The Bird Garden


The Bird Garden

Benefits of a Bird Garden

There are many benefits to attracting birds to your outdoor space. Some types of birds will help pollinate flowers, while others will keep the bug population in check, and some will even decrease the spread of weeds. Birds can provide us with entertainment and help promote a deeper connection with nature. It has been shown that bird sounds and songs can help lower our stress levels. Birds also give us an opportunity to help our children find nature more interesting, so we can raise a more Earth conscious generation.


Common Alberta Birds

By providing a bird-friendly habitat, your outdoor space can attract a wide range of feathered friends to your yard. A few of our favourite backyard birds to spot here in Alberta include :


Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds
Black-Capped & Boreal Chickadees
American Goldfinches
House & Song Sparrows
Red and White Breasted Nuthatches
Yellow-Rumped & Orange Crowned Warblers
American Robins
Downy, Hairy & Pileated Woodpeckers
Red-Winged Blackbirds
European Starlings
Bohemian Waxwings


Identifying Birds

Visit the Cornell Lab of Ornithology for an extensive database to search for the birds you see in your garden. Cornell lab also offers the Merlin Bird App for your phone to identify birds -on the fly.

Bird Garden Key Features


BIRD FOOD SOURCES : Native plants are the healthiest way to feed wild birds. When choosing plants, be sure to include a variety of seeds, nuts, berries and fruit to attract a variety of birds. Minimize or omit your use of pesticides and let the bugs be another rich food source for birds.


BIRD FEEDERS : If using bird feeders, it is important to sterilize the feeders regularly, especially during the warmer months to avoid bacterial growth which can kill birds. Use a seed mix that includes a variety of seeds to attract a variety of birds. Sunflower seeds are popular among most birds.


HUMMINGBIRD FOOD SOURCES : For hummingbirds, choose flowering plants with staggered bloom times to ensure sources of nectar throughout the warm season.


HUMMINGBIRD FEEDERS : When using hummingbird feeders, be sure to empty and sterilize feeders with boiling water once a week. Do not use soaps or chemicals when cleaning feeders; chemicals and antibacterial agents can kill hummingbirds. We also strongly recommend that you do NOT use red dyed pre-mixed hummingbird liquid feed. The red dye has been shown to be harmful to hummingbirds. Instead use a red feeder with a homemade simple syrup made from dissolving 1 part sugar in 4 parts distilled or RO water. It is not necessary to bring water to a boil so long as the sugar is fully dissolved. Be sure the simple syrup is room temperature before hanging the feeder outdoors to avoid scalding the hummingbird’s delicate digestive system. It is also a good idea to keep the feeders out of direct sun during hot summer months for the same reason.



In addition to plentiful rich food sources, birds also need easy and safe access to drinking water. Offer a clean source of water that is safe from predators. Many birds also enjoy bird baths to keep cool and help clean their feathers. When choosing a bird bath, there are a few things to consider. First choose a bath with moving water or add a solar fountain. Still water is a breeding ground for bacteria and bugs. Second, choose a bath that can be heated. This will extend the use of the bird bath well into our cold winters and help keep birds in your outdoor space year round.


Shelter & Nesting Sites

Different birds will have different preferences for shelters and nesting sites. Birds tend to shelter in four types of locations; consider including all four to optimize your bird garden.


TREES : Many species nest in tall trees to keep safe from predators. By including a tall tree or two you can increase the chances of birds nesting in your outdoor space.


EVERGREENS : Evergreens, especially Spruce and Junipers, have dense foliage which protect birds well from harsh weather conditions and most predators. Evergreens are especially beneficial to the bird species that overwinter here in Alberta. Every bird garden will do well to include at least a couple different evergreens.


BUILDING STRUCTURES : Another common spot for certain species are in small nooks and crannies of homes and other common building structures, like a gazebo.


BIRD HOUSES : Bird houses are another great option for many smaller birds. The size of the opening will determine which species will nest in a bird house.



Shopping for Birds

The Backyard Birds Nature Shop, located in Spruce Grove AB, has a wonderful selection of products for birds, everything from seeds, feeds, baths, houses and more.

The Wildbird General Store, located in Edmonton AB, also has a great selection, especially for birdhouses designed specifically for a variety of different birds.

Bird Garden Perennials

Terra Cotta Yarrow

Achillea millefolium ‘Terracotta’


A select few varieties of yarrow will attract birds and/or hummingbirds. The Terra Cotta attracts both.

Origami Mix Columbine

Aquilegia ‘Origami Mix’


Most varieties of columbine will attract hummingbirds.

Arizona Sun Blanket Flower

Gaillardia aristata ‘Arizona Sun’


Most varieties of blanket flower will attract birds.

Summer Sun False Sunflower

Heliopsis helianthoides ‘Summer Sun’


Most varieties of false sunflower will attract hummingbirds.

Abiqua Drinking Gourd Hosta

Hosta ‘Abiqua Drinking Gourd’


A select few varieties of hosta will attract birds or hummingbirds. The Abiqua Drinking Gourd attracts hummingbirds.

Stained Glass Hosta

Hosta ‘Stained Glass’


A select few varieties of hosta will attract birds or hummingbirds. The Stained Glass attracts birds.

Gallery Red Lupine

Lupinus ‘Gallery Red’


Most varieties of lupine will attract hummingbirds.

Petite Delight Bee Balm

Monarda ‘Acoutdel’


Most varieties of bee balm will attract hummingbirds.

Red Riding Hood Phlox

Phlox paniculata ‘Red Riding Hood’


A select few varieties of phlox will attract hummingbirds.

Black-Eyed Susan Rudbeckia

Rudbeckia fulgida ‘Goldsturm’


Most varieties of rudbeckia will attract birds and/or hummingbirds. The Black-Eyed Susan attracts birds.

Sensation Deep Rose Salvia

Salvia nemorosa ‘Sensation Deep Rose Improved’


Most varieties of salvia will attract hummingbirds.

Woolly Thyme

Thymus pseudolanuginosus


A select few varieties of thyme will attract hummingbirds.

Bird Garden Vines

Bluebird Clematis

Clematis ‘Bluebird’


Only a select few varieties of clematis will attract hummingbirds.

Dropmore Scarlet Honeysuckle

Lonicera x brownii ‘Dropmore Scarlet’


Most varieties of honeysuckle will attract hummingbirds.

Virginia Creeper

Parthenocissus quinquefolia


This variety of ivy will attract birds.

Bird Garden Shrubs

Native Saskatoon

Amelanchier alnifolia


Most varieties of saskatoon will attract birds.

Autumn Magic Black Chokeberry

Aronia melanocarpa ‘Autumn Magic’


Most varieties of chokeberry will attract birds.

Rose Glow Japanese Barberry

Berberis thunbergii ‘Rose Glow’


Most varieties of barberry will attract birds.

Common Caragana

Caragana arborscens


Most varieties of caragana will attract hummingbirds.

Ivory Halo Dogwood

Cornus alba ‘Bailhalo’


Most varieties of dogwood will attract birds.

Beaked Hazelnut

Corylus cornuta


Most varieties of hazelnut will attract birds.

Cranberry Cotoneaster

Cotoneaster apiculatus


Most varieties of cotoneaster will attract birds.

Wolf Willow, Silverberry

Elaeagnus commutata


Most varieties of silverberry will attract birds.

Combo Polar Haskap Berry Honeysuckle

Lonicera caerula kamtschatica ‘Polar’ Combo


Most varieties of haskaps will attract birds.

Arnold Red Honeysuckle

Lonicera tatarica ‘Arnold Red’


Most varieties of honeysuckle will attract hummingbirds.

Blizzard Mock Orange

Philadelphus lewisii ‘Blizzard’


Most varieties of mock orange will attract birds and hummingbirds.

Western Sand Cherry

Prunus besseyi


Most varieties of cherry will attract birds.

Tiger Eyes Staghorn Sumac

Rhus typhina ‘Bailtiger’


Most varieties of sumac will attract birds.

Pixwell Gooseberry

Ribes hirtellum


Most varieties of gooseberry will attract birds and hummingbirds.

Josta Berry

Ribes josta


This variety of josta berry will attract birds and hummingbirds.

Red Lake Currant

Ribes rubrum ‘Red Lake’


Most varieties of currants will attract birds and/or hummingbirds. This variety attracts both.

Native Raspberry

Rubus idaeus (strigosus)


Most varieties of raspberry will attract birds.

Black Lace Elder

Sambucus nigra  ‘Eva’


Most varieties of elder will attract birds.

Silver Buffaloberry

Shepherdia argentea


This variety of buffaloberry will attract birds.

White Snowberry

Symphoricarpos albus


This variety of snowberry will attract birds.

Dwarf Korean Lilac

Syringa meyeri ‘Palibin’


Most varieties of lilac will attract hummingbirds.

Northland Blueberry

Vaccinium ‘Northland’


Most varieties of blueberry will attract birds.

Common Snowball

Viburnum opulus ‘Roseum’


Most varieties of cranberry will attract birds.

Minuet Weigela

Weigela florida ‘Minuet’


Most varieties of weigela will attract hummingbirds.

Bird Garden Trees

Sutherland Caragana

Caragana arborescens ‘Sutherland’


Most varieties of caragana will attract hummingbirds.

Toba Hawthorn

Crataegus x mordenensis ‘Toba’


Most varieties of hawthorn will attract birds.

Russian Olive

Elaeagnus angustifolia


Most varieties of olive will attract birds.

Thunderchild Crabapple

Malus ‘Thunderchild’


Select varieties of crabapple will attract birds.

Evans Sour Cherry

Prunus cerasus ‘Evans’


Most varieties of cherry will attract birds.

Amur Cherry

Prunus maackii


Most varieties of cherry attract birds.

Princess Kay Plum

Prunus nigra ‘Princess Kay’


Most varieties of plum will attract birds.

Schubert Chokecherry

Prunus virginiana ‘Schubert’


Most varieties of chokecherry will attract birds.

American Mountain Ash

Sorbus americana


Most varieties of mountain ash will attract birds.


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