Birds are on our minds because overall they’re being threatened, and there are things we can do right now in our gardens to help them out. We’re not actually suggesting you do anything – we want to suggest you not do something. Fall is the time of year that many of our plants have finished reproducing (seeds are mature, the life cycle is complete) and are dying or going dormant for the winter. If your normal routine is to cut dead plant material back and “tidy up” the garden, please continue reading. By leaving the dead stalks and mature seed heads until Spring, you can actually help support many birds.
Of course, different birds eat different things, but one easy way to help seed-eating species is to simply delay dead-heading and pruning your flowering plants. Think daisies, zinnias, coneflower, yarrow – all plants that leave visible seed heads and brittle plant material at the end of the season. By leaving the seed heads on top of the stalks, you’re providing food sources and nest building material.