Requirements for a wildlife habitat: Food, Water and a Place to Hide!
With careful planning, Xeric garden will attract as many birds and butterflies as a traditional garden.
Look at your flowerbeds and borders, and underneath your shrubs. Do you use marble chips, lava rock, or any other type of inorganic mulch in these areas? Insect eating birds depend a great deal on large areas of leaf litter or decomposing bark mulch, rich with insects and their larva. Wrens and Song Sparrows especially enjoy this area as well as quail. Any type of organic mulch is very good for your plants and helps to enrich the soil.
Bathing birds are a treat to watch on a hot summer day. If the birds aren’t bathing, check the location of the birdbath. Clean, fresh water is a must. Placing a rock in the middle of the birdbath will encourage smaller birds to bathe.
Hummingbirds are beautiful and interesting to watch. If you are unsuccessful at attracting them to sugar water feeders it could be because they are not sparkling clean. Hummers will not feed from a feeder if the nectar is moldy. Clean your feeders, and, refill with fresh nectar every three days. It is also a good idea to have more than one feeder. These little birds are very territorial and often will not let another bird feed from “their” feeder. Also, provide flowers that attract hummingbirds such as agastache and lavender so that they realize there is more than once source of food.
If you don’t have a variety of birds visiting your feeders, it is time to do some research. Find out what birds are common in your area. Once you know which birds will likely visit your feeders, the rest is easy. Provide them with the type of feeders they prefer along with their favorite seeds. Consider also, specialty feeders for suet and other treats. Squirrels will be attracted to bird feeders so buy are make squirrel proof feeders.
Butterflies are attracted to the color, of flowers, as well as the nectar they seek? Next time you visit your local garden-center choose nectar rich flowers. Often the modern hybrids are beautiful, but have little or no nectar. If they have a wonderful scent chances are they are rich in nectar. Bees and other nectar loving insects will also appreciate your effort to provide nectar rich flowers in your habitat. Consider bloom time when you are making your selections. Plan to have several varieties blooming throughout the growing season. Russian Sage, butterfly bush, and Blue Knight Spirea are great attractants!
Next time you are outside in your yard picking up sticks after a storm, start yourself a small brush pile. Small mammals and a variety of birds enjoy the features this element provides, including cover and a good place for them to find insects. Leave an untrimmed part of the garden as protection for quail and other ground birds.
ref: Backyard Wildlife Habitat