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nterest in songbirds grows every year. Bird feedingis perhaps the most popular wildlife-related activityin the country. Most of us enjoy seeing and hearingbirds, and birdwatching is a fascinating year-roundhobby for many people. A 1980 report on noncon-sumptive uses of wildlife conducted by the U.S. Fishand Wildlife Service revealed that 33 percent of
Americans–about 56 million people–took special in-
terest in wildlife near their homes. About 6 percentmaintained natural areas for wildlife and 7.3 percent– about 12.5 million–maintained plantings for wildlife, thesubject of this bulletin. In all cases, people wereprimarily interested in songbirds.The bright flashes of color, the distinctive songs, the lifebirds add to the landscape, and the opportunity youhave to observe their interesting habits make spendingtime and effort to encourage their presence well worth
bleak and snowy scene. Landscape plants can help at-tract birds throughout the year Winter bird feeders alsoenhance your yard’s attractiveness.Landscape plantings make home grounds attractive tobirds in several ways. Plants furnish year-round shelterand protection from predators. They provide safenesting sites and rearing places for young birds. And,they supply food in the form of fruit, seeds, and nectarBirds also find plantings convenient and attractiveplaces to hunt for insects. Landscape plantings canbenefit birds and still follow basic principles of land-scape design. Other benefits include fall foliage color,spring flowers, privacy, and edible fruits and nuts.
If you give some thought to landscape planning andDifferent birds require different habitats. For example,planting your home grounds, you can greatly increasethe flicker, northern (Baltimore) oriole, and chippingthe chance that birds will nest in your yard. A delightfulsparrow need just a few large trees to make an areathing about birds is the seemingly capricious way theysuitable for them. Some, like the red-eyed vireo, woodselect homesites. You can never predict exactly where athrush, and wood pewee need a dense stand of manybird will build its nest, so it’s a pleasure when theylarge trees. Others, like the catbird, are satisfied withchoose your yard.
About 330 species of birds migrate through or stay inWisconsin. Of these, 12 or 15 songbird species com-monly nest in residential areas of cities and towns, and16 or 17 more build nests around rural homesites,Besides these nesting birds, some migrant birds maystop for a day or two during their migration if they findyour yard attractive. Don’t forget about birds that stayover the winter. They add life and color to an otherwiseA few birds demand open spaces without trees and lit-tle or no shrubby vegetation. The house wren, treeswallow, robin, phoebe, and others nest in holes orcavities in trees, in nest boxes, or on platforms put upfor them. By creating the proper habitat, you can makevirtually any yard or garden attractive to some kind ofsongbird. Generally, the larger and more diverse youryard, the more birds and more different birds you will