Are you a bird lover? Do you want to attract more birds to your yard without the hassle of re-filling a bird feeder with commercial bird seed? Then plant more native plants into your landscapes. The Audubon Society has a wonderful Plants for Birds tool that helps you choose native plants appropriate to our region (by zip code) and gives detail information about the characteristics of the native plants that are beneficial to birds and which categories of birds find each native plant species beneficial.
After you have your added native plants to your landscape, the fall season comes around and you might be tempted to "clean up" the yard - you know, rake leaves, trim back dried flower heads, etc. But, to promote the habitat that birds want - one with plenty of food - leave those clean up gardening chores to the early days of spring when new sprouts are just beginning to peak out. All that "dead stuff" is a harbor of habitat for nature's decomposers / recyclers: ants, earthworms and other insects, who turn some of that dead plant material into compost on the spot as they hide out in the leaf litter. All those insects are a prime time buffet of foods for birds, especially during the winter months.
Providing native plants attracts birds because the native plants provide habitat (nesting, roosting sites) and food (berries, seeds, nuts, etc.), but that is just part of the equation. Another vital step to having more birds to enjoy out your windows includes avoiding ALL pesticide use. Why? Chemical pesticides are harmful to birds and also directly reduce their food supply, the insects. Did you know that many species of song birds will eat seeds, berries and insects themselves, but when it comes to raising their babies, they will feed insects. The birds are your natural pest control, so don't apply pesticides. By letting the little critters exist without chemical pesticides, your landscape will re-establish a natural balance of different species benefiting other species, which means none get too out of control - Mother Nature knows best! Finally, remember to provide a fresh water source in addition to your native plants. It doesn't have to be a big fancy pond, as a simple bird bath with a water wiggler to keep water moving and deter mosquitos will be just fine as long as the bird bath is not too deep and the water is kept clean.
Check out the Plants for Birds tool to add the best native plants to attract more beautiful birds to your yard since Native Plants = Healthy Habitats!