Turn Up the Volume

A songbird garden guarantees a joyful noise.

By Cristina Santiestevan


Five Tips for Attracting Birds

  • Start with water. If you add only one songbird-attracting element, this should be it, says naturalist Cliff Fairweather, who recommends incorporating a drip or fountain if possible.
  • Offer a variety of natural foods. “Native plants are what native insects have evolved to eat,” says Fairweather. “Seed eaters depend on native grasses, thistles, and flower heads.” Many birds also eat fruits.
  • Create tempting nesting sites. Cavity nesters—bluebirds, wrens, and others—benefit from a variety of nesting boxes.
  • Design from ground to treetop. “Dense, layered vegetation is the best shelter and space for many birds,” says Fairweather.
  • Learn more. The more you know about your favorite birds, the better your chances of welcoming them into your garden.

Attracting Songbirds to Your Backyard: Hundreds of Easy Ways to Bring the Music and Beauty of Songbirds to Your Yard, a new book by Sally Roth, explains which birds sing when and why, and how to provide food and create habitat to encourage songbirds to make a home in your garden. Rodale, $31.95. Learn more.