Birdwatching is something many people enjoy doing. There are over 400 different species of birds in Kansas, and you can attract many of them to your own backyard with a few simple tips.

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Attracting Birds to Your Backyard

One of the traps that many gardeners fall into is they always work, work, work out in the yard, and they never really take time to set down and enjoy all the beauty around them. We always talk about the plants and the flowers, but to me gardening is not complete until you add the wildlife.

One kind of wildlife to add are the birds. Gardening for the birds really comes natural. There are just a few things you need to add. They would prefer to have some evergreens, trees, and shrubs in the landscape, because that provides them a place to nest. It provides for protection from predators, and it also gives them protection during the winter months.

Water is also another great thing to add when gardening with birds. They need a place to drink, and they need a place to take a bath to wash off the dirt and cleanse their feathers. And of course, you can always feed the birds, too. We normally think about feeding the birds more during the winter months when it’s snowy and cold and there’s not a lot of seeds and berries.

But there’s a lot of things we can do in the garden to provide that food. So, go ahead and hang the supplemental feeder year round to keep the birds coming. Or, a lot of our plants have seed heads that can add food during the winter months for the garden. One of the most popular plants that we grow in our garden (it’s great for the goldfinches) is the Echinacea or Coneflower. A lot of times we think that the seed heads are ugly, and we go in there and cut them off. But, if we leave those seed heads into the fall and winter, you’ll have finches come and eat the seeds. So, when you’re shopping for plants, or looking for plants, try to look for plants that are also going to feed the birds as well as feed us.

It’s very easy to attract birds to the backyard. All you need to do is to provide some year round shelter with some evergreens, trees, or shrubs, provide a water source, and some food, and you’ll have a back yard that comes to life with nature. So not only can we enjoy the pretty flowers, we can also enjoy the birds.

This feature story prepared with Dennis Patton, Kansas State University Research and Extension Horticulture Agent, Johnson County. For more information, visit your local county extension office or visit our website at

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