Birds bring us so much joy. From their beautiful songs and stunning colors to their fascinating behaviors, there’s so much to appreciate. They give us so much. Why not return the favor? By gardening for birds, you can create bird-friendly habitat right in your own backyard.

In this online course, you’ll learn how to transform your yard to attract new bird species and give them what they need to thrive. Whether you have a small garden patch, or a few acres, you can create spaces teeming with life that will benefit you, and the birds.

You’ll get lots of ideas for creating welcoming, natural spaces for birds, and discover beautiful native plants that your birds will love.

What’s the secret to gardening for birds?

Seeing things from their point of view. When you do, you’ll notice all sorts of opportunities to give back to the birds, with shelter to hide in, water to drink, seeds to get through the winter, caterpillars for newly hatched chicks, sweet nectar for energy, and berries to fuel epic migrations.

When you see your outdoor space from a bird’s perspective, you and your yard will be transformed.

This course will help you get started. Join us for Growing Wild!

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The Tools You've Been Looking For

This course from the Cornell Lab brings together the tools you need to help you transform your outdoor spaces into vibrant places that birds will flock to.

  • Get planning guides that help you deliver what birds need
  • Choose plants and natural features that attract birds and other wildlife
  • Use Bird Academy's curated list of bird-friendly plants for your region (US and Canada)
  • Learn which native plants will thrive in your conditions

Growing Wild: Gardening for Birds and Nature

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About This Course
  • Lessons inside: 6
  • Topics inside: 32
  • Completion time (estimated): 3 hours
  • Instructional videos: 17
  • Total instructional video time: 37 minutes
  • Level: Beginner
  • Categories: Nature Appreciation
  • Regionality: United States/Canada – General
  • Discussion groups to keep you learning
  • Self-paced, no expiration date, 100% online
  • 30-day refund guarantee
yellowish bird taking berry in its beak Image: Ryan Sanderson/Macaulay Library
Cape May Warbler with gray dogwood berry

Why We Made This Course

"There’s nothing more rewarding than attracting birds to your outdoor space and knowing that you’re helping them thrive, but it can be overwhelming to know where to start. We created this course to help you design welcoming spaces for birds and guide you through bird-friendly plant choices. It all starts with seeing things from a bird’s perspective and transforming your space to meet their needs. With the inspiration, know-how, and planning guides in this course, you’ll gain everything you need to start growing wild and greeting new bird visitors."

images of different flowers in a grid arranged in rainbow colors Image: iNaturalist
Choose from colorful bird-friendly plants

What's Inside

This self-paced course includes instructional videos, photo galleries, and plant lists to help you transform your outdoor spaces. With guidance on how to provide for birds throughout the year and attract specific species, this course holds your hand through all the decisions you’ll be making as you get started. Designed for anyone interested in gardening for birds with an outdoor space large or small, this course serves as your friendly guide.

Who This Course is For

Is this course for beginners?

This course is designed as an introduction on how to make outdoor spaces more friendly for birds, and will introduce the essentials on how to get started. We don’t assume that you have gardening experience and, for those who are experienced gardeners, it offers a host of resources that will help you garden from a bird’s perspective.

Can I take this course if I don’t have a yard?

Yes. This course offers ideas for outdoor spaces large and small. Small green spaces and even container gardens can help support birds. Regional guides in the course include some smaller plants that are suitable for small-scale gardening.

Can I take this course if I don’t live in the U.S. or Canada?

The general ideas and planning guides offered in this course can be applied anywhere, but all the bird and plant species examples given are from across the contiguous U.S. and Canada.

Take a Free Peek Inside the Course

Preview sample content from three different lessons, including two videos, from Growing Wild: Gardening for Birds and Nature.

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Course Overview

Lesson 1:

Joys of Naturescaping

Get inspiration from a host of people who have transformed their outdoor spaces for birds and set your own naturescaping goals.

Lesson 2:

Give Birds What They Need

Birds need food, water, shelter, and places to nest. Learn about the many ways your outdoor space can provide them with an abundance of resources.

Lesson 3:

Keys to Gardening for Birds

With these six simple keys, you’ll unlock your potential for creating outdoor spaces that will attract and support birds.

Lesson 4:

Gather Your Local Knowledge

Learn about your unique location, the birds that visit your region, and the plants that are native to your area.

Lesson 5:

Dig In!

Get expert tips on how to add new elements to your space, choose bird-friendly plants, and help those plants thrive.

Lesson 6:

Enjoy and Share

Celebrate the success of your garden, and find out ways to take your newfound knowledge of naturescapes to new places.

Hear What Students Have to Say

I am a beginning gardener, this course was perfect for someone at my level. Beautiful photos, well organized, bite-sized and well written videos and text. Loved the fill-in PDF to capture my learning and insights."

Laura

One of the aspects of this course I appreciated the most included the resources and will help me find native plants, shrubs, and trees to plant on my property. Thank you!"

Marguerite

I would recommend to anyone that is interested in planting a native garden. There is a wealth of knowledge available to pursue."

Stacy

I have realized that I actually have a lot more in my yard for birds than I thought. Taking a bit of an inventory of my yard and how it fits into each category has been really helpful."

Stacey

After starting this class, I did plant native coneflowers and salva. The birds, bees, and butterflies seem to love it. I have a small yard in both the front and the back, so the plants and trees have to be on a small scale. This course has been so helpful."

Monterey
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Satisfaction Guarantee

Our educators and birding experts take pride in the courses they create. If you're not satisfied with the material for ANY reason, contact us within 30 days of the start of the course or purchase for a full refund.

Need financial assistance? Learn about our scholarship program

Give the Gift of Learning

Gift certificates are a great way to give the bird enthusiasts in your life something that supports and encourages their passion.

Learn About Gift Certificates
a hummingbird on the left drinking from a cluster of pink flowers on the right Image: Mason Maron/Macaulay Library
Anna's Hummingbird with red-flowering currant

This Course is Entirely Online

There’s nothing to be shipped, and no additional material is necessary. Bird Academy courses are online, self-paced, and have no deadline to complete. You can return to them for reference or practice as often as you want. All course material, practice tools, and instructional videos are available through your web browser. Learn anytime, anywhere*. Gain the skills and understanding you’re looking for.

*Requires an internet connection and a modern web browser.

CREDITS
Course Developers: Marla Coppolino and Laura Helft Video Producer/Editor/Animator: Shayna Muller Video Narrator: Marla Coppolino Testimonial Video Producer/Editor: Sophia Matthews Finishing Video Editor: Jacob Sullivan Videographers: Eleven Lakes Media Illustrator: Liz Clayton Fuller Additional Illustration: Marla Coppolino Scientific Reviewer: Robert Wesley Web Designer: Jeff Szuc Copy Editor: Noah Warnke Web Programmer: Noah Warnke Executive Producers: Laura Helft and Mya Thompson Special Thanks: Brent Chippendale, Rob Horn, Herbert Lewis, Kevin McGowan, David Munnell, Christa Nunez, Gregory Page, Erin Pierce, David Quimby, Rebecca Rodomsky-Bish, Deborah Shaw, Matt Strimas-Mackey, Lee Ann van Leer, Mary Walker, Marion Whitcomb, Micheline Zion

Give the Gift of Learning

Gift certificates are a great way to give the bird enthusiasts in your life something that supports and encourages their passion.

Learn About Gift Certificates