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  Joy Blooms  for the Birds

                                                                     . . .  creating a Bird-Friendly World in your Yard                                                                
                                                                                                                                                                                                 This page last updated:   04/29/2016 03:59 AM


Jan's Restaurant is Open

I like feeding the birds.  It is always amazing to me that as soon as a put fresh seeds out the bird begin to flock to the feeders.
It is as if someone turned on a flashing neon sign - "Jan's Restaurant is OPEN."  I keep the feeder full all year. Unlike my backyard in Colorado, I don't have any squirrels to rob the feeders in my Lubbock backyard.

  • Our Lubbock home was virtually new construction so there weren't any trees, shrubs or flowers.   I started from scratch.   What a perfect opportunity to create a bird haven - assuming there are songbird birds in Lubbock.   All I have seen so far are crackles and a few house finches. 
  • There are House Martins too, but they don't come to the feeders.  They skydive flying bugs & catch them in mid-flight - such a sight.
  • I am creating a bird "haven" behind the Iris River next to the west fence.   Put up 4 feeding stations and a bird feeder.  Plan to add shrubs, small trees, roses, ornamental grasses, etc on the west side of the iris river.  Added a few plants in 2012 - will see what survived.   I just don't have a feel for how much water/care to provide during the winter.  The winter in 2012-2013 had a lot more days below freezing than I expected!
  • Will plant Sunflower seed near the fence.  I know that will attract birds.  It is such joy to watch them pluck the seeds and eat them.

Ideas for a bird-garden -- plant it and they will come:

  • Evergreens: Evergreen trees and shrubs such as pine, fir, cedar, spruce, yew, hemlock, juniper, and others. These  offer winter shelter, summer nesting sites, and escape cover. In addition some birds feast on the seeds and sap.
  • Nut and acorn trees: In addition to providing shelter, nut and acorn trees are a source of food.
  • Summer-fruiting plants: Blackberry, blueberry, cherry, chokecherry, honeysuckle, raspberry, elderberry, and wild plum, as an example, will attract birds throughout the year.  Wait I'll plant blueberries, raspberries, blackberries & cherries away from the Bird Haven.
  • Fall-fruiting plants: Fall-fruiting plants are essential for birds to build up fat reserves.  Examples are dogwood, mountain ash, snowberry, serviceberry, sea buckthorn, buffalo berry, and cotoneaster.
  • Winter-fruiting plants: Winter fruits include black chokecherry, snowberry, sumac, high bush cranberry, many varieties of crabapple, barberry and hawthorn - just to name a few. Birds especially enjoy them after they have gone through several cycles of  freezing and thawing.
  • Grasses and flowers: Tall grasses plus annual and perennial flowers attract all kinds of birds. These not only provide cover but also supply seeds and nectar.  Not to mention they are hosts for insects.
  • Nectar-producing plants: Nectar-producing plants, especially those with with red tubular flowers such as trumpet vine, columbine.  These plants will attract hummingbirds.
  • Grow Your Own Feeders – Plant Sunflowers and let nature provide your seeds.  A patch of Sunflowers is beautiful and provide nectar for bees & beneficial insects.  In the fall, simply cut the Flower heads and hang them in the yard as home-grown bird feeders.  I leave some in tack.  It is a joy to watch the bird maneuver around on the seed heads.
  • Go Native – Native plants provide birds with the foods they’ve been eating for thousands of years.  These plants will thrive in local soils and weather.  Native plants also attract insects and therefore more birds.
  • Make sure there is water all year.   The birds need it for a drink and to wash up.  In Thornton I rigged a drip station using the sprinkler system.  Water dripped into a pie plate each time I turned on the underground sprinkler system.   Birds prefer moving water.  Source for dripper, misters and water wigglers.
  • No Insecticides – Pesticide will also kill the birds.  Your feathered visitors are a "nature" insecticide.  Let them do their job and eat those unwanted bugs.
  • Buy in Bulk – It certainly is cheaper to buy seeds in bulk.  Watch for sales and stock up. Avoid seed blends which often have “filler” seeds that most birds toss aside.  Can't go wrong with black-oil Sunflower seed - seem that all feeder birds relish them.
  • Store your seed in a cool, dry place - Use a metal trash bin to store your seeds.  I used a plastic one outside in Colorado and it became a feeder for mice. 
  • Clean your feeder and birdbath - At least once a month (twice a month is better), empty the feeder and wash it with a solution of one part chlorine bleach to nine parts water,  Scrub and rinse well. You prefer eating from a clean plate, don't you?   Well your feathered friends do too.
  • ELIMINATE nuisance birds - Cutting back on their favorite foods. Pigeons, for example, are less of a problem if you do not offer cracked corn.  Check with your local extension office for more tips.
Prepare a feast for the birds
  • Bird Pudding:  Heat 1 cup lard in a heavy saucepan over medium heat until softened, then add 1 cup bird seed, 1/2 cup uncooked oatmeal (not instant), 1/4 cup flour and 1/4 cup hot water and mix well.  Slather on pinecones or cardboard shapes, or to fill citrus shell bowls.
  • Jan's Special Treat:  Heat 1 cup crunchy peanut butter in a heavy saucepan over medium heat until softened, then add 1 cup hulled Sunflower seeds, 1/2 cup raisins, 1/4 corn meal, and 1/4 cup mixed nuts (no salt) crushed.  Pour over dried stale bread or crushed crackers or graham crackers or vanilla wafers or any combination of these.     Put in various containers or citrus shells or watermelon shells.  Sometime I drizzled corn syrup over the concoction.
Listed below are a few suggested trees, shrubs, vines, and annuals/perennials that should grow well in Lubbock and will attract birds to the garden and bring you many hours of bird-watching joy.

  • Holly 'Nellie R. Stevens'(Ilex x 'Nellie R. Stevens')
  • American Holly (Ilex opaca)
  • Dogwood (Cornus florida)


  • Pyracantha (Pyracantha coccinea)
  • Holly (Ilex cornuta, 'Nellie R. Stevens,' or Burford)
  • Cherry laurel (Prunus caroliniana)
  • Viburnum (Viburnum odoratissimum)

  • Cosmos (Cosmos bipinnatus, Cosmos sulphureus)
  • Salvia (Salvia farinacea, Salvia leucantha, Salvia greggii)
  • Sunflower (Helianthus annuus)
  • Zinnia (Zinnia elegans)


  • Boston ivy (Parthenocissus tricuspidata)
  • Trumpet vine (Campsis radicans)
  • Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquifolia)

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