If birds ruled the world, here’s what they’d do:
First, they’d advise human operators of mowers, pruners, leaf blowers, and sprayers to back off a little. Then they’d ask you to provide more—more shrubs to nest and hide in, more trees, more berries, more flowers to attract insects and produce seeds, more wet leaves to harbor worms, more twigs for nest building.
And that lawn you work so hard on? Birds don’t get the appeal. Stephen W. Kress, writing in The Audubon Society Guide to Attracting Birds, is even a bit harsh: “Lawn itself, especially expansive rolling fields of it, is one of the most destitute bird habitats on earth.”
But you don’t have to turn your garden into an overgrown tangle to attract birds. Most of the things birds prefer will actually make the lives of gardeners easier and their gardens more beautiful. For example, replacing as much lawn grass as you dare with medium-size shrubs and small trees will save you time and money. Should a dandelion or two flower in the remaining turf, at least the goldfinches will be happy.