Bird-Friendly Garden Tips from Garden Plot’s Mike McGrath
While spring is right around the corner, Mike says our feathered friends still need a little help in the garden before the weather takes a turn for the better. Mike offers some wonderful tips that will bring great activity and color to a garden in the most natural way. Consider the following to help take care of the natural birds in late winter gardens:
Rendered beef fat — yum! Although feeding wild birds in the spring and summer can have negative consequences, feeding them during the cold days and nights of late fall and winter is good for the birds, and your garden, if you provide the right kind of food, and in a word, that’s suet.
Suet now means fewer pests next summer. Suet feeders, however, pose no such problems; in fact, they have a wonderful and unexpected side benefit. By placing lots of these feeders around your landscape, you’ll attract the best of the pest-eating birds, like chickadees, wrens, swallows, vireos and woodpeckers — just to name a few of the birds whose spring and summer diet consists of 85 percent or more of insect pests.
The right stuff. Feed the right birds with the right food now and those birds will make nests, lay their eggs and feed their hungry little babies with your garden pests in the spring and summer.
Stale bread is for stuffing, not birds. Whatever you do, do not feed stale (or fresh) bread to your birds. Yes, they will eagerly eat it. And yes, it will quickly fill them up. But it is essentially devoid of the fat and protein they need to make it through winter. Feeding nothing at all is much better for your birds than feeding them bread.