Creating a Garden for Local and Migratory Birds

First, please read our COVID-19 Recommendation.

A wonderful way to help local and migratory birds is by creating a garden with native plants. Growing native plants also helps support the soil, wild animals, and pollinators such as butterflies and bees. Native plants are used to the climate, soil type, and altitude of your region. This means that growing native plants can help save water and prevent growth problems such as pests or diseases.

If you are not sure if the plants you want to grow are native to your region, don’t worry! You can find out by asking in your local plant stores, asking teachers, or doing research at the library or online. If you don’t have access to native plants, growing what you have available to you is a great way to contribute to food and shelter for local species. Gardening will also help you relax, meditate, find joy and even get some physical exercise.

Objective: Create your own garden of plants native to your region for resident and migratory birds.


  • Native plants
  • Land ready for planting. If it is dry and not ready for planting, check out our page Making Compost.


  • Identify the place you want to create your bird garden. If it is a community garden make sure you get the necessary permits or permission.
  • Clean the space! Trash can be dangerous for people, birds, and other species.
  • Identify some native plants that provide food for local and migratory birds. Consider trees, shrubs, and herbs.
  • Place a layer of compost on your land. If you don’t have a lot of compost you can place the compost you have directly at the base of the plant. You can add compost from time to time to maintain the nutrient flow in your soil.
  • Plant your plants and care for them with water and love.
  • You can create your garden alone or you can ask your friends, family, or people in the community to join you!

It can be very rewarding to keep track of your garden with a notebook, photographs or drawings. Start by asking yourself some questions such as what kinds of birds and insects are visiting your plants? How are you plants changing as they grow? Do the birds that come visit your plants change from time to time? Start with simple observations and slowly your brilliant curiosity will make you a true expert on your garden!

You can also help attract birds to your garden by providing water, nesting materials, or setting up a bird feeder. If you are not sure how to help, we have pages to explore ways with suggestions on how to provide water to wild birds or how to provide nesting material and nest boxes for your local birds. There are many different kinds of feeders and there are some that you can make yourself!

Curious about what birds are coming to visit your garden? The Merlin Bird ID app can help you identify and learn more about the birds around you. You can also learn about your local birds by visiting this page.

Photo Courtesy of El Paso Community College

Written by Ashley Calderon, Julia Luna. Edited by Corey Hasson and Debra Nero