Appeal to songbirds with a ‘birdscaped’ yard

Special to the Sun

RENO, Nev. and#8212; Making yards more attractive to birds is called and#8220;birdscaping,and#8221; and it centers on offering a combination of food, shelter, water and places where birds can safely raise their young.

and#8220;Attracting a variety of birds requires offering a variety of foods,and#8221; said Jacque Lowery, manager of Moana Nurseryand#8217;s Wild Birds Unlimited stores. and#8220;The best way to provide that food is through vegetation that produces nuts, berries, fruits, seeds or nectar. You can supplement the plants you have with bird feeders.and#8221;

Having a variety of shrubs, trees and/or brush piles will provide shelter to many birds. Lowery recommends using plants native to local climate and suitable for your yardand#8217;s type of soil.

A clean source of water will also attract a wider variety of birds. Because their high metabolic rate and respiratory system drain moisture from their bodies quickly, birds need water just as much as they need food. Birds use water for more than just drinking; they also use it for bathing and preening their feathers. Clean feathers are important for birdsand#8217; health and optimum flying ability.

Providing safe nesting places for raising young ensures the viability of your yard as an ongoing habitat. and#8220;People seek out the perfect neighborhoods in which to raise their children, and birds do the same,and#8221; said Lowery. and#8220;As more natural habitat is destroyed, itand#8217;s important that we provide usable replacements such as nesting boxes.and#8221;

There are many different styles of nesting boxes, including decorative, functional and bird-specific. Wild Birds Unlimited recommends a functional nesting box meet these six requirements:

1. Designed for a specific species, according to its size and nesting requirements

2. Ventilation holes to prevent excess heat build-up

3. Easily cleaned

4. Easily mounted or hung

5. Durable to withstand several seasons of use

6. Drainage holes in the bottom of the house

For more information about birdscaping or birding as a hobby or family activity, visit Wild Birds Unlimited, located inside all three Moana Nursery locations in Reno and Sparks, Nev. (1100 W. Moana Lane, 11301 S. Virginia St. and 7655 Pyramid Hwy.), part of the original and largest franchise system of backyard bird feeding and nature specialty stores with more than 275 locations throughout the United States and Canada.

Wild Birds Unlimited specializes in bringing people and nature together with bird feeding and nature products, expert advice and educational events.

Visit for more information.

and#8212; Submitted to

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