Mar 28, 2016 | Featured in: Watching Backyard Birds, April 2016

Plant a tree for the birds: Even a dead tree!

Make your backyard more attractive to backyard birds by adding perches. Logs and large tree branches will do the trick.
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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. Birds are naturally attracted to tree branches and use them as a staging area as they make their way to your feeder.

Of course, you'll have to figure out a way to secure your "tree" to the porch or deck railing. If you have room to "plant" it in your postage-stamp yard, sink it at least one foot into the ground for every four feet above ground. Better still, drive half the length of a four-foot piece of rebar into the ground, leaving two feet above ground to support your new "tree." Use sturdy string or wire to tie the branch to the bar. As the wood ages and dries out, depending upon the tree species, it may become brittle and may need to be replaced. (But it won't cost a thing if you can find a new one on a hike.)





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  • I am excited to have my daughter’s tree this year, since my landlord has removed the lovely yew next to my patio, which was the only shelter for birds at my feeder.
    by pmalcpoet, Mon, 20 Dec 2021
  • Goldfinches will continue as long as Swiss chard is available. I'm watching one eating chard right now (mid-November in Vermont).
    by Brian Tremback, Sun, 14 Nov 2021
  • Birds are on the decline though sunflowers are rarely touched and for weeks hardly .eaten. I'll try a few sparing nuts on the table and a fat ball broken for jackdaws and tits but mealworms were a summer favourite being my go to choice
    by Paul Harabaras, Thu, 04 Nov 2021
  • I’ve been enjoying goldfinches eating coneflower/ echinacea seeds in my new pollinator garden! I will leave the plants out all winter for them if the seeds keep that long? Or should I deadhead and put them in a dry area? Im in CT and thought they migrated, but didn’t know they put in winter coats! What do they eat in winter without bird feeders?
    by Anne Sheffield, Sat, 04 Sep 2021
  • Hi Gary, I will pass your question along to Birdsquatch next time I see him. He knows infinitely more about nocturnal wildlife than I do. Where do you live? That's pretty important in figuring out the answer. But the thief could be raccoons, deer, or flying squirrels. Do you live in the woods? Are there trees near your feeder, or must the culprit climb a shepherd's hook or pole? Dawn Hewitt, Watching Backyard Birds
    by Dawn Hewitt, Mon, 30 Aug 2021