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Top 10 Flowers You Can Grow for Birds
Looking for plants that are easy to grow, and repay the effort of planting them with gifts for both people and birds? Author, artist, and naturalist Julie Zickefoose lists ten flowers that are well-suited for the purpose.
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Goldfinch Salad
American goldfinches do not visit feeders as often in the summer as they do at other times of year. One way to get goldfinches to visit your yard is to grow plants they like. Generally, the goldfinch is a seedeater, preferring seeds from birch and alder trees, burdock, chickweed, and dandelion. But they also eat the leaves of Swiss chard and beets.
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Ask Birdsquatch: Suet Dough and Bluebird Boxes
Our tall, hairy, and slightly stinky columnist answers reader questions about feeding suet dough, why nest boxes might fail, and pizza. Birdsquatch loves pizza.
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How to Attract More Cardinals
What is the most attractive feeder food for cardinals? What types of feeders do they favor? These are important questions if you're looking for ways to attract cardinals to your yard. We have the answers!
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Cozy Winter Housing for Birds
If you think birdhouses are just for nesting, you're wrong. On cold, winter nights, songbirds use tree cavities and human-provided nest boxes as shelter. There are ways to make such boxes more welcoming for your winter resident birds.
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City Yard, Country Yard
WBB Contributor Andy Haynes Avery recently moved from an urban neighborhood in Bloomington, Indiana, to a rural area with a wildlife refuge nearly across the street. Her yard birds changed, but not in way she expected.
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Helping Hummingbirds in Fall
It's a myth that a hummingbird, or any bird for that matter, will be deterred from heading south in the fall because of human-provided food. Instinct and hormonal urges are what drive birds to migrate, and hummingbirds are no different. Besides, there is good reason to leave your nectar feeder up and full of fresh sugar water until the temperature dips to below freezing, even if you haven't seen a hummer for weeks.
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Caterpillars for the Birds
Most nesting birds feed their young protein in the form of insects, especially soft and juicy caterpillars. Some birds are strictly insectivorous, and those are unlikely to visit your seed feeders. A great way to see warblers, vireos, and other such birds is to encourage caterpillars in your garden.
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Plant a tree for the birds: Even a dead tree!
Here's a very affordable way to please birds! Songbirds need perches. If you can find room to plant just one tree, ideally a species native to your area, birds will find your yard to be friendlier and more welcoming, and more will visit you. If you have a tiny yard and no place to plant a tree, or if you have a postage-stamp-sized yard, or only a porch, deck or balcony to offer the birds, "plant" a dead tree! Not a plastic one, but a branch from a real tree—the biggest one you can comfortably fit in the space you have for it.
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How—and Why—to Clean Your Bird Feeders
Although it is rare—even unheard of—for humans to become sick from handling a bird feeder, there is no doubt that microorganisms flourish on their surface. That's why it's important for you to wash your hands after handling your feeders, including after refilling them. Much more of a threat are illnesses and diseases spread among the birds that visit and share feeders. To keep your feeder birds healthy, and to prevent the spread of disease, follow these steps.
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Plan Your Bird Garden Now
The weather outside might be frightful for a month or two longer, but dedicated gardeners know that winter is the best time to plan a garden. Use these winter months to devise a plan to make your yard more friendly and accommodating to the birds!
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Holiday Tree for the Birds
Wendy Clark has always enjoyed holiday decorating, but now she lives in a condo that doesn't allow much room for a holiday tree. Instead of overstuffing her small living room with a tree, she places it outside on the deck and decorates it with teacups filled with birdseed.
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It's Always a Good Time for a Nest Box!
People may tell you that nest boxes must be put up in the springtime, when birds start to sing, mate, and build nests. Actually, nest boxes can be put up any time of year. The longer a nest box is part of your backyard habitat, the more likely birds are to accept and use it.
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The Value of Brush Piles
If the weather gets harsh in your part of the continent, you can give birds shelter, a safe place to eat, and a place to hide from predators with a backyard brush pile. Simply pile up sticks, fallen branches, and even your holiday tree when you're done with it, to form a brushy tangle.
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Autumn Gardening Tips for Your Yard Birds
Whether you'd like to admit it or not, summer is over and autumn is upon us. Spring cleaning gets lots of attention, but for the backyard bird watcher, there's just as much to do in fall as in spring. Check out four tips to help your backyard birds in fall.
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Putting Out the Welcome Mat
Almost all migratory birds are experiencing population decreases due to loss of habitats and environmental contamination. Nonmigratory resident birds, too, are feeling the effects of the growing human population. This is not a call to rally on the White House lawn. You can do your part in your own backyard.
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Birdbath Cleaning
Keep your birdbath clean. It's a simple adage, oft repeated, but there are reasons to be scrupulous that go beyond hygiene and aesthetics. Of course, the birds' health comes first. If we're going to provide water, we owe it to them to give the bath a good scrubbing when droppings and algae foul the water. Bird droppings contain nitrogen, which is algae fuel, so the quicker we get rid of them, the cleaner our bath will stay.
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What's In Your Yard?
If birds have vanished from your yard, perhaps they are trying to tell you something about your landscaping. Birds prefer landscapes that are a bit wild and unkempt.
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Do sapsuckers damage trees?
Sometimes, yes, sapsuckers damage trees. Their boring won’t kill the tree, but it will weaken the wood and allow the potential for disease to enter. But not necessarily. We’ve seen enormous, healthy-looking trees with sapsucker scars. Unless you plan to sell your tree for lumber, you might never notice a health problem with the tree. Odds are, it will live for many decades despite the sapsucker holes.
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Garden projects
If you've got some time to spare, here are a few backyard projects to keep you going on those slow weekends.
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Readers Write: Waiting in Line
When my son, Ryan, and daughter, Amanda, were around 5 and 3 years old, we built our first squirrel box as a family project. Soon after placing it high in our maple trees, squirrels began to entertain as we watched their babies grow and frolic in and on top of the box—our gift to them.

Semi-retired 35 years later, I decided to relive the good times past by placing a new squirrel box in our mulberry tree.
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Make a Resolution to Start a Yard List!
You don't have to be an avid birder to keep a bird list. If you're serious about feeding the birds, why not keep track of the bird species that you have seen at your feeders, in your trees and shrubbery, or otherwise in or over your yard or property?
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Don't Cut Evening Primrose!
The seeds of evening primrose can be a valuable food source for birds in cold climates throughout North America. Each flower produces hundreds of seeds, and when the flower dies, it holds on to some and drops others. The stalks of dead evening primrose are "Eat Here" signs to songbirds, marking a likely food source at the base.
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Don't Throw Away Your Pumpkin Seeds!
As you scrape out pumpkin guts for a pie or jack-o'-lantern, don't throw away the seeds! Don't even compost them! Squash seeds of any sort, including pumpkins, are a high protein treat for birds.
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The Top 10 Tips for Dealing with Raccoons
Raccoons are undeniably cute, but they are not good neighbors. If raccoons are raiding your feeders by night, these 10 tips are for you. Most backyard feeder perperators can use all the help they can get in fighting this mammalian marauder.
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Gardening for Hummingbirds
If you only have a little room in your garden, or want to simplify things and plant a few flowers that really appeal to hummingbirds, you can't go wrong with these recommendations.
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Five Tips for Welcoming Native Sparrows to Your Yard
Winter can bring more northerly sparrows into your yard. Here's how you can make your yard more inviting for native sparrows.
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Supplying Skulkers and Wallflowers
Winter may be the best time of year for backyard feeding stations, as wild food sources become scarcer. In our yard in northwestern West Virginia, we also take an extra step that is often undervalued: We spread some handfuls of mixed seed on the ground in sheltered spots where we know skulking birds hide.
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Top 10 Summer Backyard Enhancers for Your Birds
Looking ways to attract birds to your backyard this summer? Here are 10 suggestions for enhancing the bird-friendliness of your backyard. These tips will work no matter where you live in North America!
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Top Ten Signs of Spring Outside My Window
Most people can't wait for spring to arrive, and backyard bird watchers seem especially eager for the earth, spinning on its invisible axis, to lean closer to the sun. When the winter weather breaks, it's time to get outside to look for hopeful signs that spring is on its way!
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