By Susan Mulvihill
I’ve recently come across a new Timber Press book that will
be a great resource for anyone interested in attracting birds to their garden.
The book is the appropriately-titled “Gardening for the
Birds” and it’s written by George Adams (Timber Press, 444 pp., $24.95).
What I like about this book is that it covers all of the
topics a bird-watching gardener would be interested in. It is divided into four
In part one, Adams has created a guide to plants that
provide nesting sites for birds, along with the types of birds that will nest
in them. There is a chart with nest box details based on the bird you hope to
He discusses how to attract hummingbirds and butterflies and
provides a calendar of when plants they favor are in bloom, their hardiness
zones, plant size, uses, light requirements -- all based by geographic region.
Adams includes a similar guide to growing wildflowers for
birds, that covers both annual and perennial types.
I’ve found in my own garden that the berry- or
fruit-producing plants really draw in birds. In this book, there is a calendar
for seasonal fruiting, which covers when berries, fruits and seeds will be
available to birds -- everything is covered in great detail.
Adams heartily recommends planting natives to as a way to
attract and feed birds. He also is a proponent of leaving seedheads for birds
to eat in the winter.
In part two of the book, the author discusses the
differences and unique qualities of the regions across the United States. He
talks about landscape design and special considerations for the home garden, as
well as how to deal with problems that can arise or challenging settings.
The plant directory is contained in part three. He explains
that the plants included in it were chosen “because of their long flowering or
fruiting times as well as other essential attributes for bird habitat, such as
dense or prickly foliage for nesting or shelter for roosting.”
What I particularly like about the plant guide is that he
discusses the types of birds that are attracted to each genus listed in it. He
then includes various desirable species, which contain a description, the
native distribution and cultivation of each.
Part four has the all-important bird directory. Each bird
description covers its habitat, migration and winter range, the breeding range
and behavior exhibited during that time, their nesting habitat and feeding
habits. Adams covers every type of bird you could imagine, all organized by
each bird family. For easy reference, each bird description includes an
information box on plants for both food and shelter favored by that bird.
The photography throughout the book is excellent and certain
to increase anyone’s excitement and enthusiasm for creating a landscape to
attract a wide number of birds to watch and enjoy.
I would definitely recommend this book to anyone interested in this important and engaging gardening
Copyright Susan Mulvihill, 2014. All rights reserved.