Connecting Songbirds and Native PlantsGardening with native plants fills songbird gardens with a stream of spring and summer blooms, along with fruit and bursts of seeds come fall. Native plants also attract an essential element for songbird success: native insects. During spring and summer, when natural fruit and seeds run low, songbirds turn to bugs for food. Tiny, chirping babies in a songbird's nest rely almost entirely on these high-protein snacks.
Choosing Plants for Songbird SpacesSongbird habits vary as much as their songs. Northern cardinals feed on or close to the ground, while goldfinches prefer feeding higher up. Some birds tuck nests in shrub branches, but bluebirds and others prefer birdhouse nesting boxes. Varying plant heights for songbird food and shelter creates a sanctuary where birds feel satisfied and safe. A birdbath or other water source makes your songbird spa complete.
Frame native flowers with fruit-producing shrubs for songbird food and hiding places. Natives such as winterberry and chokeberries bear fruit that persists into winter. Native evergreens, such as junipers, provide cedar waxwings and others with berry-filled feasts and winter cover. Group native plants by care requirements and simplify maintenance, too.
Feeding Plants for Songbird BenefitsChoosing plants that songbirds enjoy is only the beginning. Native plants thrive in their native soils, but competition for food and water in home gardens can be tough. Long-lasting, slow-release, natural-based fertilizers, such as Pennington UltraGreen All Purpose Plant Food 10-10-10 and Alaska by Pennington Fish Fertilizer 5-1-1, provide native plants with a solid nutritional foundation. Keeping plants well-nourished and productive encourages more blooms, beauty and bird-attracting seeds.
Throughout the growing season, give your songbird garden a boost with specialized food to promote flowers and the many seeds that will follow. Plant foods such as Pennington UltraGreen Colorblooms & Bulbs Plant Food 15-10-10 or Alaska by PenningtonMorBloom Fertilizer 0-10-10 provide the bloom- and seed-enhancing nutrients that native songbird plants need. Always leave spent flowers on the plant in songbird gardens. If you remove the flower heads or "deadhead" as you would in other perennial gardens, seed heads can't develop.
Keeping Songbirds in Mind Year-RoundNative gardens provide a smorgasbord of seasonal treats for migrating songbirds and year-round residents, but natural cycles in plant and insect life can leave songbirds hungry. Supplement nature's bounty with bird feeders for year-round songbird support. With high-energy, premium birdseed such as Pennington Ultra Songbird Blend, your favorite songbirds will enjoy a nutritious diet all year.
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