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Attract Birds to Your Home and Garden

By plantladylin
September 29, 2011

Birds can be a great asset to gardeners. Plant berry-producing shrubs and trees on your property. They offer nesting spots as well as food for the birds. Supply additional housing by making or purchasing inexpensive birdhouses to place on your property. Place nesting material around the property for the birds to use when building their nests. Cotton fabric or string, straw, human hair strands, pet fur ... but NO DRYER LINT, as it can contain perfumes and dyes and is not good for baby birds.

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Name: Renée
Northern KY
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KyWoods
Sep 28, 2011 6:15 PM CST
I put the dead leaves from my spider plants near the bird feeders--I figure long, thin leaves are good for weaving into nests.
About dryer lint: I read somewhere that it's bad also because it stays wet when it rains/snows.
Name: Michele Roth
N.E. Indiana - Zone 5b
I'm always on my way out the door..
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chelle
Sep 28, 2011 7:38 PM CST
Great tips, Lynn!

About two out of every three plants here were chosen and acquired with the thought in mind of nurturing wildlife. Most of the other third the birds themselves distributed! Hilarious!

My drier lint goes on the ground *Blush* - first come, first served, though I can't say as I've seen anything like it in any of the nests I've perused. Most of the birds here seem to be using pampas grass plumes and old leaf tips. I love to see these tiny creatures fight a 15' plant - and win!! Smiling
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Name: Sandi
Austin, Tx (Zone 8b)
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Bubbles
Sep 28, 2011 8:44 PM CST
I didn't know that about lint. I won't put it out for them anymore Great tip!
Name: Ann ~Heat zn 9, Sunset
North Fl. (Zone 8b)
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flaflwrgrl
Sep 29, 2011 7:01 AM CST
Hurray! Lin! I agree
I am a strong believer in the simple fact is that what matters in this life is how we treat others. I think that's what living is all about. Not what I've done in my life but how I've treated others.
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Name: Lin
Florida (Zone 9b)
Region: United States of America Morning Glories Region: Florida Houseplants Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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plantladylin
Sep 29, 2011 8:21 AM CST
I was watching a show on HGTV recently where a realtor was showing a home and I was shocked when the prospective buyer made a comment that there were too many noisy birds around the property! I guess there are some folks who don't like birds but I love having birds around and can't imagine not attracting them to my garden! I enjoy photographing them but I also enjoy watching the adults collect nesting material, and the babies when they fledge the nest ... but the best part of having birds around is hearing their beautiful songs! At times birds like the Blue Jay and Crow can be quite loud and boisterous but I don't mind because their melodic tunes make up for the instances when their calls may be loud and annoying. I have numerous bird feeders scattered about but I also like having berry and fruit producing shrubs and trees that will attract birds ... for a choir of beautiful bird voices!
Thumb of 2011-09-29/plantladylin/8574dd
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Name: Toni
Denver Metro (Zone 5a)
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Skiekitty
Sep 29, 2011 9:10 AM CST
Actually, long human hair is the worst thing for baby birds. When I was breeding canaries, sometimes some of my hair would end up the nests. Had one baby nearly lose a foot because one of my hairs ended up winding around her leg. A couple of more hours & I wouldn't have been able to save her foot. It had cut off the circulation something fierce and it was all swollen & purple and nasty. Poor thing. Unwound the hair, snipping EVER so carefully w/surgical scissors, and the foot was free. She couldn't stand on it for a few days, but after about a week was just 100% fine.
Roses are one of my passions! Just opened, my Etsy shop (to fund my rose hobby)! http://www.etsy.com/shop/TweetsnTreats
Name: Lin
Florida (Zone 9b)
Region: United States of America Morning Glories Region: Florida Houseplants Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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plantladylin
Sep 29, 2011 9:29 AM CST
Toni, Re: length of hair, that is a good point! I hadn't even thought about length of hair because I always snip strands of hair, fabric etc. into 3 inch or so pieces. I've always heard that mama birds know best (what is and isn't good when it comes to nesting material for their babies), but just like human mama's ... new bird mama's can sometimes be naive and inexperienced too! I'm so glad you were able to save that baby bird!
~ Eat, Sleep .... Play in the dirt ~
Name: Charleen
Barnesville, Ga. Zone 7b-8 (Zone 8a)
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Ridesredmule
Sep 29, 2011 11:15 AM CST
the birds love it here. When Charley and the donkeys get their feet trimmed, I trim their manes, so you know the birds have furlined nests here. Great ideas...
Name: Lin
Florida (Zone 9b)
Region: United States of America Morning Glories Region: Florida Houseplants Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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plantladylin
Sep 29, 2011 11:25 AM CST
Aaaw Charleen ... I bet your backyard birds have great nests with Charley fur incorporated in them!
~ Eat, Sleep .... Play in the dirt ~
Name: Susie
Phoenix AZ (Zone 9a)
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Aguane
Sep 29, 2011 11:50 AM CST
Good reminder about the dryer lint. I throw mine away though I used to save it and add it to the concrete mixture when making my garden mirrors.

Charlene. My great grandfather's big old cushy leather chair was stuffed with horse hair. Don't suppose you could buy one like it today.... EPA or FDA issues or something.
“Don't give up too quickly"... unknown, I heard it somewhere.
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Name: Charleen
Barnesville, Ga. Zone 7b-8 (Zone 8a)
Walk in Peace / I'm Charley's Mom.
Miniature Gardening Mules Tip Photographer I sent a postcard to Randy! I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Lover: Loves 'em all!
Charter ATP Member Garden Ideas: Level 2 Seller of Garden Stuff Butterflies Birds Region: Georgia
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Ridesredmule
Sep 29, 2011 12:03 PM CST
I bet not. Do you know they used to mix horsehair into cement when they used lathes in houses? When I lived in Mo. and replaced a wall in the kitchen, we had to tear out the lathes and there was hair in the,. See how ingenious folks and animals are??? I bet it would cost a lot more now Susie...
Name: Ginger
Fountain, Florida (Zone 8b)
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gingin
Sep 29, 2011 12:14 PM CST
FYI re pet hair....if you use Advantage or other liquid flea prevention it is OK to use as long as you let the hair sit for 2 weeks or so before putting it out for the birds. I actually called the 800# to find out Smiling
Each cloud has a silver lineing if only you look for it.
Name: Lin
Florida (Zone 9b)
Region: United States of America Morning Glories Region: Florida Houseplants Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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plantladylin
Sep 29, 2011 12:32 PM CST
Thumbs up Thanks gingin ... I don't use flea preventive on my cat (I'm lucky she hasn't had any flea problems in years!) but that is a great tip ... we sure don't want to put anything out for our feathered friends that may harm them or their little nestlings!
~ Eat, Sleep .... Play in the dirt ~
Name: Susie
Phoenix AZ (Zone 9a)
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Aguane
Sep 29, 2011 12:36 PM CST
It's amazing the birdies can survive drinking runoff water out of street gutters. I always wonder that the tar, lyme, auto oils, gasoline, metals don't damage the little birds.
“Don't give up too quickly"... unknown, I heard it somewhere.
~ All Things Plants, SOUTHWEST GARDENING ~Cubits.org ENERGY & POWER
Name: Lin
Florida (Zone 9b)
Region: United States of America Morning Glories Region: Florida Houseplants Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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plantladylin
Sep 29, 2011 12:57 PM CST
Susie: I agree. I'm not sure what the life expectancy is of our backyard birds, but with what they ingest and endure it truly is amazing that they survive for very long! It might be normal, but this year I've noticed what seems like numerous birds that have obvious mite problems, some with totally bald heads. For a few years we had a common Northern Mockingbird (pictured below) with a damaged beak and he seemed to thrive. I haven't seen him this year but he was around for two or three years always hanging in the tree until a feeder was clear of other birds before he would go to eat.
Thumb of 2011-09-29/plantladylin/b550de
~ Eat, Sleep .... Play in the dirt ~
Name: Toni
Denver Metro (Zone 5a)
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.
Charter ATP Member Irises Salvias Xeriscape Birds I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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Skiekitty
Sep 29, 2011 12:59 PM CST
Susie - There's a European country (Danish?) that sells mattresses for like $50,000 - 100% hand crafted & the fill is horse hair. Supposed to be the most wonderful mattress in the world. I found this company, dunno if it's the same one, but this one is based in NYC.

http://www.chbeckley.com/prod_mattresses_bristol.html

There's no prices on them, so you can be assured that it's not for poor people like me. Big Grin

Charleen - You know, I was wondering why on earth I've seen hair in the plaster when I was helping remodel my father's house in NNY! Huh.. would never have thought to use hair in the mix, but I know how strong my hair is and it *is* a lot safer than like asbestos or lead!

Lin - I keep a minimum of 3 feeders filled with thistle (nyjer) seed so I have tons of goldfinches & house finches. I don't care much for sparrows (they're not native to the US) or starlings (not native either), the doves keep the area under the feeders clean, and I have tons & tons of robins looking for bugs/worms all over my mulched yard. And I just love it when I go into the back yard 'cuz I'm watering and seeing over a dozen robins playing in the sprinkler!! I have blue jays as well.. noisy buggers. But what awes me the most is the neighbor house has 3 huge cottonwoods in it, and in one of them there's a pair of kites nesting (3 years in a row!). It's amazing to walk outside & see a kite sitting on the fenceline less than 10 feet from you!!
Roses are one of my passions! Just opened, my Etsy shop (to fund my rose hobby)! http://www.etsy.com/shop/TweetsnTreats
Name: Lin
Florida (Zone 9b)
Region: United States of America Morning Glories Region: Florida Houseplants Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Procrastinator Birds Butterflies Bee Lover Hummingbirder Container Gardener
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plantladylin
Sep 29, 2011 1:11 PM CST
Toni: Which Kite do you have in Colorado? I bet it is wonderful to see them so close! In spring and early summer we sometimes see the large Swallow-tailed Kites around ... always hunting for smaller prey. Sad We also have a couple of different types of hawks year round that prey on my little backyard birds. I guess it's to be expected though, all a part of nature. This is a picture I took in July, a Cooper's Hawk in a backyard tree:
Thumb of 2011-09-29/plantladylin/6d3b49
~ Eat, Sleep .... Play in the dirt ~
Name: Susie
Phoenix AZ (Zone 9a)
Southwest Gardening~ moderator/ATP.
Charter ATP Member Tip Photographer Forum moderator Region: Southwest Gardening Garden Ideas: Level 2 Roses
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Aguane
Sep 29, 2011 1:22 PM CST
Toni,
Wow! $50,000. That's more than my first house cost!
Sounds like a "dream sleep" for an NBA player, a rapper, a shiekh, or Gwyneth Paltrow.
“Don't give up too quickly"... unknown, I heard it somewhere.
~ All Things Plants, SOUTHWEST GARDENING ~Cubits.org ENERGY & POWER
Name: Lin
Florida (Zone 9b)
Region: United States of America Morning Glories Region: Florida Houseplants Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Procrastinator Birds Butterflies Bee Lover Hummingbirder Container Gardener
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plantladylin
Sep 29, 2011 1:38 PM CST
Wow, that is an expensive mattress!! Maybe I should get me a few horses and start hoarding their fur to sell to mattress makers! Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing
~ Eat, Sleep .... Play in the dirt ~
Name: Toni
Denver Metro (Zone 5a)
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.
Charter ATP Member Irises Salvias Xeriscape Birds I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Procrastinator The WITWIT Badge Region: Colorado Enjoys or suffers cold winters Cat Lover
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Skiekitty
Sep 29, 2011 3:12 PM CST
Lin - I think they're red kites.. every time I see one I don't have a camera and every time I have my camera, they're no where to be found! Here at work we have the prairie falcon & red tailed hawks everywhere. I've seen a couple of bald eagles migrating through, but never golden eagles. The kites make work of the squirrels and prairie dogs that abound in my area.. which is good because both carry ticks & prairie dogs carry monkey pox and bubonic plague.

Susie - LOLLLLLL I wish my house only cost $50K...

Lin - I know of people who collect horse/goat/dog/cat hair to make into stuff.. mostly doghair & cathair sweaters. http://www.amazon.com/Knitting-Dog-Hair-Better-Sweater/dp/03...
Roses are one of my passions! Just opened, my Etsy shop (to fund my rose hobby)! http://www.etsy.com/shop/TweetsnTreats

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