There once was a time when I watched bird enthusiasts and asked myself, “What could possibly be so interesting that someone would spend hours on end sitting still, looking at these avian subjects?” Now, with many decades under my belt I find that I am fascinated by birds, to the point of even joining my local chapter of the Audubon Society and attending bird-watching field trips.

Cedar Waxwing - Illustration by Helen KrayenhoffGardening has always been big for me, both as a vocation and a hobby. But wildlife in the garden was only a sideline interest; one that I addressed only peripherally, focusing on the plants for their botanical virtues instead. For me, the tipping point was reading the book What the Robin Knows, by Jon Young. My eyes were opened to a world of communication and interactions that I had previously not noticed. Much of my rural garden is unfenced, allowing intruders of all sorts. The birds alert me to things like cats, coyotes, hawks, humans, and stray dogs that are either hunting or just passing through.

The bird population will be different in urban, suburban, or rural garden settings, but all offer an opportunity to observe and learn. Whether a simple hummingbird feeder situated where it can be viewed from indoors, a suet feeder during winter, or a seed feeder strategically placed out of reach of squirrels, it is easy to attract birds to your garden. We can provide you with a list of plants and techniques for creating a Backyard Bird Habitat. While you are planning, remember to provide plants for shelter and food, and water during the warmer months.

Each one of us has our favorites; mine include Nuthatches, Juncos, Towhees, Woodpeckers, and Hummingbirds. Unfortunately some birds can become a nuisance. Each year my sunflower and squash plants are shredded by Goldfinches, and Sapsuckers drill holes in my fruit tree trunks. I have grown to accept these minor infractions as part of the package that comes from attracting wildlife to my garden. Your experiences may vary. Ask our sales associates about theirs.

Now, most mornings around sunrise I grab some binoculars, a field guide, and a cup of coffee for some time with my feathered friends in the garden.