How to create a bird friendly garden
Who doesn’t love seeing a friendly bird flitting around their garden? If you’d like to encourage more birds to come to your garden, either for natural pest control or just to watch them through your kitchen window, there are several things you can do to make your garden more bird friendly.
Take a look at what you can do to give your feathered friends the help they need throughout the year!
When breeding season rolls around, your garden birds will need every bit of help you can offer them. One way of attracting birds into your garden is by putting up a nest box to offer a place to stay - you can either make your own nest box, or buy a ready-made one to hang in your garden. Plenty of birds will be happy to use your temporary accommodation to rear their young broods, and you’ll be able to watch the fledgelings as they grow.
Wild bird feed
Birds will be all too eager to pay a visit to your garden if you offer up a buffet of bird feed. There’s a whole variety of things you can put on offer: mealworms to fat balls, aflatoxin texted peanuts to sunflower hearts, suet pellets to seed mixes.
Whichever bird food you choose, you’ll find something to suit your garden. Don’t want to be clearing away weeds from under your feeders? Opt for a no-grow mix. Want to see goldfinches in your garden? Opt for their favourite feed - niger seed.
By offering a reliable source of bird food throughout the year - not just for winter or the breeding season - you’ll be able to entice a vast array of birds to your garden. When birds learn to trust your garden as a source of food, they’ll be flocking to it on a regular basis.
Bird feeders and tables
Once you’ve chosen the feed you want to offer your garden birds, you’ll need to think about how to feed it to them. Some types of feed will need specific bird feeders - such as fat balls or suet logs - but the majority of feed can be offered in a seed feeder or even on a bird table.
If you’ve chosen peanuts to tempt your birds, it’s important to remember to offer them in a mesh feeder. This is because young birds could choke on the whole nut if you offer it from a bird table or ground feeder - by offering it safely from a mesh feeder, you’ll be ensuring that the birds have to stay for longer to get the tasty peanuts. A fantastic way to admire them for longer!
Lots of people will choose bird feed to offer their feathered friends, but not as many people will think to offer them a reliable source of water throughout the year. Birds need water just as much as they need food - either for drinking or for bathing in. By adding a bird bath to your garden, you’ll be giving the wild birds even more of a reason to visit. Plus when they’re bathing in the cooling water, they’ll likely stay for longer so you can admire them, too!
Don’t forget bird hygiene
Once you’ve added bird feeders and bird baths to your garden, the birds will be all too happy to make a regular stop. However it’s also important to clean them regularly so as to prevent the spread of bird diseases. Feeders and bird baths left unclean become a haven for harmful bacteria, which has a detrimental effect on your local bird population.
Clean feeders regularly with hot, soapy water and a bristled brush. It’s important to remember your own health as well, and to clean them outside. Avoid using things you use for yourself indoors - you can use your garden hose to wash them out, or a bird friendly sanitiser. Remember to clean bird baths regularly, too, and change the water every day or two.
Only put out as much food as the birds can eat in a day so as to prevent food from going bad, and clean up any leftovers from bird tables so as to stop unwanted nocturnal visitors from finishing off the feast.
Cat proof your garden
Predators lurking nearby, such as cats, will deter the birds from your garden. For those of us who own cats but still want to encourage birds to our gardens, it’s best to keep your beloved moggy inside when the birds come to your feeders. To deter other cats that pay your garden a visit, invest in a cat repeller so that birds can eat in peace.
Another way to prevent cats from getting their paws on the wild birds is to position your feeders a good few feet away from any bushy cover where cats could be lurking. This means that any potential predators have to come out into the open to attack them, giving the birds plenty of time to fly away.
Have you got any tips for attracting wild birds to your garden that you think we’ve missed off our list? Let us know over on our Facebook page!
Lead image: bearacreative via Getty Images.