After a long harsh winter, our thoughts turn to spring, anticipating green shoots, spring flowers, warm weather, and the sound of birds singing and insects humming. To take advantage of the change in season, adapt your garden to create natural habitats, attracting more wildlife right on your doorstep and make your own contribution to the "Greener NYC" initiative.
Although we often only feed birds during the cold winter months, they need food all year round, particularly during nesting season. Find out more about your local birds to discover what food attracts them and how they prefer to feed. Sprinkle seed on the ground to attract birds or introduce a birdfeeder. It will probably take a week or two to start attracting birds into your garden, but if the feeder is positioned correctly, it will be easy to observe them feeding from the comfort of your own home.
Planting native plants in your garden encourages native insects which in turn provide a vital food source for birds and other animals. Once established, native plants are low maintenance as they are perfectly adapted to local environmental conditions. Planting pollinator friendly plants encourages bees, butterflies and other endangered species to thrive, maintaining a healthy ecosystem.
A pond or a container of water will also attract a wide array of birds, animals and insects. Make sure that your community garden’s pond has shallow edges to allow easy access for frogs and newts. Stock your pond with pond plants to provide shelter and keep it clean to control algae build up. Birds also love to have water to drink, wash and splash in. So, if a pond does not fit in your garden, consider a birdbath or water fountain positioned near the birdfeeder to encourage birds to bathe there. Birds particularly love the splashing or moving water of a water fountain and it will also be of benefit to insects and butterflies.
A Place to Call Home
A mix of trees, shrubs, hedgerow and ground cover in your garden will provide a valuable nesting space and shelter for birds and other animals. Nesting boxes will encourage birds to breed, and ensure they are put in a sheltered spot so they are not affected by the elements. A brush pile of decaying wood or piles of leaves provides a habitat for beetles and fungi to flourish.
Try some of these ideas out this year and start enjoying more wildlife in your garden, safe in the knowledge that you are contributing to a healthier ecosystem.