All yards can, potentially, be natural habitats for birds.
Even though our neighborhoods occupy what was once their natural habitat, it needn’t be a catastrophe. The right selection and location of plants will offer a nearly natural habitat for song birds.
Surprisingly, wild birds readily accept this substitution, and our backyard bird gardens become an extension of the surrounding natural habitat.
Converting your backyard into a bird garden can be a great family activity. In fact, just watching and feeding wild birds is a great way for the entire family to become aware of bird conservation.
Those members of the family with limited mobility can still enjoy nature from a window, patio, or deck. Imagine the impact of a bird garden for seniors and shut-ins, and for the ill or disabled.
Bird gardens are perfect conservation classrooms. One of the most exciting lessons is learning the various species of birds in your area.
You will need a good, easy-to-use field guide, such as Birds of North America, or Peterson’s East and West. An online search for “bird field guides” will provide you with many more.
You will learn that birds are identified according to their physical characteristics. For example, distinguishing a crow from a turkey is obvious just by looking at them.
These characteristics are helpful in recognizing the birds that visit your backyard bird garden: Size – overall ; Shape of their bodies; Coloring; Special markings; Shapes of their beaks; In-flight shape of wings and feet.
Your family, especially the kids, will become experts at distinguishing bird calls. Each species is unique, and most are obvious. A Sparrow’s “chipping” is quite plain in comparison to a Cardinal’s lovely “trilling” song.
A natural bird habitat can actually be a neighborhood of backyards (from a bird’s point of view)… with each backyard gardener contributing to the success of this unique bird habitat.
So, the question remains… just how vital is your individual backyard garden to wild birds?
Assuming you have selected and located your plantings correctly, wild birds will treat your backyard garden as a natural continuation of their normal habitat.
And the answer is… you and your bird garden are enormously vital to their survival!