For many gardeners, having songbirds visit is one of the benefits of having a garden in the first place. It’s always a delight to see the variety of birds that drop by for a nibble or a rest. If you want to create a bird-friendly garden, it’s important to attract them with natural sources of food as well as using bird feeders.

Birds have simple needs: Food, water, shelter, and protection from predators. Naturally, native birds thrive on native plants, so choose a selection of regional beauties that produce seeds, berries, or nectar. Work dead trees or old stumps into your landscape to attract insect-eaters and provide shelter. The more diverse your food supply is, the more variety of birds you’ll see in your garden. Also you can help birds out by placing bird feeders in your yard filling them with a high quality seed that is balanced in nutrition like Scotts or Morning Song Wild Bird Food. The type of food you feed attracts different kinds of birds. Smaller seeds like thistle seed attract bright yellow gold finches.

“People like buying our pre-filled thistle sock because all you do is hang it in the tree and within days you can have several birds feeding from it — it easy and convenient. You do not even need a feeder for it,” says Syd Pell who heads up the bird food division at Scotts Canada. Larger birds like to perch on feeders and eat mixes of seed with an all time favourite being sunflower seed. Pell explains “A mixed food will provide a good ratio of nutrients for the birds. We worked with the Toronto Zoo to develop the right mix of seeds to meet the nutritional needs of birds.”

In addition to putting out feeders, you can also grow plants that bloom and produce fruit, seeds or nuts - attracting even more birds to your backyard. When possible, use plants that are native to your area. Many perennials, grasses, vines, shrubs and trees provide food for birds.

• Black-Eyed Susan (seeds)
• Common Evening Primrose (seeds)
• Coneflower (seeds)
• Fireweed (nectar)
• Phlox (nectar)
• Sunflower (seeds)

It’s easy to add the beauty of birds to your backyard this summer. For more information visit