The Best Birds for Your Garden

Find out how to attract these helpful birds—and why.

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how to attract bluebirds to the gardenBirds will eat insect pests year-round in your garden, if you provide a few of the basic necessities to attract and keep them nearby. Here’s how to attract 10 of the best birds for controlling garden pests.

Bluebirds

Bluebirds sing for spring and for their supper of garden pests. The spring diet of the western bluebird (which ranges from southern British Columbia down to central Mexico and from the Pacific to west Texas) is entirely insects, especially grasshoppers! Beetles, weevils, crickets, and caterpillars—sprinkled with the occasional ant, fly, centipede, sowbug, and snail—are the meals of choice for most bluebirds.

They prefer to nest in sunny, open areas. Their perfect nest box would be mounted on a post within 50 feet of a tree (facing it, if possible), fence, or other structure away from bushy hedgerows.

Photo: (cc) John Benson/Flickr

 

how to attract chickadees to the gardenChickadees
Don’t let their sweet song fool you. Chickadees and their cousins, titmice, are pest-control champions throughout the United States and Canada. As much as 90 percent of their diet consists of insects—moths, caterpillars, flies, beetles, bugs, plant lice, scale, leafhoppers, and tree hoppers.

In winter, chickadees stay on patrol, searching bark crevices for hibernating insects and the eggs of moths, plant lice, pear psylla, and katydids.

To keep chickadees and titmice on patrol in the winter, provide some suet in a mesh bag or a feeder full of sunflower seeds. In spring, provide a nest box packed with wood chips. If possible, place the nest box at the edge of a wooded area.

Photo: (cc) John Benson/Flickr

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