All yards can, potentially, be natural bird habitats.

Even though our neighborhoods occupy what was once their natural habitat, it needn’t be a catastrophe. Selecting and locating the correct plants will offer a nearly natural habitat for song birds.

Surprisingly, wild birds eagerly accept this substitution, as our backyard bird gardens become an extension of the surrounding natural habitat.

Making your backyard into a bird garden can be the focus of many family activities. In fact, just watching and feeding songbirds is a great way for the entire family to become aware of bird conservation.

Keep in mind that those members of the family with limited mobility can still enjoy nature from the deck or patio, even a window. Imagine the benefits of a bird garden for seniors and shut-ins, and for the ill or disabled.

Backyard bird gardens are perfect conservation classrooms. One of the most exciting lessons is discovering the different species of birds in your area.

An essential tool is a good, easy-to-use field identification guide, such as Birds of North America, or Peterson’s East and West. An online search for “bird field guides” will provide you with many more.

You will learn that birds are identified according to physical characteristics. For example, you can easily see the difference between a chicken and a robin.

You will find these characteristics helpful in identifying the birds that visit your bird garden: Size – overall ; Shape of their bodies; Coloring; Special markings; Shapes of their beaks; Shape of their wings and their feet while in flight.

Your entire family, especially the kids, will become experts at recognizing bird calls. While each species is unique, most are quite obvious. A Sparrow’s “chipping” is quite plain when compared to a Cardinal’s lovely “trilling” song.

From a bird’s-eye view, a natural bird habitat can actually be a neighborhood of backyards… and each backyard gardener contributes to the success of this unusual bird habitat.

So, the question remains… just how vital is your individual garden to song wild birds?

If you have selected and located your plantings correctly, wild birds will treat your backyard garden as a natural continuation of their normal habitat.

Undeniably, the answer is… you and your bird garden are unquestionably vital to their survival!