ATTRACT BIRDS TO YOUR GARDEN
Somehow my article about Gardening for birds got lost…I had no copy so I have to write it again.As everything is there for a reason it gives me a chance to write a better article than the previous one..
On a greater scale birds are a barometer for a healthy environment, and on a smaller scale a indicator for a healthy garden or yard.
In fact if you can create a garden and yard that is attractive in birds eyes you have a great measure how sustainable your garden is and it has fullfilled it’s purpose and flows with nature if it can interact with birds.
But wanting a judgement for your garden should not be the only reason why you want to attract birds into your garden as it is a beauty and source of tranquility to watch their sociable behaviour, seeing their colorful plumage and listen to their mellifluous songs.You don’t have to be a bird lover to marvel the beauty of blackbirds, blue tits, robins and plenty of other birds foraging through your garden when you step outside..Plus a world without birds would be terrifying (not to mention the overrun of insects and the lack and extinction of many plants…)
By making clever choices and by using certain plants you will attract minibeasts and build a nice natural food chain without the need to buy any extra bird food (except for the winter time of course.)
HOW TO CREATE A BIRDFRIENDLY GARDEN:
First you have to realize that it can take time when using the long term methods that I mention below to attract birds into your garden , maybe years. Investigate which plants are native in your country as the birds of your country will recognize them more easily as a food source and feel comfortable around them.
If you plant seed bearing flowers allow them to grow with as less interference as possible.
And of course’ no insecticides! Never!!
If you do it correctly, you will never be in need for insecticides, as your garden will have turned into a natural food chain.
– Leave a part of your garden untouched in order to create a safe area away from humans.
– Log piles which you can leave anywhere suitable as long as it is safe from cats hiding behind, make ideal hideouts for many insects which in return attract birds and mammals.
But should you prefer not to leave a part of your garden to wilderness you can still provide food and shelter for the mini critters and some if the bigger ones by planting a good mixture of the right plants.
– Egg laying insects such as butterflies need longer grass so it is advisable to leave a patch of lawn untrimmed.
– Give birds plenty of shelter to keep them safe with leaves, branches and grasses whichbact as a camoflage and a barrier for large predators such as cats as long as they cannot penetrate through.
Don’t forget your water feature: ponds are essential for amphibians and offer a bath and beverage for birdsChoose your own compost over peat – the latter is a threatened habitat while compost heaps are a warm home to reptiles as well as a great source of nutrients for your garden
BELOW ARE SOME OF THE MOST COMMON FLOWERS, TREES AND SHRUBS THAT ATTRACT BIRDS DUE SEEDS, INSECTS, SHELTER OR NESTING OPPORTUNITY..
Dragonflies, bees and other insects are attracted by taller flowers while night scented plants are great for moths and their predators bats. You can use wall climbers to provide links between your garden or trellis and evergreens as a windbreak to create calm parts if you live in a coastal area.
-Here are some of the flowers that birds love most:
•Bee balm (Monarda)
•Black Eyed Susan
•Candytuft Iberis spp
•Indian Blanket (Gaillardia)
•Joe Pye Weed
•Sage (deer resitant)
•Silphium (cup plant, prairie dock, compass plant)
Sunflowers are loved by birds and you will attract dozens of birds species with them.Plus you can put them in your bird feeders.They have thin shells which makes them easy to crack in order to get to the fatty seed which contains fat, fiber, protein, calcium, B vitamins, iron, vitamin E and potassium. ..
Deciduous , Coniferous, Fruit trees and shrubs provide the best shelter and nesting sites.Fruit trees are also fruit provider or deer, foxes and badgers .Dwarf conifers can be used instead of massive conifers if your garden or yard has not enough space.They provide pretty much the same benefits than the bigger conifers , just on a smaller scale.
To provide essential cover for small mammals you can make hedgerows with Holly as a example.
And by using shrubs that flower at different times you will get more diversity of garden visitors.
-HERE ARE SOME TREES AND SHRUBS THAT WILL ATTRACT BIRDS :
•Mexican Orange Blossom
Plus the ones that humans also love:
Apple, Pear, Cherry, Peach and plum trees..And the berry collection of course
Again, the quickest way to establish regular bird visitors to your garden is when using native plants as the birds of your country are familiar with it.Plus native plants will be more resilient which means less effort for you while gardening.
Composting attracts various insects which are food for birds. Plus it is a way to interact positively with nature while it saves you money to buy fertilizer for your garden plants. And, it reduces your rubbish. I have written a slightly more extensive article about composting earlier on so feel free to read that article if you desire to include composting into your garden.
– Water features like a fountain, waterfall or a pond are not only pleasant to the eye and a calming asset to your garden but also are essential for amphibians and offer a bath for the wild birds.
– Garden feeders:
If you have a well designed garden that gives birds plenty of natural food resources as I have described above you will not need bird feeders in your garden except in the winter time if you live in northern areas where the earth freezes or where high snow makes it impossible to forage for food.And of corse in flooded areas when floods occur.
But having bird feeders demands at least one thorough cleaning once a week by washing and disinfecting the feeders before replacing them with fresh seed.( In wet conditions it will require cleaning more often as food gets spoiled very quickly.)
Water in bird bath and drinkers should be cleaned and replaced daily.
One for the birds lethal mistake is to place bird feeders, drinkers and bird bath’ into corners, low to the ground or hang them from thick branches.All these give domesticated and feral cats great opportunities to hunt and kill birds.In many countries domesticated cats are amongst the greatest threat for birds as there are to many cats being kept as pets. Their unconscious keepers do not think about the consequences that their pet causes when being let outside as a cat cannot be controlled where it goes and what it does.So extra caution is needed if there is only 1 singular cat around.Best is to place ground feeders and other feeders in the middle of the garden where the birds can have a free view of the surrounding area to detect danger early or to hang the feeders on thin to the outside extending tree branches where cats cannot climb or jump on. Also cut the bottom area of bushes to give cats no hiding place.
Raptor birds can also be attracted by a bird populated garden but they are so rare in population and go usually for bigger prey such as farmed poultry (which can be protected) or small game and are usually not a big problem for small garden birds.
by Karin Wybauw
Another way to add to your wildlife in general is to build a cozy corner for Soldier bees, ladybirds and others …