Weather in the Upper Midwest has always been somewhat unpredictable, yet this year’s winter has been somewhat extreme with its multiple freeze/ thaw cycles and record warm temperatures during the winter months. Wildlife has responded with early signs of life, including many of Southeastern Wisconsin’s beautiful birds. While the robin traditionally is associated with the first signs of Spring, there are many delightful native Wisconsin birds that present themselves all winter long. A welcome distraction from snowflakes out the window is watching these beautiful birds and giving them a reason to visit.

Each season brings different varietals of birds and, of course, variations in the type of feeder and seeds/ food that will attract them. Some common and delightfully welcome winter birds include the northern cardinal, purple finch, blue jay, black-capped chickadee, white-breasted nuthatch, woodpeckers and mourning doves. Each breed prefers different combinations of grain, seeds and suet, along with fruits; homeowners seeking to support and enjoy their native bird population can easily locate the right mix for each bird, along with determine the type of house most suitable.

Many take great joy, year-round, observing and identifying the plentiful bird population in Southeastern Wisconsin, and many luxury homeowners would desire the beauty of these birds to be a regular presence on their property. There are so many variations of classic and simple birdfeeders available today that will achieve this purpose, yet design opportunities abound, even tying into the architectural lines of the custom-built home.

There is no right or wrong way to incorporate feeders into the landscaping of the home, and the initiatives can be a combination of aesthetically pleasing structures and functional unobtrusive feeders. Custom home builders are well versed in constructing out buildings and structures which tie into the main home’s architecture, sourcing local craftsmen who could create a magical and functional aviary home customized specifically to the unique custom home’s property.

Beyond adding beauty to your property, having birds live and thrive on your property has many added benefits: Practically speaking, birds are part of your local eco-system. Many birds eat a variety of bugs, aphids, mosquitos and spiders, which are not welcome on your patio. What’s more, birds attracted to nectar, such as hummingbirds and orioles, are efficient pollinators, enhancing the blooms and colors of flower gardens. Additionally, some birds are effective at weed control: finches and sparrows are among local birds consuming great quantities of weed seeds, creating effective landscapers that can help control unwanted plants.

There are many opportunities for more permanent bird feeders to adorn the property of custom homes, architecturally interesting, complimenting the homestead, and specifically designed for particular species, such as purple martins, bluebirds and bats.  And while bats are not welcome in one’s attic, they are an effective natural source of mosquito control on your property. Given their own home, they are less prone to seek shelter inside the main house.

The following link shows some beautiful examples and creative interpretations of classically designed birdhouses, which add charming touches to any custom-built home.

In addition to elaborately designed birdhouses, consider a few simple feeders and sculptural baths; strategically placed refuges for our feathered friends year-round provide both aesthetic touches as well as additional attractions for these beautiful visitors throughout the property.