If you provide birds with the right type of food, water, plants and shelter, they will be sure to come back year after year.  In addition to animating gardens with their songs, vibrant colours and endearing personalities, many birds species help control insect and garden pests by feeding on them.

Bluebirds are known for their melodious songs and friendly demeanor.  In addition to eating insects this "Harbinger of Spring" enjoys berries and fruits of dogwood, red cedar, sumac, holly, blueberry and elderberry.  It takes a bit of work and the right habitat to keep them around as the prefer 5 x 5 x 8" boxes mounted on posts near meadows.

Goldfinches build their nests in hedges and enjoy thistles, sunflowers, asters, birch and elm.  Ensure thee sociable birds have enough to eat and they too will assist in ridding your garden of insects.

Cardinals like to nest in thorny shrubs anywhere for 2 to 12 feet above ground and, if you keep their feeders stocked with black oil sunflower seeds you'll be able to enjoy their counter singing.  Cardinals are particularly partial to seeds and fruits of cherry, dogwood, grape, mulberry, blueberry and blackberry bushes.

Mourning doves can be lured to low feeders with a combination of cracked corn, millet and sunflower seeds.  Water should be provided for thee birds at ground level in a pond or basin.  Their favorite garden food plants include grass and weed seed, sweet gum, alder, holly and serviceberry.

Tanagers feed mostly on insects they can forage for, stocking your bird feeder with sliced apples and oranges, raisins and peanut butter mix is sure to keep them happy.  In the garden, they enjoy serviceberry, mulberry, blueberry, brambles and grapes.

Hummingbirds are attracted by red, pink plants and tubular flowers:  Columbine, lillies, honeysuckle, bee balm, flowering tobacco, petunia, phlox, sage and nasturtium.

Keep your hummingbird feeder full of sugar water (boil 1 part sugar to 4 parts water do not add coloring)  This sweet drink provides them with the energy to weave tiny cup-shaped nests on tree limbs.