Not all birds eat seeds. People love to put up bird feeders, and fill them with seeds, but there are many birds that would thank you for some bugs. You can do a lot to attract a variety of birds to your yard by encouraging a diversity of insect life. Bluebirds like grasshoppers, crickets, beetles, larvae, and moths. Cardinals like beetles, grasshoppers, leafhoppers, stinkbugs, and snails. Chickadees like aphids, whitefly, caterpillars, ants, and earwigs. Grosbeaks like larvae, caterpillars, and beetles. Nuthatches like tree and shrub insects such as borers, caterpillars, ants, and earwigs.
Birds Canada is a non-profit, charitable organization built on the enthusiastic contributions of thousands of caring members and volunteer Citizen Scientists. They collect data either through Citizen Science or targeted research projects that help identify significant changes in bird populations, and helps direct conservation planning. They are Canada’s voice for the birds. Their mission is to conserve wild birds through sound science, on-the-ground actions, partnerships, engaging the public, and advocacy based in science.
Birds Canada has launched a new conservation initiative called “Gardening for Birds” that promotes the creation of nature-friendly gardens that will benefit birds across Canada. The website BirdGardens.ca has videos, facts, and resources, alongside practical information that will help Canadians from all provinces and territories protect birds and wildlife. “Gardening for Birds” has a database of 500 native plants. You can learn what species of plants are best suited to a specific part of the country, and what birds you can attract to your area. You can even focus on specific interests such as finding good pollinator plants for butterflies or hummingbirds, or find out what kind of coniferous trees will attract finches.
This website, and movement, focuses on making areas of our lives, such as our yards, more hospitable for many different types of wildlife. It goes further than merely putting sunflower seeds in a bird feeder to attract cardinals (although that’s still a very worthwhile and rewarding thing to do!). Native plants will attract native birds, insects, amphibians, and other animals. These small ecosystems focus on the complete system, not just one type of bird. Not all birds eat sunflower seeds! Knowing what kind of plants and insects will attract which birds is exciting. Helping to build ecosystems for a variety of species is rewarding. This website is full of practical information, with the goal of helping people be empowered to help in conservation. It doesn’t need to be daunting or overwhelming. Even small-scale efforts can benefit local and migratory birds. Even small changes can yield big results, helping to create natural habitats though choosing native plants that attract birds, offering water sources, and helping to provide places to nest and roost. You don’t need a hummingbird feeder if you plant some flowers that attract hummingbirds and butterflies, such as bee balm, lupine, salvia, butterfly weed, cardinal flower, and wild bergamot. For help to make a garden hospitable to birds, including the ones who eat bugs, check them out BirdGardens.ca