Winged Wonders

Brighten your winter months by transforming your backyard into an avian paradise.

By Kate Bryant November 19, 2009 Published in the December 2009 issue of Portland Monthly

Find illustrations of Portland’s winter birds, with details about attracting them to your garden, by clicking on the slideshow link above.

According to Karen Munday of the Audubon Society of Portland, bird feeders are great—as a supplemental food source. “Birds don’t need feeders,” she says. “They need native food sources and habitat.” Here are a few basic habitat requirements:

Natural food sources Trees, shrubs, and herbs that supply fruit, berries, nuts, flower nectar, and insect populations that are edible to birds. Different plants attract different kinds of birds. Native plants are preferable, but many noninvasive ornamentals have plenty to offer.

Water Water can range from a pond or stream to a simple, inch-deep pan of water that’s kept clean and fresh. Running water, still water, streams, and lakes all attract different species.

Shelter Depending on the bird, ideal shelter could include brush piles, hedgerows and shrubby thickets, fields of tall grass, weed patches, tall evergreen trees, or tree snags. An important element of shelter is safety from non-native predators—that means keeping domestic cats indoors.

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Slide Show: Winged Wonders