The How Zone

How to Attract Birds & Butterflies to Your Yard


While you are contemplating the landscaping of your yard and garden give some thought to Birdscaping as well. With a little extra planning you'll not only have a yard and garden that you'll enjoy, but one that will be enjoyed by birds and butterflies alike. Join our guest columnist Linda Schneider to find out how.

Bird Social

Three Evening Grosbeaks

The biggest thrill of all happens in July and August when the parents bring the baby birds to the bird feeders to introduce them to their winter foods and feeding grounds.

This week the white-breasted nuthatch mother and baby showed up. We saw a family of four evening grosbeaks, why aren’t they in Canada for the summer? And the tree swallows all fledged at the same time during an 85 degree summer day.

How rewarding to watch this ritual! It is even more humorous when you realize all species are similar. I watched the father evening grosbeak feed and feed his young son, until the son shook his head and “spit up,” just like a baby.

Still to come, late season breeders like the American Goldfinch. They wait till the thistle plant produces its seeds with down for nesting material in July through September. Bluebirds and many other birds have more than one brood per season, so baby birds will be arriving for the rest of the summer and into the fall.

You see, I’ve planted my yard to attract birds and butterflies. Other wildlife that shows up is an added bonus. Ten years ago, we purchased our land in Hartland, Vermont for Dream Come True Farm. We built the house in the middle of a hayfield, because the septic system and the water well dictated where the house could be placed.

Not one bird showed up. Zero. Zip. None.

One of our neighbors called it “The Kansas House” because it had no trees around it. And because it had no trees, the birds would not venture out into that open field. It was not safe traveling, they needed more cover. A hawk or owl might pick them out of mid-air. I very much wanted to see bluebirds and cardinals and hummingbirds. So my research began on how to attract birds and butterflies to my yard.

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