Olbrich Home Crackle Fire and Froth

Bring Birds to the Garden

by Wendy Gasch, Horticulturist

Looking back over the past season, do you wish you had more avian friends visiting your garden? It may be easier than you think to encourage these feathered friends into your backyard. There are three key elements needed to create a bird-friendly garden: food, water, and shelter.

Adding bird feeders around the garden is a great way to give birds the initial invitation. Selecting plants that provide berries, seeds, and nuts during different seasons can encourage them to be year-round visitors. Crabapples, viburnums and cotoneasters are great berry-bearing plants. The Asteraceae family of perennials, including coneflower, black-eyed Susan, and globe thistle, also provides tasty treats for birds that enjoy seeds. Remember that insects are food too - refrain from using insecticides and let the bird population do the work for you.

Water can easily be added to the garden with a pond or birdbath. During Wisconsin winters, heated birdbaths are a great option for a year-round water source.

Evergreens are great plants to provide sheltered nesting and roosting sites. Leave a brush pile over the winter to provide additional shelter from local predators.

By providing a few key elements it's easy to transform the backyard into a fantastic habitat for birds.

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Olbrich Botanical Gardens is operated as a public-private partnership between the City of Madison Parks Division and the Olbrich Botanical Society.
Olbrich Botanical Gardens | 3330 Atwood Avenue, Madison, WI 53704. | Phone: (608)246-4550 | Fax: (608)246-4719