46 million people consider themselves to be bird watchers and about 60 million people regularly feed birds in order to attract them to their yards. While many varieties of bird seed blends are readily available, the cost can quickly add up. Rather than just purchasing seed to fill your bird feeders, another option is to install and grow a variety of plants, trees and grasses in your yard now so that they will produce berries and seeds that birds like to eat. Many of these are native to our region, and generally are more drought and pest resistant, which can help reduce the need for supplemental watering and the use of yard chemicals.
Inviting birds to become frequent visitors to your yard has other benefits as well. Most songbirds primarily eat insects and spiders during the spring and summer months, which can help reduce the insect pest population in your yard without the use of insecticides.
It’s also important to provide a water source to encourage birds to stick around. A birdbath with a gently sloping shallow bowl (which birds prefer) is a simple and easy to install water feature to add to your yard, but any shallow, wide container or similar vessel lined with some clean gravel or rocks, filled with a few inches of water, and placed on the ground can work just as well. Then, just sit back and enjoy your visitors!