Sustenance, Sanctuary and Security - How to attract birds to your garden
Food glorious food
There’s more to bird food than just throwing a handful of seeds or breadcrumbs onto the lawn. Bird tables or feeders are far more effective methods of attracting birds, particularly smaller ones, as the lawn can be a dangerous place if there are cats or birds of prey around. To protect birds further, you could plant prickly plants below the feeders to deter cats, or build willow cages that allow smaller birds to enter, while stopping squirrels and larger birds.
It’s also worth buying a good quality birdseed, but avoid one with lots of wheat if you want to keep pigeons away. Providing food all year round, rather than just in summer, will encourage the birds to take up permanent residence nearby. If you’d like to attract certain local species, do some research into what foods they eat, and add some to your feeders.
Water for bathing and drinking
Fresh, clean water is just as important, if not more important, than food in your garden. Consider getting a bird bath and keeping it topped up all the time. Not only will this allow your feathered guests to stay clean and hydrated, but it’ll encourage them to stay close to your garden.
An elegant bird bath or pond can be a centrepiece of any garden, but birds aren’t fussy creatures. A simple ceramic bowl or even a dustbin lid sunk into the soil will be just as popular!
A safe haven
The more plants in your garden, the more secure birds will feel. This is because large open spaces offer them very few places to hide from predators, so they’ll avoid them as much as possible. If your garden has a good range of hedges, shrubs, trees and climbers, it will be teeming with birds in no time. To maximise the chance of birds nesting in your garden, ensure that you don’t over-prune any bushes, as dense coverage is an attractive defence for birds. It’s also worth looking for nice bird boxes for your garden, as this makes it even easier and safer for the birds. Just make sure to clean them out thoroughly when the birds have finished with them, as the mess and smell might discourage future inhabitants.
As a bonus for the birds, think about plants that are particularly bird or insect friendly, as this will increase the food source in the area, whether it’s through berries or insects. The berries can also add an injection of colour to your garden, making it a win for the birds, and for you.
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